Photo: Sportsfile/Ray McManus via Twitter
Well, it turned out those 1/7 pre-match odds on Kerry were pretty much on the money. Our lads were never in the hunt in this afternoon’s Croke Park curtain-raiser, losing their All-Ireland JFC final by a 14-point margin on a scoreline of 2-18 to 0-10.
By the looks of it, the writing was on the wall early on in this one. Kerry opened up with six unanswered points in the first ten minutes and another eight minutes passed before we finally opened our account, via a point from play by Damien McGing.
Andrew Farrell had already been sprung from the bench at this stage and he had a good goal chance saved. Had this gone in, it might have hauled us back into it but instead Kerry stretched their lead to seven points.
Our cause was rendered all but hopeless before the break when Kerry goaled to go ten clear. This score was, however, followed by our most fruitful period of the game as four points on the spin cut the deficit to six, 1-9 to 0-6, at the break.
That was as good as it got for us, I’m afraid. On the resumption, it was Kerry who upped the tempo and with 20 minutes to go their lead had lengthened to a yawning 2-13 to 0-6. They added five more to our two before the end, to close out an emphatic 14-point win.
Hard luck to the lads – as so many other Mayo teams before them know so well, losing an All-Ireland final on the GAA’s hallowed turf isn’t easy and I’m sure Sean McLoughlin’s charges feel this as strongly as those other teams have done in the past. They can take solace in having got this far and I’m sure the experience of running out onto the Croke Park turf to the roars of the Mayo faithful is one they’ll treasure. As for the rest, it just wasn’t their day.
On a happier note, our U21 hurlers struck first blood for the county against Donegal this afternoon when, up in Letterkenny, they beat the home team by 1-14 to 1-6 in their U21B All-Ireland quarter-final tie. Here’s hoping that’s the first of two victories over them that we’ll be toasting later on this evening.