Aidan O'Shea and Kieran Donaghy took to the skies in a fascinating subplot to Mayo's semi-final showdown with Kerry, the teams tied 1-08 to 2-05 at the break.
O'Shea shadowed the Star in the first half, stationing himself in the full-back line and going toe to toe with the veteran forward.
Stephen Rochford's tactical gamble had many scratching their heads but it's honours even in that particular duel at the halfway point.
The Green and Red lashed home two terrific goals from Andy Moran and Colm Boyle, though Kerry bloodied their opponents' nose with a well-worked Stephen O'Brien maximum.
That came from a Donaghy set-up, the Star getting the better of O'Shea in the early exchanges
However as the half wore on O'Shea warmed to his task, using his height and strength to dull Donaghy's impact.
Colm O’Rourke had described this All-Ireland SFC semi-final as the "last kick" for Mayo's elder statesmen.
"There is no All-Ireland in two years’ time or three years’ time," he said on The Sunday Game.
"A lot of these players now are at an age where they’re facing the trap door and the next defeat could spell the end for quite a few of these players. There’s nothing to concentrate the mind better than the fear of a hanging..."
Mayo badly exposed Kerry's full-back line at times, but Eamonn Fitzmaurice's men have been here before. There's been no panic.
It's been a pulsating first half at a rain-sodden Croke Park. This game is anyone's.