Kerry and Mayo will have to do it all over again in Croke Park next Saturday as a Patrick Durcan additional time point effectively secured the replay, writes John Fogarty.
Bryan Sheehan did have a last-gasp outside chance to win the game for Kerry from almost 60 metres away but Aidan O’Shea was on the end of it and Maurice Deegan called time on an absorbing All-Ireland semi-final watched by 66,195.
Both teams will be relieved of the second opportunity although Mayo were marginally better and yet for David Clarke Kerry could be preparing themselves for a final. Mayo went three points up in the 43rd minute with the four consecutive points up in the space of as many minutes but Kerry struck back with a Johnny Buckley goal after Clarke had denied David Moran and then Paul Geaney fired over a point.
The teams were level on five further occasions, Clarke keeping out Jack Barry in the 53rd minute. Paul Murphy did push Kerry ahead in the 69th minute but substitute Durcan cancelled it out in the fourth minute of additional time.
A cataclysmic first half finished all square, Kerry 1-8 Mayo 2-5, but Kerry would have been counting their blessings given the 17 scoring chances Mayo had. Kerry’s full-back line was torn apart but as loose as Mark Griffin and Shane Enright looked at times their half-backs were given them scant protection.
Kerry had looked vulnerable in their previous couple of games despite not conceding a goal and Andy Moran registered Mayo’s first in the fifth minute after Cillian O’Connor had initially slipped. Their second goal in the 20th minute also came of a Kerry mix-up, Colm Boyle’s dummy pass being bought and the Mayo defender sauntering into slide the ball past Brian Kelly.
Jason Doherty had been excellent in the first half, taking Griffin on a tour of the Hill 16 half of the field while delivering slick ball into Moran and O’Connor. Kerry looked slightly spooked but had found the net themselves seven minutes prior to Boyle’s goal. A mix-up in the middle was seized on by Kerry and Donaghy, marked by Aidan O'Shea, spooned the ball into Stephen O’Brien’s direction and his shot was good.
Mayo, though neutralised by the end of the half, went on a scoring rampage from the 18th to the 23rd minute, Boyle’s goal preceded by a Moran point and followed by another Moran effort as well as an O’Connor point. Moran’s 23rd minute score came after a litany of blocks, O’Connor denied twice and Moran once before he sent the ball over the bar.
That put Mayo four up but they coughed up the next four points, two of them Geaney frees, as David Clarke struggled to find his men from kick-outs.
Scorers for Kerry: P. Geaney (0-7, 4 frees); S. O’Brien, J. Buckley (1-0 each); J. O’Donoghue (0-3, 2 frees); K. Young, K. Donaghy, B.J. Keane, P. Murphy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mayo: A. Moran (1-5); C. O’Connor (0-4, 1 free); C. Boyle (1-0); T. Parsons (0-2); J. Doherty, D. Vaughan, P.Durcan(0-1 each).
KERRY: B. Kelly; S. Enright, M. Griffin, K. Young; P. Crowley, T. Morley, P. Murphy; D. Moran, A. Maher; M. Geaney, J. Buckley (c), S. O’Brien; J. O’Donoghue, K. Donaghy, P. Geaney.
Subs for Kerry: J. Savage for M. Geaney (22); J. Barry for A. Maher, J. Lyne for M. Griffin (both h-t); D. O’Sullivan for J. Buckley (55); B.J. Keane for J. O’Donoghue (62); B. Sheehan for K. Donaghy (70+3).
MAYO: D. Clarke; C. Barrett, A. O’Shea, B. Harrison; C. Boyle, D. Vaughan, K. Higgins; S. O’Shea, T. Parsons; D. O’Connor, L. Keegan, K. McLoughlin; C. O’Connor, J. Doherty, A. Moran.
Subs for Mayo: P. Durcan for C. Boyle (43); S. Coen for S. O’Shea (59); D. Drake for D. O’Connor (68); C. Loftus for J. Doherty (70+4).
Referee: M. Deegan (Laois).