Wednesday 21 February 2018

Mayo heartbreak as Kingdom eventually claim spoils in epic encounter

Kerry 3-16 Mayo 3-13 (AET)

Kerry's Kieran Donaghy, centre, and James O'Donoghue celebrate with fans after the final whistle.
Kerry's Kieran Donaghy, centre, and James O'Donoghue celebrate with fans after the final whistle.
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Forget everything they say about sequels: this wasn't just one of the greatest replays in GAA history, it was surely one of gaelic football's greatest games ever.

The huge row about moving today's All-Ireland semi-final replay to Limerick was consigned to nonsense when Kerry and Mayo fought to the bitter end and were level at the end of proper-time (3-11 each) and again half-way through extra-time (3-13).

The first 70 minutes was filled with incidents and vigour and controversy and including three penalties among the six goals, two of them for Kerry.

The Kingdom's second, after 62 minutes, looked very soft, but James O'Donoghue scored it again to give them a two-point advantage and Mayo found themselves chasing the game again and needed Donal Vaughan to burst through and fist over over an equaliser in the 73rd minute to take it into another mesmerising 20 minutes.

They still couldn't be separated at the end of 80 minutes (3-13 all) and when O'Donoghue, who had been Kerry's topscorer, didn't start the second period of extra-time it looked like they were in trouble.

But midfielders Anthony Maher and David Moran somehow raised their game again and substitutes Bryan Sheehan, Barry John Keane and Jonathan Lyne then made the difference.

Somehow they ended Mayo's All-Ireland dream by keeping them scoreless in the final 10 minutes while two brilliant points from Lyne and Paul Geaney pulled them clear.

In the frenetic final minutes, just like last year's All-Ireland final, Cillian O'Connor had a free and had to go for a goal but Kerry managed to block it.

The Connacht champions got one final chance when they won a free close to goal but it was reversed for a throw-ball because of a reckless tackle by O'Connor who was red-carded, and Kerry held out to return to another All-Ireland final in one of the most dramatic games in their vaunted history.

Scorers: Kerry: J O'Donoghue 2-6 (2 pen, 2f), K Donaghy 1-0, P Geaney 0-4 (3f), J Lyne 0-2, BJ Keane 0-2 (2f), M O'Se, K Young 0-1 each, Mayo: C O'Connor 2-5(1 pen, 3f), A Moran 1-1, J Doherty 0-3, M Conroy, K McLoughlin and D Vaughan 0-1 each, A Freeman 0-1(f).

Kerry - B Kelly; K Young, A O'Mahony, S Enright; P Murphy, P Crowley, F Fitzgerald (Capt); A Maher, D Moran; M Geaney, J Buckley, D Walsh; K Donaghy, P Geaney, J O'Donoghue. Subs - T O'Se for Enright (22), P Kilkenny for Fitzgerald (black card, 41), BJ Keane for P Geaney (41), Declan O'Sullivan for Buckley (55), K O'Leary for M Geary (61) J Lyne for Walsh (69). Extra-time: P Geaney for O'Donaghue (80), M Griffin for Crowley (80), B Sheehan for O'Mahony (82)

Referee - C Reilly (Meath).

Mayo -  R Hennelly; K Higgins, G Cafferkey, T Cunniffe; C Boyle, D Vaughan, L Keegan; B Moran, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, J Doherty; C O'Connor, A Moran, A Dillon. Subs - T Parsons for B Moran (half-time), A Freeman for O'Connor (blood-sub at half-time, ended 40), M Conroy for A O'Shea (blood sub at half-time, ended 49), M Conroy for Dillon (57), K Keane for Cafferkey(68). Extra-time: R Feeney for A O'Shea (70), A Freeman for A Moran (70), B Harrison for Vaughan (79), A O'Se for S O'Se 80 C Barrett for Boyle (83).

Attendance: 36,256.

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