Allianz FL D1: Mayo edge out Kerry
Allianz Football League Division One
KERRY 1-10 MAYO 0-15
by Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
It's eight seasons and counting now since Kerry have won their first two games of a National League campaign after Mayo did a snatch and grab job in Tralee to get their campaign up and running with an important win on the road.
A Mayo response was expected after their loss to Monaghan the previous Saturday, but Kerry were expected to put opening round back to back wins together for the first time since 2009 to build on their win over Donegal last weekend.
Not so. Mayo showed all their mettle and fire to turn a four-point half time deficit into a two-point win, in a game that saw both teams finish with 14 men on the field. Mayo's Tom Parsons was red carded in the 73rd minute as Kerry desperately chased something in the dying moments, with Jason Foley being black carded for the hosts in the 67th minute after they had their six substitutes used.
It made for a tense and tetchy finish to a game played with great tempo even if their shooting on both sides was a little wayward.
Cillian O'Connor scored nine frees for the winners but was guilty of a few poor misses, while David Moran had a first half penalty brilliantly saved by Mayo keeper David Clarke.
Andy Moran, a late call-up for Evan Regan, was in excellent form and scored three from play, as Mayo prepare to host Roscommon in a fortnight with their tails up.
Early points from Jack Barry, Jack Savage and Paul Geaney had Kerry into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead and the home side led 0-4 to 0-2 when Clarke pushed away Moran's penalty after Adrian Spillane was pulled down.
Kerry had more goal chances before Barry John Keane finally converted one, seizing on the loose ball after Clarke had only half cleared a high ball. That helped Kerry to a 1-7 to 0-6 half time lead.
Early points from Conor O'Shea and Cillian O'Connor brought Mayo back into contention and Andy Moran's 52nd point levelled matters, just before Jason Doherty saw his effort on goal scrambled away in the Kerry goalnouth.
Conor Geaney put Kerry ahead, 1-10 to 0-12, in the 57th minute but that would be their last score as Moran and two O'Connor frees saw Mayo earn a badly needed win and leaves Kerry looking for better fortune when Monaghan come to Killarney in two weeks.
Scorers for Kerry: Barry John Keane 1-3, Jack Barry 0-2, Paul Geaney 0-2 (2f), Paul Murphy, Jack Savage, Conor Geaney all 0-1.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O'Connor 0-9 (9f), Andy Moran 0-3, Kevin McLoughlin, Tom Parsons, Conor O'Shea all 0-1
KERRY: Brian Kelly, Ronan Shanahan, Mark Griffin, Killian Young, Jonathan Lyne, Peter Crowley, Tadhg Morley, David Moran, Jack Barry, Adrian Spillane, Paul Murphy, Donnchadh Walsh, Jack Savage, Paul Geaney, Conor Keane. Subs: Barry John Keane for P Geaney (inj, 19 mins), Tom O’Sullivan for K Young (inj, 28), Conor Geaney for C Keane (48), Michael Geaney for A Spillane (52), Jason Foley for R Shanahan (inj, 57), Barry O’Sullivan for J Lyne (B/C, 60), Jason Foley (B/C, 67 not replaced)
MAYO: David Clarke, Donie Newcombe, Keith Higgins, Paddy Durcan, Colm Boyle, Stephen Coen, David Drake, Donal Vaughan, Tom Parsons, Fergal Boland, Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty, Andy Moran, Conor O'Shea, Cillian O’Connor. Subs: Eoin O'Donoghue for D Drake (24 mins), Diarmuid O'Connor for F Boland (46), Shane Nally for D Vaughan (51), Evan Regan for J Doherty (59), Michael Plunkett for E Regan (69), Danny Kirby for C O'Shea (70)
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)