They easily accounted for Kildare in the second of the semi-final at Pearse Stadium Galway yesterday.
There was never any doubt about the outcome as a lively Mayo side were always on top in a disappointing game. That won’t worry John Maughan and his men. They are in another All-Ireland final.
Defensively Mayo were excellent with goalkeeper Fintan Ruddy, full back Pat Navin and centre back Liam O’Malley in brilliant form. The dominance of midfielders Ronan McNamara and Barry Moran ensured a plentiful supply of ball to the forwards.
Kildare were very disappointing and showed the disadvantage of not having played a competitive match in 18 weeks. Their main problem lay in defence where they could never come to grips with the Mayo forwards, while in attack, only James Kavanagh posed a threat. He finished the game as Kildare’s top scorer with a goal and four points, but he lacked any really assistance.
There was little to choose between the sides in the opening quarter during which they were level twice. Mayo made the better start with a Damian Munnelly point after three minutes but the Connacht champions were rocked with a James Kavanagh goal in the fifth minute, but the Leinster champions failed to build on that score and Mayo took complete control.
The incessant pressure on the Kildare defence told when the Alan Costelloe rattled the net from close range. The Mayo attack found it far easier to score than their Kildare counterparts, and with Alan Costelloe, Paul Doherty and Michael scoring at ease, the westerners let 1-8 to 1-3 at half time.
But Mayo couldn’t quite put Kildare away and when James Kavanagh reduced the deficit early in the second half with a point, they were still in with a shout. However, Mayo always had the ability to step up a gear and in five minutes, knocked over four points.
Kildare went 10 minutes without a score after corner back Mark Hogarty came for a point, but they never threatened a second goal that might have made all the difference, and it was left to James Kavanagh to complete their scoring with a point, five minutes from time.
In between, Mayo failed to add to their tally which will be a worry for John Maughan ahead of the final. However if the senior title is won, expect an enormous effort from this highly-talented U21 side to make it a notable double.
: Mayo: A. Costelloe 1-3; D. Munnelly 0-4 (0-2 frees); M. Conroy 0-3; B. Moran, N. Lydon, A. Kilcoyne 0-1 each. Kildare: J. Kavanagh 1-4 (0-1 free); D. Flynn, D. McCormack, M. Hogarty 0-1 each.
: F. Ruddy; D. Geraghty, P. Navin, T. Howley; M. Carey, L. O’Malley, R. Feeney; R. McNamara, B. Moran; A. Moran, N. Lydon, P. Doherty; A. Costelloe, D. Munnelly, M. Conroy. Subs. P. Lydon for Feeney; A. Kilcoyne for Doherty; C. Barrett for N. Lydon; R. Casey for Munnelly.
: J. Kindregan; M. Hegarty, P. McCabe, A. McLoughlin; M. Dowling, M. Foley, J. Lonergan; W. Heffernan, D. Flynn; D. McCormack, J. Kavanagh, H. Lynch; R. Glavin, M. Cocoman, Subs. E. McCormack for O’Neill; S. Darcy for Heffernan; T. O’Neill for Cocoman; B. Flanagan for Dowling.
: J. White (Donegal).