Kerry overwhelm Westerners

  • Sep 18,2006

Sunday, September 17

BANK OF IRELAND ALL-IRELAND SFC FINAL

Kerry 4-15 Mayo 3-5

A dramatic All-Ireland final served up seven goals and contained a number of complex individual battles but essentially it was a simple affair. The best team in the country won the ultimate prize.

In many respects it was a complete footballing performance from Jack OConnors Kerry side as they collected the countys 34th senior crown in the 119th final. All six of the Kingdoms forwards contributed to end tally and their defence yielded a miserly eight scores all day.

Barely a quarter hour had elapsed and it seemed as though the game was over to Croke Parks visitors, that was everyone except the Mayo XV. Mike Frank Russell hit two points to open the Kingdoms account. Then a slick one-two between Declan OSullivan and Kieran Donaghy ended with the former walking the ball into the net, and putting any question marks over OConnors first team selection to bed early on.

In the ninth minute the unmistakable Donaghy again caused havoc when he caught a Tommy Griffin high ball cleanly over the head of David Heaney, turned, and blasted spectacularly to the net. The fatal blows had been struck.

Sean OSullivan and left half back Aidan OMahony then added their names to the scoresheet to make it 2-4 to 0-0. A 10-point deficit with only 13 minutes on the ticker and the grim reaper had in his grasp a green and red garment.

Mayo manager Mickey Moran had seen enough. Too much ball was being fed into Donaghy and he took immediate action. Centre back James Nallen was replaced by the towering David Brady with Heaney switching to the centre and Brady locating his sizeable bulk on the edge of the square.

It worked a treat, for a time. Brady immediately made his presence known with a forceful challenge on the 6 5"Austin Stacks man. Out of the six tussles between the pair in the remainder of the half Donaghy only claimed possession once, scoring just one more point.

The focus changed and now Ciaran McDonalds pretty passes began to bear fruit. The Crossmolina puppeteer initiated a move that ended with Alan Dillon hand-passing to Kevin ONeill, who raised a green flag.

Murmurs in the crowd but nothing to get too excited about, it was 2-4 to 1-0. Kerry quietly went down the other end and hit two points before Colm Cooper got in on the goal fest.

The Gooch found himself with space and only David Clarke to beat. The Dr Crokes man, who collected only his second Celtic Cross on Sunday, had his shot come back off the right upright under the Davin Stand. But he reacted quickly to the loose ball and as his marker slipped, Cooper squeezed a shot between goalkeeper and post. It appeared rumours of a comeback were premature.

The belief in this Mayo panel, which manager Mickey Moran and his sidekick John Morrison had been referencing all year, had spread to the stands by the interval. In the final regulation minute of the half ONeill again found himself through on goal. The Na Fianna player drew in Michael McCarthy before perfectly offloading to the inrushing Pat Harte, who showed some class in sidestepping a challenge on the goal line and tapping home.

Western fans were on their feet and a surreal sense of expectation hung in the air. It only got stronger when McDonald attempted an impossible point only for his shot to clip the top of a post and fall to ONeill in the square. Under little pressure, ONeill made the game a real competition at 3-7 to 3-2.

Declan OSullivan managed to claim a point before the break, but the half-time pause killed Mayos momentum.

Kerry stuck three more points on the scoreboard after the restart as McDonalds influence began to wane, a culmination of poor passing and a lack of support from his forward colleagues.

Indeed, any green and red vicissitude never found a footing in the second-half. Mayo gifted the scorekeeper an easy end to his shift, hitting only three Conor Mortimer frees.

The game descended into a series of mistakes for a period, but Kerry kept annexing the scoreline. In the 57th minute left wing back Aidan OMahony strolled through a stagnant Mayo defence to score a point. Mayos tomb had been sealed by a familiar foe.

Kerrys fortunes turned on his switch to full forward against Longford in a fourth round qualifier, so it was fitting perhaps that Kieran Donaghy steered a booming shot over the bar in the final minute of regulation time.

Last year, Darragh and Marc O Se took a wrong turn and ended up in the media lift with a host of reporters following the All-Ireland final defeat to Tyrone. Not a word was uttered, and the pain on their faces derived that none was sought. Talk flowed freely this year.
A first All-Ireland through the backdoor has perhaps now confirmed the greatness of a side that lay on the cusp of unfulfilled promise.

KERRY - D Murphy; M O Se, M McCarthy, T OSullivan; T O Se, S Moynihan (0-1), A OMahony (0-2); D O Se, T Griffin; S OSullivan (0-1), Declan OSullivan (capt) (1-2), P Galvin (0-1); C Cooper (1-2), K Donaghy (1-2), MF Russell 0-2, 1f). Subs: E Brosnan (1-1) for T O Se (36th min), Darren OSullivan for S OSullivan (52nd min), B Sheehan (0-1, 1f) for MF Russell (62nd min), E Fitzmaurice for T Griffin (67th min) and B Guiney for A OMahony (70th min).

MAYO -  D Clarke; D Geraghty, D Heaney, K Higgins; A Higgins, J Nallen, P Gardiner; R McGarrity, P Harte (1-0); BJ Padden (0-1), G Brady, A Dillon; K ONeill (2-0), Conor Mortimer (0-3, 3f), Ciaran MacDonald (0-1, 1f). Subs: D Brady for J Nallen (11th min), T Mortimer for A Dillon (47 th min), B Moran for K ONeill (47th min), A Kilcoyne for BJ Padden (52nd min) and A Moran for P Gardiner (60th min).

Referee: Brian Crowe (Cavan).

Frees: Kerry 7, Mayo 14.

Wides: Kerry 5, Mayo 4.

45s: Kerry 0, Mayo 1.

Booked: T OSullivan, P Galvin, K Donaghy, E Fitzmaurice (Kerry), D Brady, A Kilcoyne, T Mortimer (Mayo).

Attendance: 82, 289.