Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park, Tralee
NOT QUITE CROKE Park in August but as near as one could hope for championship football in February as Mayo pulled off a remarkable win over Kerry in Tralee tonight.
As the temperatures plummeted in Austin Stack Park, the tempers rose towards the end of a helter skelter encounter that Mayo sneaked by two points.
Tom Parsons was red carded for instigating a brawl in the 73rd and final minute of an engaging contest that saw the visitors redeem themselves from the previous week’s loss to Monaghan.
For Kerry, while the performance was sound, much of the good work done with that win over Donegal last weekend was undone here.
David Moran will rue a first half penalty miss – kudos to David Clarke for a great save – but Kerry can have few arguments will the result as Mayo stormed back from a four-point half-time deficit to clinch an important win on the road.
Kerry also finished with 14 men after Jason Foley was black carded in the 67th minute with Kerry trailing by a point, and that numerical advantage allowed Mayo to see out the game, with Kerry trying but failing to score beyond the 57th minute.
Cillian O’Connor converted nine frees, but had Mayo lost this one the Ballintubber man might have rued a few wayward efforts.
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.
Points from Jack Barry, Jack Savage and Paul Geaney had Kerry into an early lead and the home side led 0-4 to 0-2 when Clarke pushed away Moran’s penalty after Adrian Spillane was pulled down.
More goal chances came Kerry’s way 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 had a Mayo goal chance scrambled away.
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 wrestle a badly needed win.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-9 (0-9f), Andy Moran 0-3, Tom Parsons, Kevin McLoughlin, Conor O’Shea 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: BJ Keane 1-3, Jack Barry, Paul Geaney (0-2f) 0-2 each, Jack Savage, Paul Murphy, Conor Geaney 0-1 each.
1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
2. Donie Newcombe (Castlebar Mitchels)
3. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
4. Paddy Durcan (Cas tlebar Mitchels)
5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
6. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
7. David Drake (Ballaghaderreen)
8. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
12. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)
24. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy)
26. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
15. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet) for D Drake (24 mins)
Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber) for F Boland (46)
22. Shane Nally (Garrymore) for D Vaughan (51)
13. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites) for J Doherty (59)
19. Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber) for E Regan (69)
21. Danny Kirby (Castlebar) for C O’Shea (70)
1. Brian Kelly (Killarney Legion)
2. Ronan Shanahan (Austin Stacks)
3. Mark Griffin (St Michaels-Foilmore)
4. Killian Young (Renard)
5. Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion)
6. Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
7. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
10. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)
11. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
12. Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane)
13. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
23. Conor Keane (Killarney Legion)
20. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys) for P Geaney (inj, 19 mins)
17. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle) for K Young (inj, 28)
24. Conor Geaney (Dingle) for C Keane (48)
19. Michael Geaney (Dingle) for A Spillane (52)
18. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue) for R Shanahan (inj, 57)
21. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle) for J Lyne (B/C, 60)
Jason Foley (B/C, 67 not replaced)
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)
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