The Mayo junior adventure came to an end in Croke Park on Saturday afternoon, when a far classier Kerry side put them to the sword without much fuss to claim the All Ireland junior crown.
Apart from a brief four minute spell at the end of the first half when Mayo kicked four unanswered points they never really troubled the men from the Kingdom.
The eventual winners were six points to the good as early as the 12th minute with the likes of Conor Cox, Brian Crowley , Alan O’Donoghue and Thomas Hickey running riot in the Kerry attack. Mayo could have been further behind only for a great save by Blake Forkan five minutes in when he had to be on top of his game to stop a close range effort from Thomas Hickey.
Mayo brought on Killala attacker Andrew Farrell after eight minutes as they tried to get some momentum going in their forward unit and the north Mayo man put in an impressive shift for the vanquished side. Damien McGing got Mayo’s first score of the day with a well taken effort 17 minutes in and less than a minute later, Farrell got in for a sniff of a gaol chance by his effort was saved well by Shane Murphy in the Kerry goal. Hickey and O’Donoghue kicked a point each in response for Kerry as they tried to stamp out any ideas Mayo had of making a comeback. Farrell kicked the first of his tally of points for the day seven minutes before the break to leave the score 0-8 to 0-2 in favour of the eventual victors. With four minutes to go in normal time in the half, Hickey found the back of the net for the first goal of the game after he was set up by smart play involving Conor Cox and O’Donoghue.
That goal kicked some life into Mayo and they rallied strongly before the end of the half with Farrell kicking three excellent points and Eoin O’Donoghue getting one more for Mayo to send them in trailing by 0-6 to 1-9 at the turn around.
Mayo needed to get off to a great start in the second half if they were to have any chance, but they just couldn’t get going as they’d have liked. Alan O’Donoghue kicked the first score of the half for Kerry to settle any nerves they may have had of Mayo staging a comeback. Darren McHugh had a goal chance for Mayo not long after, but his powerful effort was struck directly at the Kerry keeper.
Seven minutes into the half Hickey put the contest beyond any flickering doubt with a sublime finish for his second goal, when he applied a deft finish to put the ball over Forkan’s head to put Kerry not a 2-11 to 0-6 lead. From then on it it was all about counting down the clock as Kerry eased off the gas as Mayo knew their race was run. It was a disappointing end for the Mayo juniors in Croke Park, but they will have no complaints about how the game ended up, as Kerry were just a far superior outfit on the day.
Mayo: Andrew Farrell 0-5 (0-2f ), Michael Togher 0-2, Damien McGing 0-1, Eoin O'Donoghue 0-1, Declan Healy 0-1
Kerry: Thomas Hickey 2-4 (0-1f ), Alan O'Donoghue 0-4, Conor Cox 0-2 (0-2f ), Brian Crowley 0-2, Killian Spillane 0-1, Philip O'Connor 0-1, James Walsh 0-1, Jeff O'Donoghue 0-1, Shane Murphy 0-1 (0-1 45 ), Tadhg Morley 0-1
Mayo: Blake Forkan; Barry Leonard, Darren McHugh, Pat Barrett; Eoin O'Donoghue, Brendan Moran, Eoghan Collins; Peter Collins, Padraic Feerick; Darren Durcan, Cathal Freeman, Gavin Conway; Damien McGing, John Hutton, Ronan Malee. Subs: Andrew Farrell for Malee (8 ), Sean Gaughan for Leonard (24 ), Mickey Barrett for Gaughan (28, black card ), Micheal Forde for Durcan (h/t ), Declan Healy for Moran (48 ), Michael Togher for Collins (50 ).
Kerry: Shane Murphy; David Culhane, Jack McGuire, Dan O'Donoghue; Tadhg Morley, James Walsh, Gavin Crowley; Brendan O'Sullivan, Liam Kearney; Philip O'Connor, Brian Crowley, Killian Spillane; Thomas Hickey, Conor Cox, Alan O'Donoghue. Subs: Brian Sugrue for McGuire (h/t ), Jeff O'Donoghue for Cox (35 ), Gary O'Sullivan for Spillane (39 ), Michael Brennan for O'Sullivan (42, black card ), Eamonn Kiely for Kearney (49 ), David Griffin for B Crowley (53 ).
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan ).