Kerry 3-19 Mayo 0-13: David Clifford leads the rout as Kingdom cruise to National Football League Division 1 title
Kerry hammered Mayo by 15 points in the Allianz Football League Division 1 final at Croke Park; goals from Gavin White, David Clifford and Jason Foley helped Jack O'Connor's charges retain their crown
By Brian Barry at Croke Park
Last Updated: 03/04/22 6:36pm
David Clifford scored 1-6 as Kerry stormed to the National League Division 1 title with a crushing 3-19 to 0-13 win over Mayo.
The Munster kingpins were hugely impressive throughout and moved up a gear to cruise by the westerners.
In a meeting of two All-Ireland title pretenders, only one side laid down a marker ahead of the summer.
The Kingdom enjoyed the better of the first half.
Although he was well-marshalled by Padraig O'Hora in the early stages, Clifford pulled the strings, kicking three points from play.
Mayo goalkeeper Rory Byrne was to thank as they kept Kerry at bay for long periods, with Paudie Clifford seeing two goal efforts denied.
Byrne had a third save in the 25th minute when he blocked a Paul Geaney shot. However, the ball rebounded up in the air and Gavin White rose highest to punch the ball into the net to give Kerry a 1-7 to 0-4 lead.
Mayo battled back, with James Carr picking off two impressive points, but a superb Shane Ryan free gave Kerry a deserved 1-10 to 0-7 half-time lead.
Kerry continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over as Mayo lacked the cutting edge to significantly eat into the lead.
The 2021 All-Ireland finalists were handed a boost when Diarmuid O'Connor was sent to the sin-bin in the 51st minute, and Ryan O'Donoghue converted the free to bring it back to six.
But over the following 10 minutes, it was Kerry who took control, with points from Adrian Spillane, Paul Geaney and two from David Clifford. When O'Connor returned to the field, Kerry were 10 points to the good and cruising.
There was one major positive for Mayo, as Cillian O'Connor was introduced for his first appearance since June 2021 to a rapturous applause.
But ultimately, it was a day to forget for the reigning Connacht champions. They were wasteful in their shooting
Their misery was compounded in the 67th minute when Clifford gathered the ball wide on the left. The Fossa star took off, rounded O'Hora and slotted it into the net.
Jason Foley added a third moments later, when he was on hand to finish off the goal after Tony Brosnan's initial shot was saved, capping the 15-point drubbing.
Mayo are left to lick their wounds as they prepare for their Connacht Championship opener with Galway in three weeks. Paddy Durcan and Oisín Mullin are among those who could return for that tie, but James Horan will know that they will need a significant improvement.
But the day was all about the Kingdom. It is Jack O'Connor's fourth National League title as Kerry manager. On the previous three occasions, an All-Ireland triumph followed later that year.
And on Sunday's evidence, there is every chance that record will continue.
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan)
Kerry: David Clifford (1-6, 0-1f), Paul Geaney (0-5, 0-1f), Jason Foley (1-0), Gavin White (1-0), Paudie Clifford (0-2, 0-1 '45), Adrian Spillane (0-2), Shane Ryan (0-1, 0-1f), Jack Barry (0-1), Stephen O'Brien (0-1), Dara Moynihan (0-1).
Mayo: Ryan O'Donoghue (0-4, 0-2f), James Carr (0-2), Michael Plunkett (0-2), Cillian O'Connor (0-1, 0-1f), Jordan Flynn (0-1), Matthew Ruane (0-1), Conor Loftus (0-1).
1. Shane Ryan
2. Graham O'Sullivan
3. Jason Foley
4. Tom O'Sullivan
5. Gavin White
6. Tadhg Morley
7. Brian Ó Beaglaíoch
8. Diarmuid O'Connor
9. Jack Barry
10. Dara Moynihan
11. Paudie Clifford
12. Adrian Spillane
13. Stephen O'Brien
14. David Clifford
15. Paul Geaney
Gavin Crowley for Gavin White (27-32 temp)
Tony Brosnan for Stephen O'Brien (49)
Gavin Crowley for Gavin White (53)
Micheál Burns for Adrian Spillane (63)
Joe O'Connor for Jack Barry (66)
Jack Savage for Diarmuid O'Connor (66)
1. Rory Byrne
2. Lee Keegan
4. Padraig O'Hora
3. Stephen Coen
5. Michael Plunkett
18. Rory Brickenden
7. Enda Hession
8. Jordan Flynn
9. Matthew Ruane
10. Conor Loftus
11. Aidan O'Shea
12. Jack Carney
13. James Carr
14. Jason Doherty
15. Ryan O'Donoghue
Kevin McLoughlin for Jack Carney (ht)
Conor O'Shea for Jordan Flynn (47)
Aiden Orme for Jason Doherty (50)
Cillian O'Connor for James Carr (56)
Darren McHale for Matthew Ruane (66)