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Kerry's signal of intent, Mayo finding form and Down put out of their misery
Plenty of talking points after the penultimate round of regulation games in the Allianz Football League.

1. Rossies’ run grinds to a halt

IT WAS A sensational few weeks, but Mayo finally brought Roscommon back down to ground with a thump on Sunday.

Consecutive wins over Kerry, Cork and Donegal, raised expectations in the county so much that they were fancied by many to beat their Connacht rivals today. Mayo, unbeaten in the provincial championship since 2010, looked like a side eager to reassert their dominance over Roscommon.

In fairness to the Rossies, relegation-threatened Mayo had far more to play for. But the home side were dominated around the middle third and they look like they have a year or two to go before they can match Mayo’s physicality.

It took them 22 minutes in the first-half to get a score and 21 minutes in the second-half. Not good enough at this level.

That said, Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell will learn plenty from this defeat. Expect sparks to fly if, as expected, these sides meet again in July.

2. Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s signal of intent

Eamonn Fitzmaurice Andrew Paton / INPHO Andrew Paton / INPHO / INPHO

Never before in the four years of his tenure have Kerry made the league semi-finals, but Eamonn Fitzmaurice and his side are as good as in the last four now.

Barring an aberration against Cork, Kerry are in the semi-finals after four wins on-the-trot in Division 1.

Fitzmaurice’s hand gets stronger by the week. David Moran and Killian Young returned to the field for the first time since the Round 2 loss to Roscommon. Alan Fitzgerald came back from suspension, while Paul Geaney made his first appearance for the Kingdom since the All-Ireland final last September.

Colm Cooper gave one of his finest displays in a Kerry jersey in recent years, as Kieran Donaghy provided an excellent option for direct ball at full-forward on the occasions he wasn’t dominating at midfield. Fitzgerald and Barry John Keane kicked five points between them off the bench.

Things are starting to come together for the Kingdom, although the ‘cute hoors’ down there might say that sort of talk is premature.

3. Mayo find their form

Mayo host Down in the final regulation game of Division 1 next weekend, with their destiny in their own hands. A win over already-relegated Down in Castlebar would guarantee survival and secure their third victory in four games.

Crisis, what crisis?

Mayo are finding their feet as ground gets firmer and the evenings get longer. Now they’ve every chance of finishing the league on a high point.

The welcome return of Cillian O’Connor and Alan Dillon off the bench, as well as the Castlebar contingent, makes Stephen Rochford’s job look a little less daunting.

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Mayo have yet to hammer out a distinctive style of play under Rochford, but their hard running game was enough to overpower Roscommon for a much-needed result.

4. Down are finally put out of their misery

A view of conditions during the game Ken Sutton / INPHO Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

Down’s immediate return to Division 2 was confirmed today, but in truth it’s been a long time coming.

Their sixth straight defeat in the top flight means Down head into the championship on the back of a worrying run. They’ve been way out of their depth this spring, and without the class of a Benny Coulter or Marty Clarke in attack, Eamon Burns’ men badly struggled in front of the posts.

They scored just 1-44 in six games, an average of under 0-8 per game, while only Cork have conceded more in the division. Down need to turn things around quickly if they are to salvage anything from this season.

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