/ GAA

Mayo 0-16 Kerry 1-12

Updated: Sunday, 16 Mar 2008 19:21

Mayo's Andy Moran gathers possession ahead of Padraig Reidy of Kerry
Mayo's Andy Moran gathers possession ahead of Padraig Reidy of Kerry

Forward duo Conor Mortimer and Austin O'Malley played leading roles as Mayo beat Kerry in the Allianz NFL for the third year running.

Full-forward O'Malley decided this Division 1 encounter at Castlebar with a late point from wide out on the left.

Bryan Sheehan's first-minute penalty helped Kerry on their way to a 1-09 to 0-09 half-time lead, with Darren O'Sullivan impressing.

After Mayo had levelled, Kerry brought Darragh Ó Sé into the fray but he could do little as the strong-running Westerners sneaked home.

In a brisk opening, O'Sullivan was hauled down for Kerry's penalty after only 18 seconds of play. Tomas Ó Sé initiated the attack, Kieran Donaghy got up well to break down a high ball in towards the square and the onrushing O'Sullivan drew the foul.

Sheehan stepped up to fire past Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke but the home side were back level within four minutes.

Mortimer sent over two crisply struck points, either side of a booming effort from midfielder James Gill.

Kerry hit back with white flags from Sheehan and O’Sullivan, who won and pointed a free, and the tempo quickened when O'Malley, who held an early edge over his marker Tom O'Sullivan, notched Mayo's fourth point.

The crowd were being treated to some high-quality football as Eoin Brosnan and O'Sullivan added to Kerry's tally before O'Malley came out from the square and launched over his second point.

A 21st-minute point from Sheehan nosed Kerry into a 1-05 to 0-05 lead but they briefly stalled as Mayo, with Ronan McGarrity increasing his influence in centre-field, picked off successive points from Mortimer, O'Malley and Mortimer again.

The latter's 29th-minute score levelled the sides but Kerry then had a purple patch before the interval.

O'Sullivan grabbed his third point, Sheehan lobbed over a free to take his tally to 1-03 and Tomas Ó Sé raided up the right before stepping in to the centre to notch a trademark point.

Mayo responded with an Alan Dillon free but Kerry had the last word of the half when Donaghy moved out from his full-forward station to swing over a neat point from the right wing.

The nip-and-tuck nature of the game continued into the second half when Mayo rifled over three points on the bounce – Dillon (41 minutes), Mortimer (44) and Andy Moran (46) had their side back on terms at 1-09 to 0-12.

Kerry boss Pat O'Shea reacted by bringing in Darragh Ó Sé for his first appearance of the season, with Donnacha Walsh the player to make way.

Ó Sé and Gill enjoyed a ding-dong battle in midfield but Mayo continued to look the more potent in attack with Mortimer bisecting the posts with a free for his sixth point of the afternoon.

That score sent Mayo in front at 0-13 to 1-09 but another thrust forward from Tomas Ó Sé ended with the wing back squaring up the game again.

The sides swapped the next four points but there were some poor misses also as Sheehan was wide from a 20-metre free and Mortimer was wayward when a point looked on the cards.

In a nervy finish, Mayo were the ones to pull through when O'Malley slammed over his fifth point to edge them in front.

Donaghy, who had a quiet game overall, had a chance to reply in injury-time but his shot from the right sailed across the goal.