Operating at centre forward the Dingle man accounted for 1-5 of his side’s tally as Kerry advanced to the final with plenty to spare.
Mayo opted to play with the strong wind which blew straight down the field in the first half but failed to capitalise.
Kerry laid the foundations for their victory in that opening moiety. Rock solid in defence where Don Murphy, Stephen O’Sullivan and Kieran Scanlon were superb, the excellent high fielding of Padraig Somers provided their forwards with a plentiful supply of ball.
Unfortunately Kerry failed to translate their outfield superiority into scores, shooting eight wides in the opening half. The sides were level three times in that period before Paul Kennedy edged the Munster champions in front just before half time, and it might have been greater but for a magnificent save by Mayo ‘keeper Norman O’Brien from Kieran Foley in the 22nd minute.
With the elements in the favour in the second half Kerry were expected to have matters their own way and all was going according to plan after Austin Constable stretched their lead with two quick points.
However, Mayo, like Kerry in the first half, found it easier to play against the wind and with Brendan Prendergast and Billie Joe Padden exerting pressure, the Westerners had the deficit down to the minimum by the end of the third quarter, before the game finally fell apart on them.
Kerry were reduced to 14 players after Paul Kennedy was sent off for a second bookable offence, and seconds later they won a penalty which Jack Ferriter shot low into the corner of the net, and with Mayo unable to avail of their advantage, Kerry tacked on four points, two of them magnificent efforts by Ferriter to set up a novel final against Wicklow.
Scorers Kerry: J. Ferriter 1-5 (1-2 frees); A. Constable, K. Foley (0-1 free) 0-2 each; B. Scanlon, P. Kennedy 0-1 each. Mayo: G. Brady 0-3 (0-12 free); J. Mitchell 0-2 (Frees); P. Kelly, B. Lynch 0-1 each.
KERRY: K. Cremin; D. McNamara, S. O’Sullivan, D. Murphy; B. Fitzgerald, K. Scanlon, S. Flynn; P. Somers, E. O’Donoghue; A. Constable, J. Ferriter, M. Cooper; B. Scanlon, P. Kennedy, K. Foley. Subs. N. Sheehy for Somers; R. O’Donovan for Constable; J. Shanahan for Foley.
MAYO: N. O’Brien; A. Costello, A. Dunne, R. Walsh; P. Kelly, B. Prendergast, PJ Foy; N. Ryan, R. Hannick; K. Gallagher, WJ Padden, G. Brady; B. Lynch, J. Mitchell, D. Feehan; Subs. J. Gillespie for Hannick; S. Drake for Foy; P. Doherty for Dunne; D. Costello for Gallagher.
Referee, D. Goldrick (Meath).