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Mayo outstay Kildare with second half surge to secure quarter-final place

A second-half goal from Oisín Mullin turned the game.

Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Mayo 2-13

Kildare 0-14

Kevin Egans reports from Croke Park 

KILDARE CAME AGONISINGLY close to becoming the first team to knock Mayo out of the All-Ireland championship in June since Longford all the way back in 2010, but a goal from Oisín Mullin salvaged the season for James Horan’s men, and ensured that they will be in the quarter-final draw on Monday morning.

As the game moved into the last ten minutes, Kildare led by three points, and it looked like they had withstood all that Mayo were able to muster.

The Connacht county were competitive but vulnerable in defence, one-paced in midfield, and no forward had scored more than a single point from play.

kevin-flynn Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The desperation in Mayo’s play was evident in some of the low-percentage shots that they attempted, and when Oisín Mullin drove forward, it looked like yet another example of the backs trying to bail out their misfiring forwards.

Then, just when it looked like Mullin was bottled up by three tacklers, Darragh Kirwan nudged him back in the direction he wanted to go, two other tacklers stood off, and the goal opened up for the Kilmaine defender.

A quick exchange of passes with Pádraig O’Hora opened up the shot, and as the green flag flew, it was as if every supporter in Croke Park knew how things would go from there. 

Mayo being Mayo, they didn’t put it away until the fifth minute of stoppage time when Jordan Flynn took advantage of one of Aaron O’Neill’s attacking forays to float the ball over the Maynooth man and into the net, yet there was no evidence in those last ten minutes that Glenn Ryan’s side were going to able to come with another surge.

In truth, they never really came with a first one – Kildare were simply the less poor of two utterly misfiring sides.

While some early Kildare misses – Daniel Flynn’s mark from the 20 metre line the worst example – were extremely poor, Mayo were operating at around 50% shooting. That’s not 50% of shots going over the bar, that’s 50% of shots crossing the dead ball line.

Two points in the first 28 minutes showed just how much they struggled, as Kildare dropped players back and depended on their opponents’ inability to shoot over a blanket defence.

At the other end, it wasn’t inspiring stuff by any measure, but Jimmy Hyland looked sharp, Kevin O’Callaghan came forward to kick two good points, and it took three scores from defenders – two from Eoghan McLaughlin and one from Lee Keegan – to keep Mayo in touch at the interval, 0-8 to 0-5 adrift.

From the first attack of the second half, Mick O’Grady made a sensational block on Fergal Boland, and sensing more blood in the water, Kildare went on to double their lead.

Ben McCormack fisted a point, Daniel Flynn hooked one over on the turn, then Shea Ryan found himself in the high third of the field to claim a mark, but instead brought Jimmy Hyland into play and let the Ballyteague man fire over a point.

Gradually, Mayo worked their way back into it, through a combination of single-digit-jersey wearers pushing up, and their attackers beginning to find some form. Aidan O’Shea set up Fergal Boland for a score, Darren McHale’s first act after coming on was to lay one on for Cillian O’Connor, and when Conor Loftus found the target from the Cusack Stand sideline, there was momentum again.

Still however, the errors continued, and as the sides traded points, if felt like Mayo needed a goal to bridge the gap, and if it was any other team, it probably wouldn’t have come. It wasn’t any other team though, it was Mayo.

Scorers for Mayo:  Cillian O‘Connor 0-3 (0-1f), Oisín Mullin 1-0, Jordan Flynn 1-0, Eoghan McLaughlin 0-2, Lee Keegan 0-2, Fergal Boland 0-2, Jack Carney 0-1, Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Conor Loftus 0-1, Darren McHale 0-1.  

Scorers for Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 0-6 (0-5f), Kevin O’Callaghan 0-2, Darragh Malone 0-1, Kevin Feely 0-1, Ben McCormack 0-1, Daniel Flynn 0-1, Neil Flynn 0-1, Shea Ryan 0-1.  

 

Mayo: 

1             Robert Hennelly                (Breaffy)

 

2             Lee Keegan         (Westport)

3             Oisín Mullin        (Kilmaine)

4             Enda Hession      (Garrymore)

 

5             Patrick Durcan   (Castlebar Mitchels)

6             Stephen Coen    (Hollymount/Carramore)

7             Eoghan McLaughlin         (Westport)

 

8             Aidan O’Shea      (Breaffy)

9             Matthew Ruane               (Breaffy)

 

10           Diarmuid O’Connor         (Ballintubber)

11           Jason Doherty    (Burrishoole)

12           Conor Loftus      (Crossmolina)

 

13           James Carr          (Ardagh)

15           Cillian O’Connor               (Ballintubber)

14           Jack Carney         (Kilmeena)

 Subs:  Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for Doherty (29), Darren McHale (Knockmore) for Carr (44), Pádraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites) for Coen (45), Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina) for O’Shea (60), Aidan Orme (Knockmore) for Carney (70).

 

Kildare: 

16           Aaron O’Neill      (Carbury)

 

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4             Ryan Houlihan    (Moorefield)

3             Shea Ryan           (Sarsfields)

2             Mick O’Grady     (Celbridge)

 

7             Kevin Flynn         (Celbridge)

17           David Hyland      (Athy)

26           Darragh Malone               (Allenwood)

 

8             Kevin Feely         (Athy)

9             Kevin O’Callaghan            (Celbridge)

 

10           Alex Beirne         (Naas)

11           Ben McCormack               (Sarsfields)

24           Fergal Conway   (Celbridge)

 

23           Neil Flynn            (Maynooth)

14           Daniel Flynn        (Johnstownbridge)

15           Jimmy Hyland     (Ballyteague)

 Subs:  Paul Cribbin (Johnstownbridge) for Beirne (31), Darragh Kirwan (Naas) for N Flynn (55), Paddy McDermott (Naas) for Conway (70+1), Brian McLoughlin (Clane) for J Hyland (70+2).  

 Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Kevin Egan

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