Hickey double inspires classy Kerry to title
All-Ireland JFC final: Kerry 2-18 Mayo 0-10
Flame-haired Kerry corner-forwards Thomas Hickey and Alan O'Donoghue shot down Mayo to claim a 16th All-Ireland JFC title at Croke Park.
The deadly duo hit a total of 2-8 in a one-sided decider, and it was O'Donoghue who set up both of Hickey's goals, one in each half.
Those scores, both beautifully crafted by two men with a telepathic partnership, merely served to underline the dominance of the Munster men, who looked polished and accomplished in everything they did, in contrast to the Connacht champions, who lacked cohesion and direction, and could never match the energy and work rate of their opponents.
Mayo's last junior triumph came back in 1997, when they defeated Kerry in the decider, but it was not to be this time around, as a fired-up Kingdom side dominated from start to finish on their way to a fifth title in the past decade.
A dominant midfield pairing of Brendan O'Sullivan and Liam Kearney set the tone, and the Munster champions were solid at the back, where Tadhg Morley, Dan O'Donoghue and James Walsh were irrepressible.
Kerry looked comfortable with a six-point advantage at the interval, and stepped up the intensity in the second half, opening up a 13-point lead with a 1-5 salvo in the opening ten minutes. After that, there was no way back for Mayo, who were merely playing for pride in the closing quarter.
This Kerry success could have been achieved on a greater scale but for the heroics of Mayo goalkeeper Blake Forkan, the Kiltimagh man pulling off excellent saves from Killian Spillane early in the game, and from David Culhane.
Mayo also had goal chances which they failed to take, unable to get the better of 'keeper Shane Murphy, who denied Andrew Farrell and Darren McHugh, and also chipped in with a score of his own, from a '45.
The westerners managed to put a gloss on the scoreline with flourishes late in both halves, but on the day, they were totally outclassed by a more driven opponent.
Kerry's power and pace overwhelmed the westerners in the opening quarter, and scores from Brian Crowley, Alan O'Donoghue, Thomas Hickey and Conor Cox had them six points ahead by the 13th minute.
And they could have been further ahead, had Forkan not saved from Killian Spillane.
Mayo carried a minimal threat at that stage, but they also crafted a goal chance when Pádraic Feerick sent Andrew Farrell clear, but he was denied by Shane Murphy.
The Kingdom continued to press, and when O'Donoghue made a searing run along the right, his well-timed pass sent Hickey in to blast the ball to the roof of the net for a ten-point lead.
Hickey lobbed Forkan for a delightful second goal seven minutes into the second half, and it was all over for Mayo, who were now looking at a daunting double-scores deficit.
Farrell scored their first point of the second half 15 minutes after the restart, but Kerry continued to tag on the scores, through O'Donoghue, Tadhg Morley, and Jeff O'Donoghue, while 'keeper Murphy converted a '45.
And Forkan saved his side from an even greater defeat with another fine stop, this time from corner-back David Culhane.
scorers - Kerry: T Hickey 2-4 (1f), A O'Donoghue 0-4, B Crowley, C Cox (2f) 0-2 each, K Spillane, P O'Connor, J Walsh, T Morley, S Murphy ('45), J O'Donoghue 0-1 each. Mayo: A Farrell 0-5 (2f), D McGing, C Freeman, E Collins, E O'Donoghue, D Healy 0-1 each
Kerry - S Murphy; D O'Donoghue, J McGuire, D Culhane; J Walsh, T Morley, G Crowley; B O'Sullivan, L Kearney; B Crowley, K Spillane, P O'Connor; T Hickey, C Cox, A O'Donoghue. Subs: B Sugrue for McGuire, J O'Donoghue for Cox, G O'Sullivan for Spillane, M Brennan for G O'Sullivan (BC), D Griffin for Crowley.
Mayo - B Forkan; P Barrett, B Moran, B Leonard; E Collins, D McHugh, E O'Donoghue; P Collins, P Feerick; G Conway, C Freeman, D Durcan; D McGing, J Hutton, R Malee. Subs: A Farrell for Malee, S Gaughan for Leonard, M Forde for Durcan, D Healy for Moran, M Togher for Collins, E Kiely for Kearney.
Ref - N Mooney (Cavan)