GAA: Mayo overcome Kerry 2-16 to 0-17 to book All-Ireland final place
By Sean McCarthy
Last Updated: 27/08/17 6:54am
Mayo supporters can start to dream about Sam Maguire again after they dominated Kerry to win 2-16 to 0-17 in a superb All-Ireland semi-final replay at Croke Park.
Leading 1-08 to 0-06 at half-time after Diarmuid O'Connor got the goal, the Connacht side defeated Kerry for the first time since the 1996 All-Ireland semi-final and will now wait for the winners of the Dublin v Tyrone semi-final.
Kerry goalkeeper Brian Kelly had a day to forget, his kick-outs were constantly won by Mayo and he even managed to give away a 45 with an attempted short kick-out that went back over his own end line.
Kerry ended up with only 13 men on the field after Peter Crowley and Kieran Donaghy were red carded late in the game.
Donaghy got a straight red for a double punch on Aidan O'Shea. Mayo also had Paddy Durcan sent off for a second yellow.
After the epic display last Sunday, most people thought Mayo left behind their chance to defeat Kerry and manager Stephen Rochford came in for a lot of criticism for putting Aidan O'Shea back on Kerry's Kieran Donaghy.
Today, O'Shea started further up the field and Donie Vaughan marked the Austin Stacks player but after about 15 minutes O'Shea moved back to mark Donaghy.
Mayo started well and Andy Moran continued where he left off last weekend by constantly getting the better of Shane Enright. The Connacht side were 0-03 to 0-01 up after only eight minutes.
However, three quick points from Paul Geaney and Johnny Buckley put the Kingdom back in the lead.
Unfortunately for them, they then went 15 minutes without scoring again.
In this time, Mayo got four unanswered points through three frees from Cillian O'Connor and a superb Kevin McLoughlin point.
Kerry finally troubled the umpire in the 26th minute when Geaney kicked over a well-taken score but Mayo simply marched up the field and got a goal.
Vaughan kicked in a looping ball and Diarmuid O'Connor nipped in front of Brian Kelly to get the first goal of the game and send the Mayo fans wild.
That made it 1-07 to 0-05 but Kerry had the opportunity to reply with their own goal immediately when Peter Crowley pushed his way through but his low effort took a deflection and went for a 45 instead, which David Moran missed.
With five minutes to go in the first half, Mayo were 1-08 to 0-05 up but Kerry could only get the gap down to five points at half-time.
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice made a number of changes at half-time with Darran O'Sullivan and James O'Donoghue coming on.
O'Donoghue was quiet in the drawn game last week but injected a lot of urgency to the Kerry play in the second half.
He got his first score with his first touch two minutes into the second half but in the 39th minute, Mayo got their second goal.
Andy Moran collected a great ball in from Conor Loftus, turned Enright before exchanging passes with Cillian O'Connor and Moran had the simple task of putting the ball into the net from a few yards out.
That left the score at 2-09 to 0-07 and it was the last bit of action for Enright, with Fionn Fitzgerald taking his place.
Kerry had the opportunity to get a goal back immediately but after Donaghy collected a high ball in, he passed to Geaney who rounded David Clarke in the Mayo goals but Colm Boyle was back to clear the ball out for a 45.
While O'Donoghue was threatening the Mayo defence, Darran O'Sullivan was only on the field for eight minutes before getting a black card. He was not happy about it either as he let both the referee, David Gough, and linesman know about it on the way off.
Gough after sent Kerry selector Liam Hassett from the sideline for protesting too much about a lot of decisions the ref was making.
Inbetween, Clarke produced two brilliant saves within the space of three seconds to deny Kerry. First he blocked a shot from Stephen O'Brien and then followed that up by brilliantly saving the rebound from Geaney.
Mayo managed to win a free out from the resulting scramble and the Mayo supporters started to believe their team were actually going to make it easy on them for once.
With Mayo 2-10 to 0-09 up after 50 minutes, Cillian O'Connor took a black card but Kerry never closed the gap to less than four points.
In the 62nd minute, Peter Crowley got a second yellow for pulling back Colm Boyle and in injury time, Paddy Durcan joined him on the sideline for his second yellow.
Geaney scored the resulting free to make it 2-16 to 0-17 but as the players retreated for the kick-out, Aidan O'Shea and Donaghy clashed and Donaghy punched the Breaffy forward twice, leaving Gough with little choice but to issue a straight red and finish off a dark day for the Kingdom.
Mayo have made it back to the All-Ireland final the hard way this year but their supporters won't mind one bit if they can finally claim Sam Maguire for the first time since 1951. It will be their fourth All-Ireland final appearance in seven years, with either Dublin or Tyrone the opponent on the 17th September.
Mayo: David Clarke, Brendan Harrison, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrett (0-1), Keith Higgins, Aidan O'Shea, Colm Boyle, Séamus O'Shea, Tom Parsons, Kevin McLoughlin (0-2), Lee Keegan, Diarmuid O'Connor (1-0), Cillian O'Conor 0-6 (0-6f), Andy Moran 1-1, Jason Doherty 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 '45).
Subs: Paddy Durcan (0-1) for Vaughan 35 minutes, Conor Loftus, (0-2) for Diarmuid O'Connor HT, Conor O'Shea for Cillian O'Connor 51 min (black card), Stephen Coen for Séamus O'Shea 60 mins, Danny Kirby for Boyle 68 mins, Ger Cafferkey for Barrett 73 mins.
Kerry: Brian Kelly, Tadhg Morley, Shane Enright, Killian Young, Jonathan Lyne (0-1), Peter Crowley, Tom O'Sullivan, David Moran, Jack Barry (0-1), Donnchadh Walsh, Johnny Buckley (0-1), Stephen O'Brien, Paul Geaney 0-10 (0-8f), Kieran Donaghy, Paul Murphy.
Subs: Darran O'Sullivan for Walsh HT, James O'Donoghue 0-3 (0-1f) for Buckley HT, Fionn Fitzgerald (0-1) for Enright 38 mins, Jack Savage for Darran O'Sullivan 44 mins (black card), Mark Griffin for Young 50 mins, Barry John Keane for Tom O'Sullivan 62 mins.
Referee: David Gough (Meath)