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Four-goal Kerry power past Mayo and into first All-Ireland final since 2012

The Kingdom were 4-10 to 0-13 winners at Croke Park this afternoon.

Kerry's Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Danielle Caldwell of Mayo.
Kerry's Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Danielle Caldwell of Mayo.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Kerry 4-10

Mayo 0-13

THIS WAS A massive opportunity for both teams, the championship race wide open.

Kerry grabbed it with both hands as they reached their first All-Ireland senior final since 2012, the old adage that goals win games ringing true.

Síofra O’Shea (two), Aishling O’Connell and Paris McCarthy were the goal-scorers at a sun-kissed but breezy Croke Park this afternoon, as 0-5 from star forward Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh and a Player of the Match performance from teak-tough full-back Kayleigh Cronin helped them power over the line.

Truth be told, Darragh Long and Declan Quill’s side outclassed Mayo all over the pitch, and the traditional ladies football heavyweights now face either champions Meath or Donegal in the 31 July decider.

The Kingdom last won in 1993, and this was their first semi-final appearance in five years after an impressive rebuild, no shortage of off-field issues and a relegation play-off appearance last season.

Michael Moyles’ Mayo, likewise, have been through the wringer in recent times; this young, fearless, galvanised outfit did so well this year despite the absence of their big-name AFLW stars. But today was a bridge too far.

This was an open game from the outset; the action sparking to life in the opening seconds when Mayo goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey denied Danielle O’Leary and Kerry the dream start.

It did arrive in the sixth minute, however, when Aishling O’Connell lobbed the ball into the Hill 16 goal, despite Fiona McHale’s block and after a sublime pass from Niamh Carmody. Shauna Howley had opened the scoring at the other end with the first of her four scores of the afternoon, some early nerves showing elsewhere with both teams wasteful in possession at times.

The Kingdom shook those off, with Síofra O’Shea palming in their second goal after excellent work from midfielder Cáit Lynch, to make it 2-2 to 0-2 on 11 minutes. Emma Costello and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh, and Ciara Whyte, had previously traded points.

To their credit, Mayo responded well with Tara Needham, Lisa Cafferky and Howley (two, one free) all hitting back after a big Carmody effort. Ní Mhuircheartaigh and Sarah Mulvihill exchanged blows, but O’Shea hit a hammer one in the 20th minute, her long-range bullet ending up in the back of the net to make it 3-4 to 0-7.

O’Leary and Lynch added two more for the high-flying Kingdom, with goalkeeper Ciara Butler and standout defender Cronin keeping Mayo at bay in the dying embers of the first half. After a poor defensive showing, all the Green and Red could muster up was a quick-fire Sinéad Cafferky point, the interval score reading 3-6 to 0-8.

Three unanswered points from Aoife Geraghty, Howley and Needham put the wind in Mayo’s sails on the restart, but two beauties from Ní Mhuircheartaigh reigned them back in. Geraghty struck again, but Ní Mhuircheartaigh and O’Connell were on hand at the other end to keep Kerry ticking over at 3-10 to 0-12.

Moyles’ side had a few poor wides thereafter, and their defensive frailties were exposed big time mid-way through the second half. Full-back Róisín Flynn did well to win a turnover on the edge of the square, but her supporting cast failed to back her up, the ball spilling to Paris McCarthy. A late addition to the starting line-up, the talented basketball player slotted home, despite Tarpey’s best efforts in getting a hand to it.

The game petered out from there really, Kerry held scoreless down the home straight, which will certainly be a concern leading into the All-Ireland final.

Sinéad Cafferky had the last say for Mayo with loads left on the clock; both teams’ shooting wayward and Hawkeye scratching off Needham’s previous effort.

Scorers for Kerry: Síofra O’Shea (2-0), Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh (0-5), Aishling O’Connell (1-1), Paris McCarthy (1-0), Emma Costello, Niamh Carmody, Cáit Lynch, Danielle O’Leary (all 0-1).

Scorers for Mayo: Shauna Howley (0-4, 2f), Tara Needham, Sinéad Cafferky, Aoife Geraghty (all 0-2), Ciara Whyte, Lisa Cafferky, Sarah Mulvihill (all 0-1).

Kerry

1. Ciara Butler (Castlegregory)

2. Julie O’Sullivan (Inbhear Sceine Gaels), 3. Kayleigh Cronin (Dr Crokes), 4. Eilís Lynch (Castleisland Desmonds)

5. Aishling O’Connell (Éire Óg, Cork), 6. Emma Costello (Firies), 7. Ciara Murphy (MKL Gaels)

8. Lorraine Scanlon (Castleisland Desmonds), 9. Cáit Lynch (Castleisland Desmonds)

10. Niamh Carmody (Finuge/St Senans), 11. Síofra O’Shea (Southern Gaels), 12. Anna Galvin (Na Fianna — captain)

29. Paris McCarthy (Castleisland Desmonds), 14. Danielle O’Leary (Rathmore), 15. Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh (Corca Dhuibhne)

Subs

17. Aoife Dillane (Austin Stacks) for Julie O’Sullivan (HT)

19. Erica McGlynn (Fossa) for Paris McCarthy (44)

21. Niamh Ní Chonchúir (Corca Dhuibhne) for Danielle O’Leary (53)

22. Niamh Broderick (MKL Gaels) for Ciara Murphy (55)

18. Caoimhe Evans (MKL Gaels) for Niamh Carmody (57)

Mayo

1. Aisling Tarpey (Foxrock-Cabinteely, Dublin)

2. Eilis Ronayne (Davitts), 3. Róisín Flynn (Knockmore), 4. Danielle Caldwell (Castlebar Mitchels)

5. Tamara O’Connor (Cill Chomain), 6. Fiona McHale (Carnacon), 7. Kathryn Sullivan (Castlebar Mitchels — captain)

8. Sinéad Cafferky (Kilmovee Shamrocks) 9. Aoife Geraghty (Westport)

10. Shauna Howley (Knockmore), 11. Sinéad Walsh (McHale Rovers), 12. Sarah Mulvihill (Knockmore)

13. Lisa Cafferky (Kilmovee Shamocks), 14. Ciara Whyte (Kilmoremoy), 15. Tara Needham (Louisborough)

Subs

27. Ciara Nyland (Davitts) for Sarah Mulvihill (HT)

18. Lucy Wallace (Burrishoole) for Kathryn Sullivan (47)

28. Sorcha McCarney (Westport) for Ciara Whyte (53)

26. Jenna Mortimer (Hollymount) for Fiona McHale (57)

17. Sherin El Massry (Westport) for Eilis Ronayne (57)

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).

About the author:

Emma Duffy  / Rreports from Croke Park.

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