by MICHAEL GALLAGHER
The old adage that goals win games proved to be true at the Connacht Centre of Excellence when three second-half strikes powered Kerry to their second win in succession in Division 1 of the Lidl NFL.
Goals from Síofra O’Shea, Lorraine Scanlon and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh got Kerry over the line despite a powerful Mayo revival.
Amazingly, the goals were the only Kerry scores in a second half where Mayo dominated.
The Munster women were the better team for long periods the first half but only took a one-point lead to the break, 0-5 to 0-4, after a Mayo resurgence before half time.
The Kerry forwards looked much more potent from play with Hannah O’Donoghue and Siofra O’Shea to the fore, but the home defenders were ferocious.
Lisa Cafferky was the shining light in the Mayo attack, but the home side failed to score form play in the opening half, relying on Maria Cannon and Shauna Howley for pointed frees.
Kerry might have had a goal in the opening minute, but Erica McGlynn’s shot was saved brilliantly by Mayo netminder Laura Brennan as Kerry began the game impressively.
Midfielder Niamh Carmody was busy early on for the guests, however, Mayo powered back into it with Clodagh McManamon, Roisin Flynn and Danielle Caldwell to the fore.
The Kerry goals in the third quarter looked to have sealed victory and they looked comfortable before Mayo introduced substitute Sinead Walsh and the momentum changed completely.
The home side powered forward and with Tara Needham, Walsh and Rachel Kearns prominent the gap closed significantly. However, late Mayo, misses and Kerry resilience secured the Munster women’s second win in a row and Mayo’s second defeat.
Scorers – Kerry: S O’Shea 1-1, L Scanlon and L Ní Mhuircheartaigh 1-0 each, A O’Connell, N Ní Chonchuir, H O’Donoghue and E McGlynn 0-1 each.
Mayo: S Howley 0-5f, M Cannon 0-4f, S Walsh 0-3, R Kearns 0-1.
KERRY: M.E. Bolger; C O’Brien, E Lynch, C Murphy; A O’Connell, E Costello, N Broderick; L Scanlon, N Carmody; C Evans, S O’Shea, N Ni Chonchúir; H O’Donoghue, E McGlynn, C Lynch.
Subs: K Cronin for Broderick, A Galvin for McGlynn, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh for Ní Chonchúir, F Tagney for Evans, M O’Connell for Carmody, L Galvin for Costello, R Dwyer for O’Shea.
MAYO: L Brennan; E Ronayne, R Flynn, D Caldwell; L Wallace, S Tierney, K Sullivan; C McManamon, S Cafferky; H Reape, S Howley, T Needham; L Cafferky, R Kearns, M Cannon.
Subs: S Walsh for Reape, C Needham for Sullivan, E Murray for T Needham, F McHale for Kearns.
Referee – Siobhan Coyle.