Masterful Kerry lay down marke...
Football

Masterful Kerry lay down marker

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

06:58 14 Jul 2019

Kerry laid down a marker in their opening Super 8s game of the year by beating Mayo by 10 points. The Kingdom produced a masterclass in Fitzgerald Stadium this afternoon, showing they clearly do not intend this year's journey to follow the same script as last year. 

It was billed as the biggest and most interesting game of the weekend. Too close for anyone to call; it wouldn't have been a shock to see either of these win but what unfolded was a surprise.

Mayo were flat and never got going, the only positive of their day was Cillian O'Connor surpassing Colm Cooper's all-time Championship scoring record.

Kerry were unlikely to ever be able to stop this happening but they certainly took control of what they could and eventually won on a scoreline of 1-22 to 15 points.

They bossed the game from start to finish. David Moran gave a sublime performance in midfield, particularly cleaning up on kick-outs.

Kerry's forwards reminded people why they're considered the aristocrats of the game. Their full-forward line scored 1-9 between them and if it wasn't for two great saves from David Clarke this could have been an annihilation altogether.

Peter Keane's side sit top of their group on goal difference and any doubts people had about them after a lacklustre Munster final will have faded away.

As Kerry as it gets though Keane played down any hype at full-time saying, "We're reasonably happy we got out of it...do you want me to say I'm jumping out of my skin? It was a game we wanted to win and we're happy with how we played."

They face Donegal in Croke Park next weekend where one of the two sides will take top spot in the group after the Ulster Champions beat Meath 2-19 to 1-13 in Ballybofey.

Donegal Manager Declan Bonner didn't allow himself to get carried away either with their win "There's room for improvement, you're always looking for improvement, we were 5 up, Meath came back at us and went a point up. I thought we showed real character to come out on top."

On their showdown with the Kingdom, he also stayed cool "We'll get ready for that like every other match, we'll prepare, we'll analyse the opposition, see where we can improve and take that to Dublin next weekend."

Kerry and Donegal meet in Croke Park at 4pm next Sunday while Mayo will need a win over Meath at 2pm to realistically keep their long-running All-Ireland dream alive.

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