Mayo’s new management got off to a memorable start with the county’s first league win in Killarney this afternoon. Two well-timed goals in either half set up the win, which provides revenge of sorts for last August’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat in Limerick.
The Connacht champions got off to bad start with Kerry looking more urgent and after five minutes, corner forward Evan Regan, who’d scored their first point had to be carried off after colliding with a defender. His replacement Michael Conroy made an impact however with three points from play in the first half. The key score was Alan Freeman’s goal in the 24th minute, gliding along the end-line and past Mark Griffin to score.
A sequence of three scores before half-time gave Mayo a healthy six-point lead, 1-7 to 0-4.
Kerry’s best periods brief as they were came when they were on top at centrefield, as was the case just after half-time. Tommy Walsh made his first appearance, coming off the bench after five years with the AFL, and immediately made his presence felt with some excellent catches.
No sooner though had they trimmed three points off the deficit with two points from Barry John Keane and a 45 from captain David Moran than Mayo responded with the second goal. Good combination work between Mark Ronaldson and Kevin McLoughlin ended in a well-taken goal by the latter, slipping past marker Paul Murphy.
The final quarter passed without threat of a Kerry recovery. Mayo introduced Aidan O’Shea and he provided presence around the middle. By then Walsh had been switched to full forward but the quality of ball into the edge of the square didn’t improve and the O’Rahillys player had to be replaced in the final minute after taking a knock.