Tuesday 17 September 2019

David Clifford shines as Kerry make a massive statement with mauling of Mayo

Kerry 1-22 Mayo 0-15

14 July 2019; David Clifford of Kerry is tackled by Brendan Harrison of Mayobgb during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final Group 1 Phase 1 match between Kerry and Mayo at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, Kerry. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
14 July 2019; David Clifford of Kerry is tackled by Brendan Harrison of Mayobgb during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final Group 1 Phase 1 match between Kerry and Mayo at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, Kerry. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Whatever about one record with a Killarney twist falling - Colm Cooper's status as the highest-ever championship scorer inevitably going to Cillian O'Connor in the second half - the more important element of home rule that Kerry have been able to exert in Fitzgerald Stadium championship games for the last 24 years was one that, ultimately, they were never going to relinquish.

From the moment the four midfielders came together for referee Sean Hurson's throw in to start the last of the weekend's All-Ireland football quarter-finals, it was evident that Kerry were not going to succumb to the physical power that Mayo have been able to exert in their most recent meetings.

After much pushing and shoving to establish territory Adrian Spillane claimed it and while the attack came to nothing it was the first marker firmly laid down, setting a tone for the rest of a half that few could have imagined would pan out the way it did.

By the end Kerry of the half were nine points clear, 0-15 to 0-6, having delivered a stunning display of attacking football, an advantage they would eventually push out to 10 by the conclusion and give them a firm footing in the group for the next two weekends.

Mayo did respond with substitutes contributing four points in the second half but it will be back to the drawing board in terms of team selection as they prepare for a second phase game against Meath next weekend. James Carr and Darren Coen, stars in the win over Galway seven days earlier, were both replaced.

David Moran rolled back the years with a performance reminiscent of his high point against the same opponents in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final replay in Limerick.

On a perfect day for it, his fielding was majestic, aided by the pressure on the Mayo kick-out which forced David Clarke to go long too often and into his grasp.

Mayo's kick-out was crushed in that first half with nine of their 17 falling into Kerry hands.

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Kerry made four changes to the team announced on Friday night, bringing Shane Enright and Gavin Crowley into defence, Adrian Spillane to midfield and James O'Donoghue into attack as Jack Sherwood, Diarmuid O'Connor, Micheal Burns and Dara Moynihan lost out.

Mayo's own record in Kerry over the last decade gave them grounds for optimism with four wins and a draw in five league games between Tralee and Killarney since 2009.

But that quickly faded as Kerry overwhelmed them, David Clifford leading the charge with some sublime points, including a point from near the sideline from a free that drew sustained applause from the Kerry contingent in the 31,312 crowd.

Kerry's interval lead prompted a response from the Mayo sideline, manager James Horan introducing Seamus O'Shea to midfield and pushing Keith Higgins into attack as Donal Vaughan dropped to defence.

But progress was still slow. When O'Connor broke the record in the 50th minute with a free to make it 0-18 to 0-9 there was only muted applause, perhaps many not grasping the significance of the moment but there was little appetite at that stage.

Kerry twisted the knife with a punched goal from Paul Geaney on 56 minutes after Stephen O'Brien floated an inviting fist pass across the Mayo goals to make it 1-18 to 0-10.

Mayo regained some ground in the closing stages and might have made more up had O'Connor goaled from a penalty. But Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan got a touch, pushing it over the bar.

Jason Doherty picked up a black card late on for Mayo.

Scorers - S O'Shea (6fs), D Clifford (2fs) 0-7 each, P Geaney 1-2, S O'Brien 0-3, D Moran, G O'Sullivan, J O'Donoghue all 0-1 each

Mayo: C O'Connor 0-6 (0-3fs, 0-1 pen), D Coen 0-3, A Moran 0-2, L Keegan, F Boland, C Treacy, F McDonagh all 0-1 each.

Kerry: S Ryan; T O'Sullivan, J Foley, T Morley; P Murphy, S Enright, G Crowley; D Moran, A Spillane; G White, S O'Shea, S O'Brien; D Clifford, P Geaney, J O'Donoghue. Subs: D Moynihan for O'Donoghue (h-t), G O'Sullivan for Enright (51), D O'Connor for Spillane (58), B O Beaglaoich for Foley (62), M Burns for Geaney (69), M Griffin for Crowley (71)

Mayo: D Clarke; K Higgins, C Barrett, B Harrison; S Coen, L Keegan, C Boyle; A O'Shea, D Vaughan; F McDonagh, K McLoughlin, J Doherty; C O'Connor, D Coen, J Carr. Subs: S O'Shea for McDonagh (h-t), A Moran for Carr (46), C Treacy for McLoughlin (48), F Boland for Coen (52), J McCormack for Keegan (60), E O'Donoghue for Barrett (65).

Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone)

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