Kerry score first league win over 14-man Mayo since 2011 to edge closer to survival
Kerry 2-14 Mayo 0-14
Kerry moved themselves a step closer to Allianz Division One safety with a first league win over Mayo for five years in Castlebar.
Darran O'Sullivan led the line superbly for Kerry who came from four points down in the first half to win comprehensively thanks to goals in either half.
Donnchadh Walsh's punched effort in the 46th minute as he followed up on Colm Cooper's free that Rob Hennelly advanced to meet but didn't claim on 46 minutes was ultimately the difference, giving the visitors a commanding 2-7 to 0-9 lead.
They were able to defend that position impressively despite losing Kieran Donaghy to a second yellow card in the 53rd minute.
Mayo had Diarmuid O'Connor sent off, also for a second yellow card, at the end.
The defeat now leaves Mayo struggling to preserve their position in the top flight with games against Down and Roscommon to come.
Their defence was superb for much of the first half so it would have been a disappointment to watch Johnny Buckley cut through them on 35 minutes and have enough time to ignore the options outside him to plant his own goal very much against the run of play and close the gap to just a point, 0-7 to 1-3.
Up to that they appeared to have this game locked down.
Kerry had led by 0-2 to 0-0 early but were largely overpowered by the home side after that.
Seamus O'Shea controlled a lot of play around the middle but it was the closing down of Kerry's key forwards that really stood out.
They were level by the 13th minute before Diarmuid O'Connor swung over a beauty from a tight angle for the lead and they kicked on from there.
Kerry dropped Paul Murphy back and used Aidan O'Mahony for sweeping duties but Mayo were able to consistently pick their way through the traffic and create opportunities.
Aidan O'Shea had the best goal opportunity but, under pressure from three tacklers just a metre out hooked over a point.
Once Walsh got the second goal Kerry were always able to do enough with substitutes Barry John Keane, Padraig O'Connor and especially Brendan O'Sullivan all making big contributions.
Colm Cooper and Bryan Sheehan were also influential as Kerry chalked up a third successive win.
Scorers - Kerry: J Buckley 1-1, D Walsh 1-0, C Cooper (2fs), B Sheehan (2fs), B O'Sullivan, D O'Sullivan, P Crowley all 0-2 each, BJ Keane, M O Se 0-1 each.
Mayo: K McLoughlin 0-3 (1f), J Doherty, A O'Shea, A Moran (2fs), R Hennelly (1f, 1 45) all 0-2 each, T Parsons, D O'Connor, S Nally 0-1 each.
Mayo: R Hennelly; B Harrison, G Cafferley, L Keegan; S Nally, C Boyle, D Vaughan; T Parsons, S O'Shea; D O'Connor, A O'Shea, C Carolan; K McLoughlin, J Doherty, C O'Shea. Subs: S Coen for Nally (46), A Moran for Carolan (50), M Sweeney for C O'Shea (59), C Barrett for Cafferkey (64), J Gibbons for Doherty (67).
Kerry: B Kealy; M O Se, M Griffin, S Enright; P Crowley, A O'Mahony, F Fitzgerald; K Donaghy, B Sheehan; D Walsh, P Murphy, J Buckley; D O'Sullivan, C Cooper, S O'Brien. Subs: B Kelly for Kealy blood (30-35), BJ Keane for O'Brien (53), B O'Sullivan for Buckley (55), P O'Connor for Crowley (62), J Lyne for Walsh (65), D Daly for D O'Sullivan (73).
Referee: R Hickey (Clare)