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Kerry book Dublin date with eight-point victory over Mayo

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Adam Moynihan reports from Croke Park

All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final

Kerry 1-18 Mayo 0-13

HT: Kerry 1-7 Mayo 0-9

He wasn’t going to play at all according to the pre-match rumours but a beautiful first-half goal by David Clifford helped Kerry to a surprisingly comfortable victory over Mayo this evening.

Although he limped through much of the game, Kerry’s No. 14 burst into life in the 28th minute to fire his side into a two-point lead.

It wasn’t all plain-sailing thereafter - The Kingdom struggled to push on, even when Aidan O’Shea was black-carded moments later - but they did ultimately pull away in the second half thanks in no small part to another assured defensive performance.

Next up: a date with Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final in two weeks’ time.

STRANGE

The so-called curtain-raiser was a hard act to follow and the first half of this game was accompanied by a strange atmosphere; it was as though the crowd were as drained by the opening match as the Armagh and Galway players must have been following their penalty shootout drama.

The second match was delayed by a full hour, which surely didn’t help Kerry and Mayo in their preparations.

Kerry star Clifford was rumoured to be struggling with an injury right up until throw-in but he did take to the field, although he required treatment almost immediately when he went over on his ankle in front of the Canal End. Nevertheless, he registered Kerry’s first score of the day, a free to cancel out Cillian O’Connor’s opener.

Gavin White gave Kerry the lead with a neat finish in the third minute but then two well-taken scores by Conor Loftus and Aidan O’Shea edged Mayo in front.

Paul Geaney missed a great goal chance in the 11th minute before Kerry re-established their lead via Tom O’Sullivan and another Clifford free.

Seán O’Shea and Geaney took Kerry’s total to 0-6 but points at the other end by O’Connor, Rob Hennelly, Jack Carney and Stephen Coen had Mayo ahead with seven minutes left in the period.

Then Clifford struck for goal after being set up by Stephen O’Brien, and when O’Shea was sent to the bin the signs were ominous for Mayo.

James Horan’s men managed the binning well, however, and scores by O’Connor and Kevin McLoughin – either side of a fine effort by David Moran – made it a one-point game at the break.

RUN

The opening stages of the second were nip and tuck with neither team really grabbing the match by the scruff of the neck but a run of seven straight points between the 51st and 67th minutes sealed the result. Moran (who rather unexpectedly – and very encouragingly - played the full 70 minutes), Tom O’Sullivan, Geaney (three), Killian Spillane and Seán O’Shea all found the target during this period.

Kerry now have two weeks to prepare for the challenge of Dublin. Speaking post-game, Jack O'Connor said he reckons David Clifford will be sore tomorrow. One suspects that his best player will be wrapped up in cotton wool for the next few days at least.

KERRY: S Ryan; G O’Sullivan (0-1), J Foley, T O'Sullivan (0-3); B Ó Beaglaoich, G White (0-1), T Morley; D O’Connor, D Moran (0-2); D Moynihan, Seán O’Shea (0-3, 1f), S O’Brien; P Clifford, D Clifford (1-3, 1m), P Geaney (0-4, 1m).

Subs: K Spillane for Moynihan (48), P Murphy for Ó Beaglaoich (58), M Burns for O’Brien (59), J O’Connor for D O’Connor (65), T Brosnan for Clifford (67), G Crowley for Foley (73 temp).

MAYO: R Hennelly (0-1f); L Keegan, O Mullin, E Hession; P Durcan, S Coen (0-1), E McLaughlin; A O’Shea (0-1), M Ruane (0-1); J Flynn (0-2), D O’Connor, C Loftus (0-1); K McLoughlin (0-1), J Carney (0-1), C O’Connor (0-3, 1f).

Subs: J Carr (0-1) for Carney (HT), F Boland for Loftus (52), A Orme for McLaughlin (58), P O’Hora for O’Shea (64), P Towey for Orme (73).

Attendance: 71,353

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Kerry ladies must bounce back at home to Waterford

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All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2

Kerry v Waterford

Saturday 3pm

Fitzgerald Stadium

The Kerry ladies will be looking to get back to winning ways against Waterford on Saturday following last weekend’s frustrating draw against Donegal in Ballybofey.

The Kingdom led with seconds remaining in treacherous conditions but a late Donegal free snatched a draw for the home side (Donegal 1-6 Kerry 0-9). It was a game that Kerry would have been expecting to win and the result puts a lot more pressure on them this weekend as they try to top the three-team group and earn a home quarter-final.

If they beat Waterford and Donegal do likewise next week, Kerry and Donegal will be level in first place on four points each. The top seed will then be decided by the head-to-head record between the teams. As Kerry v Donegal was a draw, the deciding factor will be whoever scored the most points in that draw. That would be good news for Kerry as they scored nine points to Donegal’s six.

When Kerry and Waterford last met (in this year’s Munster Championship), Kerry needed a late winner by Fiadhna Tangney to prevail by narrowest of margins (1-8 to 1-7). If Waterford beat Kerry and then lose to Donegal, Kerry would be eliminated from the championship.

The Kerry squad has been boosted by the return of Síofra O’Shea who came off the bench against Donegal following a lengthy period out with a knee injury.

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US-bound Kerry runner Lynch hopes to emulate Mageean magic

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by Adam Moynihan

Killarney middle distance runner Oisín Lynch is taking inspiration from newly crowned European 1500m champion Ciara Mageean as he gets set for the next stage of his career in the United States.

This week Lynch confirmed that he will be heading Stateside after accepting a scholarship at Adams State University in Colorado. The promising 800m and 1500m competitor caught the eye of coaches at the leading American college after representing Ireland in the Youth Olympics and also by winning two national titles in recent months.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, the 18-year-old Killarney Valley AC athlete, who is currently doing his Leaving Cert at St Brendan’s College, says he one day hopes to emulate Mageean’s heroics on the international stage.

“The Irish are on the up at underage and at senior level,” Lynch notes. “We have been improving a lot in recent years. When you see Ciara Mageean winning the 1500m it just shows that it can be done by Irish people.

“Sometimes Irish athletes don’t really believe in themselves when they’re getting knocked out of championships by English or European athletes. Mageean winning that European title is definitely something to drive me on. It shows that I can actually do it.”

DREAM

For Lynch, moving to the United States is a hugely significant step, and one that he has dreamed about making since he was a child.

“It’s unbelievable. I always hoped I could earn a scholarship. I worked hard over the last few years, so it’s nice to see that work paying off.

“I had a few schools onto me but when Adams State got in touch, I sized it up and I knew it was a really good opportunity.

“The fact that the college is at 7,500 feet… That’s a crazy altitude. It’s double the height of Carrauntoohil. Altitude training has massive benefits for distance running and nowadays nearly every pro spends most of their year training at altitude. The chance to get that training for the next couple of years is great.

“And their athletics programme is unbelievable. Coach Damon Martin has been there for 40 years and he has coached 12 Olympians. Adams State is in the top 15 for distance in the country and the standard out there in America is very high.”

STRIDES

Killarney Valley AC have made enormous strides since building their new, state-of-the-art facility in 2020 and Lynch is a grateful beneficiary of that progress.

“I can’t thank the club enough. Going back a couple of years we were training on grass in parks. When you want to be a track runner, it’s just not the same. After a lot of hard work by a lot of good people, we managed to get a 200-metre track in Killarney. That’s massive for us and it’s all we need for training.

“The coaches down there are putting in the hard work, including my dad (Con), Tomás Griffin, Jean Courtney, Jerry Griffin, Bríd Stack, Alan Delaney… I could go on. It’s a great club and there are some good athletes coming through. It’s an exciting time for Killarney Valley.”

After Lynch completes his Leaving Cert, he will start preparing for life as a college athlete. He will study kinesiology in Colorado and on the track he hopes to keep on moving in the right direction. That means getting his times down (his current PBs are 1.50.59 over 800m and 3.51 over 1500m), representing Ireland, and hopefully winning a national title in America.

“Obviously I’ll take every step as it comes,” the ambitious Kerryman says, “but the Olympics is the main long-term target, hopefully in LA in 2028.”

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