All-Ireland senior football championship

May 2-15

Kildare 0-5

Mayo had 16 points to spare over Kildare in the LGFA Senior Championship match in Ballina on Saturday.
Even the battle between team managers and Ballina residents Diane O’Hora and Liam McHale on the sidelines evaporated the moment Mayo took the lead in a match that was effectively over at half-time.

The difference between a nine-point loss to All-Ireland senior champions Dublin and a 16-point win over All-Ireland Intermediate champions Kildare is difficult to compare.

Mayo had seven different players on the scoresheet as they completed a comprehensive victory over the visitors.

As a collective, Mayo have proven that you can play your own game and stop the other team playing at the same time.

A combination of crazy giveaways and stout Mayo defense saw almost all of Kildare’s attacks fail in the first half, where an early skyscraper from Aoife Rattigan was their only score.

It was only by the grace of God that Kildare did not send a goal to a home side who ran at them en masse and led 0-8 and 0-1 after 28 minutes. It certainly wasn’t through good defending or hard tackling.

“Where’s the bite?” Diane O’Hora asked her players at one point.

Mayo pushed through to a seemingly inevitable goal that started when Sinéad Walsh received a pass from the opposition before kicking a clever ball into Maria Cannon. The Burrishoole woman was offloaded to Lisa Cafferky, who still had some work to do but still found the net.

Two free balls from the deadly accurate Cannon left the score at 1-10 and 0-1 at half time and left Kildare all but defeated.
Either through complacency from Mayo, or a change of tactics from the Lilywhites, Kildare’s fortunes improved in the third quarter.

Without some excellent saves from Laura Brennan, Mayo would certainly have leaked a goal.

Ultimately, Kildare’s only consecutive scores in the entire match were a trio of points from Aoife Rattigan (2) and Neasa Dooley between the third and fourth quarters.

Had they been a little more ruthless, Mayo could have added another goal.

Westport player Aoife Staunton was excellent in Mayo’s forward line, working himself to a standstill and combining different moves.
To their credit, both teams gave the few hundred spectators value for money and the opportunities kept coming quickly.
Nothing got past Laura Brennan, apart from a huge Neasa Dooley clear from beyond 45.

Mayo still had unfinished business in the final minute, with Staunton setting up fellow sub Sinéad Cafferky for a well-taken goal.

Kildare now face an almost impossible task against Dublin in their final group match at Manguard Park this weekend, while Mayo can now look forward to another All-Ireland quarter-final – most likely away – in the first week of July.

MAYO: L Brennan; S Lally, N O’Malley, K Sullivan; E Ronayne, C Durkan (0-1), D Caldwell; A Geraghty, E Murray; F McLaughlin (0-2), A Gough (0-3), F McHale; S Walsh (0-2), M Kanon (0-6, 5f), L Cafferky (1-1). Subs: A Staunton for McHale (37), S Cafferky (1-0) for L Cafferky (53), M Sheridan for Gough (55), C Henry for Sullivan (55).

KILDARE: A Dunlea; F Troute, A Clifford, A Reynolds; L Gilbert, R Sargent, L Murtagh; G Clifford, C Sulivan; T Duggan, N Dooley (0-2, 1f), L Doran; E Dowling, A Rattigan (0-1), R Byrne (0-2, 1f) Subs: E O’Toole for G Clifford (ht), N Farrelly for Sullivan (ht), L Shaw for Doran (ht), H Tyrrell for Rattigan (37), Z Brierty for Duggan (39).

REFEREE: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)