Kerry ladies book semi-final spot after dominant second half
Kerry 2-13 Mayo 1-08
Alan O’Neill’s Kerry ran riot against Mayo in the second half of Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football quarter-final to book their place in the last four.
Goals from Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Megan O’Connell opened the floodgates as the Kingdom scored a comfortable eight-point victory at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Just five points were registered in the first half but the Kingdom outscored their opponents by 2-10 to 1-6 after half-time to advance, with Mayo managing a consolation 1-2 in the closing minutes.
And yet Mayo opened the second half in encouraging fashion and were level at 0-4 apiece, with Niamh Kelly kicking two early points, before Kerry pulled away.
Mayo goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey denied Denise Hallissey with a fine save but the goals did come for Kerry, who played into the breeze after the break.
After O’Connell rattled the crossbar with a fierce drive, Kerry’s leading scorer Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh was on hand to palm home the rebound.
After being denied by the woodwork earlier, O’Connell made no mistake for Kerry’s second goal with 17 minutes left and that was effectively game over.
Crucially, Mayo star Cora Staunton was held to just two of her four points from play, both of them late efforts, and was generally off-colour throughout.
Aislinn Desmond performed an excellent marking job on the Carnacon superstar but once they got going, this was a powerful display from Munster champions Kerry, with seven players on the scoresheet.
Mayo, who trailed by 13 points in the second half, did bring a degree of respectability to the scoreboard with a brilliant late goal from Aileen Gilroy but Kerry were too good.
And yet the winners led by just a point at the end of a low-scoring first half, 0-3 to 0-2.
Mayo didn’t help their cause with some bad shooting as Staunton, looking well below her usual high standards and operating between midfield and attack, registered four of Mayo’s six first half wides, including three from scoreable frees.
Goal chances came and went at both ends, with Tarpey somehow keeping out tireless Bernie Breen from point-blank range when the former Kerry skipper looked certain to rattle the net.
Approaching half-time, Gilroy unleashed a shot across the boughs of Kerry goalkeeper Edel Murphy but the former Allstar netminder somehow managed to turn the ball aside.
Kerry also survived the first half sin-binning of corner back Gina Crowley, for a foul on Niamh Kelly.
During the ten minutes that Crowley was off the pitch, Mayo had three wides and Kerry registered a point, Sarah Houlihan’s second, to move 0-2 to 0-1 clear.
After ten minutes passed without a score, Ní Mhuircheartaigh kicked a close in free to put Kerry 0-3 to 0-1 in front.
But Mayo remained in touch at the break as Lisa McManamon kicked the final score of the half, Mayo’s first point since Staunton’s free opened the scoring.
Scorers for Kerry: L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-5 (0-4f), M O’Connell 1-1, S Houlihan 0-3, M Quirke (45), B Breen, D Hallissey & L Rogers 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: C Staunton 0-4 (2f), A Gilroy 1-0, N Kelly 0-3, L McManamon 0-1.
KERRY: E Murphy; G Crowley, A Desmond, A Leonard; C Kelly, C Lynch, M Quirke; B Breen, E Sherwood; S Houlihan, M O’Connell, D Hallissey; P Dennehy, L Scanlon, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: L Rogers for Dennehy (42), C Buckley for O’Connell (54), A Murphy for Houlihan (56), A Brosnan for Sherwood (57), B Cronin for Hallissey (59).
MAYO: A Tarpey; M Corbett, S Tierney, D Hughes; O Conlon, H Lohan, R Kearns; F McHale, C Staunton; F Doherty, M Carter, L McManamon; Y Byrne, N Kelly, A Gilroy.
Subs: D Caldwell for McManamon (45), C Egan for Doherty (52), S Howley for Kearns (60+2).
Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan)