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Late David Clifford free secures Kerry win over Mayo in Tralee league test

Jack O’Connor’s side stay top of Division 1 after their fifth game.
Mar 12th 2022, 9:16 PM 29,785 24

Kerry 1-12

Mayo 0-14

ON A PITCH that had been pounded by relentless rain beforehand and after a hard-hitting contest between the two high-flying sides in Division 1, it took a David Clifford scoring intervention to settle the meeting of Kerry and Mayo.

david-clifford-and-matthew-ruane Kerry's David Clifford and Mayo's Matthew Ruane. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Clifford slotted over the 76th minute free that was the match-winner after Stephen O’Brien’s darting run drew a foul from Aidan O’Shea. It was an adequate advantage to get Kerry over the line, Mayo couldn’t summon an equaliser after a half of football they had spent clawing back Kerry with Ryan O’Donoghue’s markmanship from frees instrumental.

Jack Barry knocked over the 55th minute point that sent Kerry 1-10 to 0-10 clear but then Paudie Clifford missed a simple chance to point from a free, tapping the ball into Rob Hennelly’s arms. Mayo wrestled back the momentum from there with O’Donoghue twice from frees cutting the gap, before Matthew Ruane tied the teams. 

The noise from the crowd was spiked as the action ebbed and flowed in six minutes of injury time, Clifford and O’Donoghue trading frees before the Fossa man and Kingdom captain for the night, had the definitive say to the delight of the home support.

A bumper crowd streamed into Austin Stack Park for this one, huddled into the main stand and populating the terrace opposite long before throw-in, as the venue was hit by incessant rain. The elements failed to act as a major deterrent, a mid-March meeting of two leading sides with unbeaten 2022 league records and perched at the top of the table, was a natural attraction.

dara-moynihan-and-ferga-boland Kerry's Dara Moynihan and Mayo's Fergal Boland. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

On a wretched night for football, the teams served up some good stuff in the first half to please their respective camps. The pressure applied around the middle was noticeable with Kerry profiting from turnovers, Dara Moynihan on Fergal Boland in the 11th minute sparking a counter-attack for a Tony Brosnan point and Paudie Clifford on Jordan Flynn in the 23rd minute paving the way for brother David to point.

Kerry’s marquee name posted three first-half points from play, Jack Savage deputised for Sean O’Shea in the free-taking department with a brace and Tony Brosnan, drafted in for Paul Geaney beforehand, helped himself to 1-1.

The goal in the 21st minute was a splendid effort. The Dr Crokes man launched the move, David Clifford and Adrian Spillane played important roles as a mix of quick hands and footwork cut open the Mayo rearguard, Brosnan lashing a powerful shot past Rob Hennelly. 

james-horan-before-the-game Mayo boss James Horan.

jack-oconnor-before-the-game Kerry manager Jack O'Connor. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Mayo had their own goalscoring chances in first half but they only prompted regrets. Aiden Orme dragged a shot wide with a poor connection moments after Brosnan netted and then approaching half-time a Matthew Ruane pass fed Diarmuid O’Connor charging through. He tried to roll the ball to the far corner, Shane Murphy got a critical touch to divert the shot past the post.

There was solace for Mayo in Hennelly popping the resultant ’45 over the bar and they have notched three of the last four points in the half, to stand 1-6 to 0-6 adrift at the break. Fergal Boland made an impressive scoring contribution in that half, the Aghamore man grabbing two points.

Mayo pushed furiously in the second half, ensuring this never got comfortable for Kerry. But ultimately Jack O’Connor’s charges got the prize on offer as they go clear at the head of the table.

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 0-6 (0-2f), Tony Brosnan 1-2, Jack Savage 0-2 (0-2f), Jack Barry 0-1, Dara Moynihan 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue 0-7 (0-6f, 0-1 mark), Fergal Boland 0-3, Matthew Ruane 0-2, Aiden Orme 0-1, Rob Hennelly 0-1 (0-1 ’45).


1. Shane Murphy (Dr Crokes)

2. Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Brian Ó Beaglaíoch (An Ghaeltacht)

8. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil), 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa Killarney), 11. Jack Savage (Kerins O Rahillys), 12. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)

13. Paudie Clifford (Fossa), 14. David Clifford (Fossa), 17. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes)


20. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks) for Adrian Spillane (45)

19. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for Savage (48)

18. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe) for Casey (55)

22. Greg Horan (Austin Stacks) for O’Connor (blood) (65)

21. Micheal Burns (Dr Crokes) for Paudie Clifford (65)

8. O’Connor for Horan (68)

24. Pa Warren (Gneeveguilla) for Graham O’Sullivan (73)


1. Rob Hennelly (Breaffy)

2. Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites), 7. Oisin Mullin (Kilmaine), 4. Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber)

5. Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), 6. Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore, captain), 3. Lee Keegan (Westport),

8. Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), 11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)

9. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), 10. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), 12. Jack Carney (Kilmeena)

13. Fergal Boland (Aghamore), 14. Aiden Orme (Knockmore), 15. Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet)


19. Enda Hession (Garrymore) for Coen (half-time)

22. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore) for Carney (42)

26. Frank Irwin (Ballina Stephenites) for Orme (57)

25. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers) for Boland (66)

17. Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels) for O’Connor (70)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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Fintan O'Toole


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