Kildare swept to a resounding victory over Mayo to lift the Christy Ring Cup for the third time, a polished performance laced with power and style setting them apart in dominant style.

Mayo, having stepped up after winning the Nickey Rackard Cup last year, found this punishing experience a step too far, and never threatened to cause an upset.

The Lilywhites produced some sparkling passages of play and picked off sublime scores, with James Burke's ten points haul bettered by eleven from play from the rampant Gerry Keegan.

First half goals from Cathal Dowling and Shane Ryan meant the outcome was virtually decided by the interval, and despite a brave second half showing from the westerners, the Leinster men kept the momentum going.

Mayo got off to a promising start, cancelling out scores from Gerry Keegan and James Burke with points off the sticks of Shane Boland and Eoin Delaney.

But it all started to go wrong for the Connacht men when Cathal Dowling got in for a ninth minute goal, despite a heroic double save from Bobby Douglas.

The Mayo 'keeper kept out his initial effort, and also blocked Shane Ryan's shot on the rebound, but Dowling grabbed possession again to rifle the ball to the net.

Boland stemmed the flow with a couple of scores, one a brilliant long range effort, but with Paul Divilly and Rian Boran holding the Lilywhite defence together, avenues were closed off, and the movement of their attacking unit caused all sorts of problems for the westerners.

Burke was unerring from placed balls, sending one booming between the uprights from all of 100 metres, with Shane Ryan also keeping the score-board rolling.

Mayo were restricted to sporadic attacks, with Boland their man source of scores as he sent over a couple of frees, while Joseph Mooney also scored from an exquisite sideline cut.

But the Lilies hammered another nail in the 32nd minute with a second goal, Ryan cutting in from the left to shorten the grip and knock the ball past Douglas.

They were denied a third goal by some excellent full back play from Stephen Coyne as he stepped in to halt Keegan, who had been sent clear by Kevin Whelan.

Kildare’s 15 points lead at the break, 2-17 to 0-8, left Mayo with a mountain to climb, and their defence facing a long afternoon at GAA Headquarters.

Kildare’s superior stickwork saw them move the ball quickly and accurately, and repeatedly dispossess their opponents to add to the frustration mounting among Mayo ranks.

Burke and Keegan continued to find the range with ease, pushing the lead out to 19 points by the mid-point of the second half.

The westerners did create openings for Joseph McManus, Sean Kenny and substitute Kenneth Feeney to pick off stylish points, but there was never any suggestion that they could turn this one around.

Stephen Coyne, Gerard McManus and Gary Nolan battled bravely at the back for a hard-pressed Mayo defence, but the pace and movement of their opponents trumped everything they had to offer.

Keegan was on fire, and as he fired over his 11th point from play, the Lilywhite faithful in the Hogan Stand were already celebrating.

Boland had a decent afternoon with a ten points haul, but on a day that belonged to the men from Kildare, that was going to be nowhere nearly enough.

Kildare: P McKenna; N O Muineachain, S Lacey, C Derivan; K Whelan, R Boran, C Boran (0-01); C McCabe (0-03), P Divilly; G Keegan (0-11), J Burke (0-10, 7f, 1 ’65), J Byrne; B Byrne (0-01), S Ryan (1-01), C Dowling (1-01).

Subs: J Travers for Derivan (43), M Delaney for Divilly (43), J Sheridan for Ryan (47), S Christiansen for Whelan (59), P Dolan (0-01) for Sheridan (62)

Mayo: B Douglas; G Nolan, S Coyne, P Kirwan; M Philips, G McManus, D Kenny; K Higgins (0-01), D Huane; S Kenny (0-01), J Mooney (0-01, s/l), A Philips; E Delaney (0-01), J McManus (0-02), S Boland (0-10, 7f).

Subs: K Feeney (0-03, 1f) for Kirwan (29), E Roe for M Philips (h-t), C Hession for Huane (49), P Lyons for Delaney (62), B Hunt for Kenny (66)

Referee: M Kennedy (Tipperary).