Kerry have retained their Allianz Football League title.
In the final at Croke Park they overcame Mayo 3-19 to 0-13.
The game started off as predicted pre match with both sides registering similar scores in the opening exchanges. Points from David Clifford and Stephen O Brien were cancelled out inside the first 6 minutes. David Clifford did have a goal chance which forced a great save from the Mayo keeper.
Kerry stretched their legs and after 16 minutes, the Kingdom opened a 5 point to 2 lead, with Kerry scores coming from Adrian Spillane and one each for both Clifford brothers David and Paudie.
A Mayo point was cancelled out by a Paul Geaney point, the Dingle man the 5th Kerry forward to get on the score sheet inside 18 minutes. A Jack Barry well worked score restored Kerry’s 3 point lead, 7 points to 4 before a brilliant Kerry goal on the24th minute from Gavin White gave Kerry a 6 point lead. The Crokes man got on the end of a Paul Geaney toe poke and palmed it into the back of the Mayo net.
A David Clifford free was cancelled out on the half hour mark by a Mayo point to make it 1-8 to 0-5 in favour of Kerry. Rory Byrne made another fantastic save, this time from Paudie Clifford. The Fossa man split the Kerry defence before Byrne got a leg to Clifford’s shot to deny Kerry a second goal chance. 2 quick fire points meant Mayo cut the deficit to 4 points on 33 minutes. Another point from David Clifford and a wonderful Shane Ryan effort from the sideline, 45 yards out to ensure Kerry went into the break, 6 points to the good, 1-10 to 0-7.
The second half started in the same vain as the first, with both sides registering point for point. Diarmuid O Connor received a black card for the Kingdom but they led 1-14 to 0-11 on the 50 minute mark, with Kerry’s 4 points in the opening stages coming from Paudie Clifford, Dara Moynihan and 2 from Paul Geaney.
A David Clifford point stretched the lead to 7, before further scores from Adrian Spillane, Paul Geaney and 2 Clifford points were unanswered by the Mayo side, putting Kerry into a 10 point lead, 1-18 to 11.
But if the game wasn’t in any doubt previously, it was on the 65th minute when David Clifford buried Kerry’s second goal of the game into the Hill 16 goal. Another Kerry point from Paul Geaney before a Jason Foley goal put the icing on the cake for Kerry. He latched onto a saved shot by Tony Brosnan and tapped home into an empty net.
So Kerry are the Allianz Football League Champions on a final score of 3-19 to 0-13.
Former Kerry captain Billy O’Shea