Tommy Walsh was introduced at half time for his first Kerry appearance since 2009. James Crombie/INPHO
big win

No triumphant return for Kerry's Tommy Walsh as Mayo make a winning start

Mayo were seven-point winners at Fitzgerald Stadium today.

Mayo 2-11
Kerry 0-10

THIS ALLIANZ LEAGUE opening-day joust between last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists was never going to match the intensity and edginess of the Gaelic Grounds last August, but there was just enough fizz and needle in Killarney this afternoon to entertain, and confirm a healthy rivalry between these two.

Mayo — under new management — applauded the All-Ireland champions on to the field but that was as much deference as Pat Holmes and Noel Connolly’s men afforded Kerry, as the visitors looked to maintain an unbeaten League record over Kerry that stretched back to 2011.

By the end, a goal in each half from Alan Freeman and Kevin McLoughlin was the difference, as Mayo continued to hold their Indian sign over Kerry as far as League results go.

An opening-minute Barry John Keane point got Kerry off the mark first, but the early momentum was interrupted with a match-ending injury to Evan Regan, who took a heavy fall moments after his equalising point for Mayo.

Kieran O’Leary and Paul Geaney edged Kerry two points ahead, but slowly and surely Mayo worked themselves into the ascendancy, with Alan Freeman’s well-executed 21st-minute goal due reward for Mayo’s collective efforts.

From there to the break, points from Donal Vaughan, Jason Doherty (free) and three from the excellent Michael Conroy saw Mayo 1-7 to 0-4 to the good at half time.

Kerry, sensing the need for inspiration, introduced Tommy Walsh for the second half and three early high catches signalled a promising return for the ex-Aussie Rules footballer.

However, Mayo brought on Aidan O’Shea to quell Walsh’s threat and he did so admirably. By the end, Walsh had limped off with an ankle injury after a frustrating return.

Evan Regan collides with Mark Griffin and Johnny Buckley Mayo's Evan Regan collides with Mark Griffin and Johnny Buckley of Kerry. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

A brief kick from Kerry in the third quarter got them to within three points of Mayo — 1-8 to 0-8 — but Kevin McLoughlin’s clinically-dispatched 50th-minute goal put six between them again.

Kerry ran their subs’ bench but the exertions of a winter holiday and a considerably weakened team caught up with them, as Mayo finished impressively, handing Holmes and Connolly a welcome and instructive first League win.

Scorers for Mayo: Michael Conroy 0-4, Kevin McLoughlin and Alan Freeman 1-0 each, Jason Doherty 0-3 (2f), Seamus O’Shea, Donal Vaughan, Evan Regan and Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: Barry John Keane 0-4 (1f), Paul Geaney 0-2 (1f), David Moran 0-2, (1f, 1 ‘45), Kieran O’Leary and Michael Geaney 0-1 each.


1. Robbie Hennelly

2. Stephen Coen
3. Kevin Keane
4. Keith Higgins

5. Lee Keegan
6. Chris Barrett
7. Patrick Durcan

8. Seamus O’Shea
9. Donal Vaughan

10. Kevin McLoughlin
11. Adam Gallagher
12. Jason Doherty

13. Evan Regan
14. Alan Freeman
15. Mark Ronaldson


24. Michael Conroy for E Regan (5, inj)
23. Diarmuid O’Connor for A Gallagher (45)
21. Aidan O’Shea for A Freeman (49)
26. Mickey Sweeney for M Conroy (57, inj)
18. Colm Boyle for C Barrett (58)
22. Barry Moran for S O’Shea (69)


1. Brendan Kealy

2. Pa Kilkenny
3. Mark Griffin
17. Jack Sherwood

5. Jonathan Lyne
6. Fionn Fitzgerald
7. Paul Murphy

8. David Moran
9. Bryan Sheehan

10. Michael Geaney
11. Kieran O’Leary
12. Johnny Buckley

13. Stephen O’Brien
14. Paul Geaney
15. Barry John Keane


19. Tommy Walsh for B Sheehan (H-T)
22. Philip O’Connor for K O’Leary (49)
24. Jack McGuire for J Lyne (54, blood)
5. Jonathan Lyne for J McGuire (57, blood)
25. Conor Keane for BJ Keane (58)
24. Jack McGuire for P Geaney (61)
18. Daithi Casey for S O’Brien (65)
23. Alan Fitzgerald for T Walsh (69, inj)

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)

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