Clifford stars as Kerry make Super 8s statement with 10-point win over Mayo
Colm Gannon reports from Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney
MAYO MAY HAVE won the league final when these sides last met – but when it came to the white hot heat of Summer championship action Kerry laid down a serious marker of intent in front of 31,312 paying spectators in Fitzgearld Stadium.
Peter Keane’s men ran out 10-point winners and in reality it could have been more only for they took their foot off the gas a little down the home straight and eased into their meeting with Donegal next weekend in Croke Park.
They led by nine at the break and at the end they had extended that out by another point when the final whistle was blown, and Mayo began to make the long trip home and get ready for Meath next Sunday.
Kerry suffocated the Mayo kick-out from the start and reaped rich rewards going in leading buy nine points at half-time.
David Moran ruled the skies in the opening half and set Kerry the foundation for Kerry’s dominance on the scoreboard.
Lee Keegan got the first score of the day kicking over from close range and the scoreboard moved tit for tat over the first eight minutes with the sides splitting seven scores with Kerry having the odd one to leave them ahead.
Paul Geaney after scoring the only goal of the game.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Sean O’Shea kicked the first of his five first half points to level it up two minutes later, that was quickly followed by points from a David Clifford twice and one from Paul Geaney.
Clifford had his man in all kinds of trouble from early on and Mayo could not get a handle on him.
Mayo did respond through points from Darren Coen and Fionn McDonagh – before Kerry took complete control of the game and reeled off ten points to Mayo’s one over the next 15 minutes and it could have been worse for Mayo had David Clarke not tipped a James O’Donoghue effort over the bar 20 minutes in.
O’Shea and Clifford did serious damage for Kerry on the scoreboard in this period as did Stephen O’Brien to the satisfied cheers of the locals as they went in leading 0-15 to 0-6 at the break.
The second-half saw Cillian O’Connor get things moving inside a minute, but Kerry weren’t going to let up and Clifford and O’Shea pointed in quick succession to put to bed any ideas that Mayo might have had that they could get back into this one.
Cillian O’Connor missed a penalty for Mayo.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Three points from Cillian O’Connor — the third one seeing him become the all time leading scorer in the championship — had the the game at 0-18 to 0-10 — but the very next score was the one that really wrapped things up.
Stephen O’Brien burst down the left flank and he cut inside and found Paul Geaney in oceans of space and the Dingle man palmed the ball home to the back of the net and had Kerry’s thoughts well and truly moving towards next weekend.
Mayo did have a couple of goal chances themselves in the second half and Cillian O’Connor had a penalty four minutes from the end of normal time, but Shane Ryan brilliantly saved the ball and put it over for a point.
The Kingdom’s standing were questioned by many going into this game, but this performance once again confirmed their credentials; as for Mayo they’ll have top pick themselves up again and get back on the horse if they are to have a chance of making it out of the group.
Kerry scorers: David Clifford (0-7, 1f), Sean O’Shea (0-76f), Paul Geaney (1-2), Stephen O’Brien (0-3), David Moran (0-1), James O’Donoghue (0-1), Graham O’Sullivan (0-1), Shane Enright (0-1)
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Mayo scorers: Cillian O’Connor (0-6, 3f, 1 pen), Darren Coen (0-3), Andy Moran (0-2), Lee Keegan (0-1), Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Fergal Boland (0-1), Ciaran Tracey (0-1)
1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)
2. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
3. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)
5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
17. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)
7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)
8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
20. Shane Enright (Tarbert)
18. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)
13. David Clifford (Fossa)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
23. James O’Donoghue (Killarney Leigon)
9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gael) for Spillane (BS)
15. Dara Moynihan (Spa) for O’Donoghue
24. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for Enright
9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gael) for Spillane
22. Brian O’Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht) for Foley
10. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for Geaney
19. Mark Griffin (St. Michaels /Foilmore) for Crowley
1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
2. Chris Barrett (Belmullet)
3. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
7. Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore)
8. Donal Vaughan (Castlebar Mitchels)
9. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
10. Fionn McDonagh (Westport)
11. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
12. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)
13. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
14. Darren Coen (Hollymount-Carramore)
15. James Carr (Ardagh)
23. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy) for McDonagh,
25. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen) for Carr
21. Ciaran Treacy (Ballina Stephenites) for McLoughlin
26. Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for Darren Coen
20. James McCormack (Claremorris) for Keegan
17. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet) for O’Donoghue
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)
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