Kerry 3-11 Mayo 0-10
Beaten Munster finalists Kerry produced a strong second half performance against Connacht champions Mayo at St Brendan’s Park in Birr on Saturday afternoon to book a place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies senior football championship for the second successive year.
Just a point separated the two teams when the met in last year’s qualifiers but Kerry emerged victorious with ten points to spare on this occasion.
Mayo had a seven-point haul from Cora Staunton but the Westerners, who trailed by 0-6 to 1-6 at half-time, managed just a single point from play in the second half, scored by substitute Amy Bell.
Kerry, impressive winners against last year’s All-Ireland intermediate champions Donegal last weekend, were in good form again with Deirdre Corridan, a late call up in place of Maria Quirke, catching the eye with a haul of 1-2 crowning a hard-working display.
But it was Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh’s goal in the 22nd minute that put some breathing space between the teams in the opening half, helping Kerry to lead by three points at the break.
Ní Mhuircheartaigh collected a pass from Louise Galvin and slotted a low shot past Yvonne Byrne for the first of three Kingdom goals.
Five minutes after half-time, Lorraine Scanlon was credited with Kerry’s second goal as she got the faintest of touches to divert fellow midfielder and team captain Bernie Breen’s accurate delivery past Byrne.
And in the 46th minute, Corridan made the game safe for Kerry with her side’s third goal and again, it was a flowing move from William O’Sullivan’s team that cut through Mayo.
Sarah Houlihan finished with a 0-5 haul for Kerry but overall, this was an impressive team display and even wing back Denise Hallissey got in on the act, bombing forward for two points from play.
Mayo struggled desperately for scores and to break down a resolute Kerry defence, with Jason Taniane’s team registering just six points from play.
It’s been a disappointing season for Mayo, who despite winning the Connacht championship, were also relegated from Division 1 of the Bord Gáis Energy National Football League before bowing out of the championship in tame fashion.
Scorers for Mayo: C Staunton 0-7 (4f), A Gilroy, C Hegarty & A Bell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: D Corridan 1-2, S Houlihan 0-5 (2f), L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-1, L Scanlon 1-0, D Hallissey 0-2, P Dennehy 0-1.
MAYO: Y Byrne; L Ryder, C Hanahoe, D McDonagh; N Hurst, M Carter, N Tierney; C Egan, F McHale; S Cafferky, A Gilroy, K Sullivan; C Hegarty, C Staunton, L Cafferky.
Subs: C McManaman for S Cafferky (45), A Bell for McDonagh (45), A Roddy for Hegarty (60), G Kelly for Gilroy (60+1).
KERRY: E Murphy, C Kelly, A Leonard, A Lyons; D Hallissey, A Desmond, S.J. Joy; L Scanlon, B Breen; D Corridan, M O’Donoghue, L Galvin; S Houlihan, P Dennehy, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.
Subs: S Corkery for Ní Mhuircheartaigh (49), L Cronin for Dennehy (49), M O’Connell for Scanlon (56), M Quirke for Galvin (58), C Reen for O’Donoghue (60+1).
Referee: P Kehoe (Carlow).