Mayo leave Croke Park with plenty of questions to be answered after Kerry saw them off at their ease in the National League Football Final.
Mayo were already under pressure in their defence before the game, but the loss of Oisin Mullin from the starting 15 before thrown in was a blow that further dented their chances against a Kerry side that were moving almost at full championship tilt.
From the moment the Gavin White hit the back for the Mayo met 25 minutes in the Kingdom were in complete control of this game, with David Clifford’s goal four minutes form the end of normal time the coup de grâce on a towering performance from the Fossa man.
One positive for Mayo was that Cillian O’Connor got some game time into his legs for the first time since last year, but by the time he was introduced the game was already done and dusted as Kerry eased their way home in front of 30,000 people in Croke Park
Kerry kept Mayo at arms length throughout the second half, with Clifford, Geaney and Adrian Spilliane all impressing and Jason Foley’ goal deep in injury time stretching the gap at the end out to 15 points.
Kerry led by six at the break on a score of 1-10 to 0-7 and it could have been more had they taken more of the guilt edged goal chances they created.
Gavin White was the man who got their goal in the first half, charging down the Cusack Stand side of the field, laying the ball off to Paul Geaney and chasing after it to fist home after Geaney’s shot had been saved by Rory Byrne - that score put six between he sides for the first time.
Mayo had stuck with Kerry early doors, but David Clifford was able to help himself to four first half points as Mayo struggled to keep pace with Kerry. James Carr was one of the bright lights for Mayo kicking two scores, but they were second best on the field in too many areas in the opening 35 minutes.
For Mayo the attention now moves to Galway in the Connacht Senior football championship in three weeks time, between now and then they have plenty of work to do - but having done the heavy lifting in the league before round five James Horan will be hoping that his missing defenders and the likes of Diarmuid O’Connor will be ready for when championship rolls in around in the very near future.
Kerry: David Clifford (1-6, 1f ), Paul Geaney (0-5, 1f ), Gavin White (1-0 ), Jason Foley (1-0 ), Adrian Spillane (0-2 ), Paudie Clifford (0-2, 1 45 ), Stephen O’Brien (0-1 ), Jack Barry (0-1 ), Dara Moynihan (0-1 ), Shane Ryan (0-1, 1f )
Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue (0-5, 4f ), James Carr (0-2 ), Michael Plunkett (0-2 ), Jordan Flynn (0-1 ), Matthew Ruane (0-1 ), Conor Loftus (0-1 ), Cillian O’Connor (0-1, 1f )
Mayo: Rory Byrne; Lee Keegan, Stephen Coen, Padraig O’Hora; Michael Plunkett, Oisin Mullin, Enda Hession; Jordan Flynn, Matthew Ruane; Conor Loftus, Aidan O’Shea, Jack Carney; James Carr, Jason Doherty, Ryan O’Donoghue. Subs: Kevin McLoughlin, Conor O’Shea, Aiden Orme, Cillian O’Connor, Darren McHale.
Kerry: Shane Ryan, Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan; Gavin White, Tahdg Morley, Brian O’Beaglaoich; Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Barry; Dara Moynihan, Paduie Clifford, Adrian Spillane; Stephen O’Brien, David Clifford, Paul Geaney. Subs: Gavin Crowley, Micheál Burns, Joe O’Connor, Jack Savage
Ref: Noel Mooney (Cavan )