Allianz Football League Div 1 - semi final

Disappointment as Kerry lose  to resurgent Mayo
Mayo 2-15 Kerry 1-17 
(After extra time) By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie
Kerry looked destined for another Allianz Football League final at Croke Park on Sunday but they failed to hold on to a four point lead in normal time and a three point lead in the second period of extra time and so Mayo thanks to goals from Pat Harte and wing back Colm Boyle, advance to the Final.
It was an absorbing contest and while Kerry will be bitterly disappointed at the manner of the loss, they can look back on the League with satisfaction, as Jack O'Connor has unearthed young talent for the Championship and has a clearer picture now, on how he is fixed for this years tilt at Sam

Kerry began slowly but once they got going with Anthony Maher and Paul Galvin outstanding, they soon looked the better side but Mayo still led 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval.

The sides were level after 70 minutes for the second time in eight days: 1-13 each, which meant extra time was required.

Cillian O'Connor's late, late free ensured that this semi-final will go to extra time after the sides could not be separated during normal time in an exciting tussle.

Six Conor Mortimer points propelled the winners into a 0-9 to 0-7 interval advantage. Mayo were good value for their lead, bossing much of the opening half.

Barry Moran came into the Mayo starting team at midfield in place of Aidan O'Shea, while Jack O'Connor replaced Declan O'Sullivan with Kieran O'Leary. The Connacht champions started best and they had three points on the board inside six minutes, courtesy of Mortimer (2) and corner back Keith Higgins, who popped one over at the end of a surging run.

Bryan Sheehan stroked over a Kerry free after a foul on Patrick Curtin before Mortimer latched onto an excellent Michael Conroy pass to extend the westerners' advantage. On ten minutes, Mayo's all-time leading scorer slotted over his fourth point of the match to make it 0-5 to 0-1.

Three minutes later, Alan Dillon effortlessly shrugged off a couple of Kerry men to put five points between the teams. Colm Cooper replied with an excellent point off his left foot and Kerry were unfortunate when Paul Galvin's shot came back off a post following a quick Cooper free. Mayo pair Kevin McLoughlin and Colm Boyle both went into the referee's notebook inside the first quarter for late tackles.

Curtin and O'Leary drilled over a couple of nice Kerry points and Anthony Maher had the gap down to the minimum with 15 minutes left in the first half. Mortimer and Cooper traded frees and Andy Moran hit the first wide of the game in the 24th minute.

Sheehan struck an excellent levelling point off his left foot after a superb run but Darran O'Sullivan dropped an effort into David Clarke's arms before Moran drilled a fierce shot a foot over the Kerry crossbar: 0-8 to 0-7.

Mortimer doubled the gap with his sixth point and the half-time whistle sounded with two points separating the sides.

Dillon dropped over his second point within 20 seconds of the resumption and Cooper (free) responded after the most innocuous of fouls on Galvin by Lee Keegan, for which the Mayo wing back rather bizarrely received a yellow card. Andy Moran ran out of space as he tried to get through for a Mayo goal and Clarke made a tidy save to deny O'Sullivan at the Hill 16 end.

Sheehan (free) tied the scores up again in the 47th minute and O'Sullivan collected a pass from Kieran Donaghy to put the Munster champions in front for the first time; Cooper's free made it 0-12 to 0-10 at the end of the third quarter following a foul on the Kerry centre forward.

On 53 minutes, substitute James O'Donoghue reacted quickest to the breaking ball and slotted a left-footed shot first time to the Mayo net, putting daylight between the sides. Mayo had been outscored by 1-5 to 0-1 in the first 18 minutes of the second half.

Boyle got forward go bang over a Mayo point and another Mortimer free closed the gap to three with twelve minutes remaining, 1-12 to 0-12, but Sheehan arrowed over an excellent free from off the ground eight minutes from time.

Mayo then were awarded a penalty three minutes from the end when Galvin was adjudged to have felled Dillon as the No.12 headed for goal after collecting a miss-hit back pass from Kieran Donaghy.

Substitute Pat Harte calmly dispatched his shot to the bottom right corner of the net to leave the minimum between the sides with two minutes to go.

Two minutes of injury time were announced and Mayo won a free in the fourth of these , for a foul on substitute O'Connor, who knocked his kick between the posts in the 75th minute - 1-13 each at the end of normal time.

Sheehan had Kerry back in front from a free shortly after the action resumed and O'Connor dropped a free short into Brendan Kealy's arms before Sheehan added another free, 1-15 to 1-13.

O'Connor gave Shane Enright the slip to tap over a lovely point from play but fellow substitute Barry John Keane cancelled that score out to leave two between the teams at the end of the first period of added time.

Keane tagged on a 17th Kerry point in the 84th minute but, incredibly, Mayo drew level immediately when wing back Boyle pulled a real rabbit from the hat as he fired a brilliant left-footed shot to the corner of the net after the opportunity appeared to have passed him by: 2-14 to 1-17.

Substitute Richie Feeney demonstrated remarkable strength and composure to slot over the clinching point in the final minute of additional time. Kerry were awarded a '45' a minute into injury time at the end of extra time and Sheehan took responsibility, but his kick curled to the left and wide.
It was tough luck on Kerry but at the end of the day , it was self inflicted and it ended a disappointing week for Kerry football.

Mayo scorers: C Boyle 1-1, C Mortimer 0-7 (4f), K O'Connor (1f), A Dillon 0-2 each, A Moran, K Higgins, R Feeney 0-1 each.
Kerry scorers: J O'Donoghue 1-0, B Sheehan 0-6 (5f), C Cooper 0-4 (3f), BJ Keane 0-2, A Maher, P Galvin, K O'Leary, P Curtin, D O'Sullivan 0-1 each.
Mayo: D Clarke, K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins, L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle, B Moran, J Gibbons, K McLoughlin, A Moran, A Dillon, C Mortimer, J Doherty, M Conroy.

Subs: P Harte for Doherty, E Varley for Conroy, D Geraghty for B Moran, K O'Connor for Mortimer, R Feeney for McLoughlin, A Campbell for Harte
Kerry: B Kealy, S Enright, M O Se, K Young, P Crowley, A O'Mahony, B Maguire, A Maher, B Sheehan, P Galvin, Darran O'Sullivan, K Donaghy, C Cooper, K O'Leary, P Curtin.
Subs: J O'Donoghue for O'Leary, E Brosnan for O'Mahony, D Walsh for Curtin, J Lyne for Maguire, BJ Keane for Young, J Buckley for Crowley
Referee E Kinsella ( Laois)