Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 18 February 2018

Composed Kildare punish wasteful Mayo

Kildare 1-11 Mayo 0-13

Mayo’s Evan Regan in action against Hugh McGrillen.
Mayo’s Evan Regan in action against Hugh McGrillen.

JOHN FALLON

Kildare recovered from a dreadful opening quarter to get their league campaign back on track at Castlebar.

Kildare recovered from a dreadful opening quarter to get their league campaign back on track at Castlebar.

Mayo shot 14 wides and blew an early six-point lead when playing against the wind and now James Horan's men will have a battle on their hands to avoid relegation. But they have only themselves to blame after letting a glorious chance slip last night when they had Kildare on the run.

Kieran McGeeney's men showed great composure after their drubbing by Dublin to salvage the game last night after a very poor opening, which saw them fail to score for the opening 19 minutes.

Evan Regan gave Mayo a perfect start with a point and then Jason Doherty floated one over from the right. Kildare failed to use wind advantage and shot four wides in the opening 12 minutes, with Johnny Doyle missing two and Seanie Johnston and Paddy Brophy also squandering opportunities. Cathal Carolan scored two good points and Kevin McLoughlin and Colm Boyle also found the range for the All-Ireland finalists to lead by 0-6 to 0-0 after 18 minutes.

Niall Kelly finally got Kildare off the mark after 19 minutes but the Mayo response was immediate with wing-back Boyle going forward to take an excellent pass from Michael Conroy and make it 0-7 to 0-1. But then Kildare got moving. Johnston came more into the game and he shot a good point from the right before Doyle added a free after 28 minutes.

They finished the opening half in a flourish with Doyle racing through to set up Eoin Doyle whose fisted effort was almost saved by goalkeeper David Clarke, but the ball trickled over the line after half an hour.

A minute later Johnston levelled and Kildare hit the front for the first time with a free from the right to lead by 1-5 to 0-7 at the interval. Regan levelled with a free from the right three minutes after the restart but Kildare opened up a two-point lead thanks to Daniel Flynn and Johnston. Paddy Brophy and Niall Kelly found the target for Kildare to go 1-9 to 0-9 in front after 54 minutes before Doherty pulled one back and then Tom Cunniffe went forward to reduce the margin to a point after 58 minutes.

But Fionn Dowling responded and when Cillian O'Connor got the first of two frees, Eoghan O'Flaherty also pointed to restore the two-point advantage in the closing stages. Another O'Connor free left the minimum between them going into added time but Kildare held on.

Scorers – Kildare: S Johnston 0-4 (1f), E Doyle 1-0, N Kelly 0-2, D Flynn 0-1, J Doyle 0-1 (f), E O'Flaherty 0-1, P Brophy 0-1, F Dowling 0-1. Mayo: E Regan 0-3 (2f), J Doherty 0-2 (1f), C Carolan 0-2, C O'Connor 0-2 (2f), C Boyle 0-2, T Cunniffe 0-1, K McLoughin 0-1 (f).

Kildare: M Donnellan; O Lyons, M Foley, H McGrillen; E Bolton, P Kelly, E Doyle; H Lynch, P O'Neill; D Flynn, N Kelly, M O'Flaherty; S Johnston, P Brophy, J Doyle. Subs: F Dowling for J Doyle 52, D Hyland for Bolton 55, E O'Flaherty for M O'Flaherty 61, T O'Connor for Johnston 69.

Mayo: D Clarke; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, T Cunniffe, C Boyle; B Moran, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, C Carolan; E Regan, J Doherty, M Conroy. Subs: C O'Connor for Regan 54, R Feeney for Carolan 57, E Varley for Conroy 60, J Gibbons for A O'Shea 64.

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).

Irish Independent

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