By Edwin McGreal
Mayo 1-19 - Kildare 1-12: A strong finish to the first half paved the way for a crucial league win for Mayo in Kildare this afternoon.
In the end it was easy and could have been by more than the final winning margin.
Kildare never got within four points in the second half and they were fortunate not to concede more goals in the second half - indeed Mayo could have scored four goals in the second period alone.
It is a result that leaves Mayo on four points but still in a relegation battle ahead of games against fellow strugglers Tyrone and Donegal.
Kildare are effectively relegated, stuck to the bottom of the table and only a remarkable set of results would keep them up.
Mayo, with more and more of their established starters returning to full fitness, were full value for the win and were coasting in the final quarter.
But the dynamic of the game was very different in the first half.
It was a real ding-dong affair early doors with a tight pitch, a large crowd and high intensity from both sides leading to a very exciting half of football.
Mayo led 0-3 to 0-0 after 10 minutes but Kildare themselves took the lead with a superb Daniel Flynn goal. He wrongfooted two defenders and that score pushed Cian O’Neill’s men 1-4 to 0-5 in front after 22 minutes.
It could have been more had Rob Hennelly not saved from Niall Kelly after 14 minutes.
Kildare were full value for that, having actually missed some very scoreable points up to that point.
But Mayo turned the screw after that goal. Kildare would only have two more shots, both wides, with Mayo dominating the last ten minutes of the half.
They kicked an unanswered 1-4. The goal came from Aidan O’Shea who flicked the ball past Mark Donnellan after good build up play from Jason Doherty, Lee Keegan and Andy Moran. Supplemented by points from Cillian O’Connor (2), Adam Gallagher and Diarmuid O’Connor, it left Mayo 1-9 to 1-4 in front at the break.
Mayo finished with all six starting forwards on the scoreboard. They had strong performers from the likes of
Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor and Andy Moran in particular and welcomed back Tom Parsons for his first game of the year.
Mayo managers Stephen Rochford is hopeful both Paddy Durcan and Chris Barrett will be available for next Sunday’s clash with Tyrone.
Mayo: R Hennelly (0-2, fs); C Crowe, G Cafferkey, E O’Donoghue (0-1); S Coen, C Boyle, L Keegan; T Parsons, A O’Shea (1-1); K McLoughlin (0-1), A Gallagher (0-2), D O’Connor (0-2); J Doherty (0-1), C O’Connor (0-4, 3fs), A Moran 0-3).
Subs: S O’Shea for Parsons (47); C Loftus (0-2, 1f) for Gallagher (52); F Boland for Doherty (63); D Drake for D O’Connor, B Moran for C O’Connor (both 70); S Nally for Boyle (71).
Kildare: M Donnellan; D Hyland, M O’Grady, E Doyle; P Kelly, K Cribbin, C O’Donoghue; K Feely (0-5, 4fs), T Moolick; F Conway (0-1), N Kelly (0-1), K Flynn (0-2); P Brophy (0-1), D Flynn (1-0), D Slattery.
Subs: B McCormack (0-1) for Slattery (45); J Byrne for K Cribbin (47); P Cribbin for Brophy (52); F Dowling (0-1) for Moolick (54); C Healy for Conway (56); J Hyland for for K Flynn (59).
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).