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Kick-Outs, O'Shea, & Shackling Clifford: How Mayo Excelled In Killarney

Kick-Outs, O'Shea, & Shackling Clifford: How Mayo Excelled In Killarney
Matt Hurley
By Matt Hurley
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It is an ideal start for Mayo in the All Ireland SFC group phase after they beat Kerry 1-19 to 0-17 in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.

A first championship defeat in Killarney for the All Ireland champions since 1995 and Mayo absolutely deserved the win.

The main aspects to their success were their kick passing, use of Aidan O'Shea, kick-outs and ultimately their chance creation.

Kevin McStay's side had three goal chances in the first half alone, through James Carr (2) and Diarmuid O'Connor, all foiled by the excellent Shane Ryan in the Kerry goal.

All those chances were created using accurate kick passing, including O'Connor's chance which came after a Ryan O'Donoghue mark. That was in the first two minutes of proceedings, setting the tone.

Eoghan McLaughlin did eventually hit the net after Ryan made four saves. What the substitute did differently to his teammates though was smart finishing.

While O'Connor and Carr tried to blast the ball home, those shots were at a great height for Ryan to save whereas with McLaughlin, the shot was placed low and right in the bottom corner, out of the Kerry keeper's reach.


Mayo were good in a chance creation sense but if they're going to go all the way, they need to practice more on taking their goal chances, remember a few weeks back, Stephen Coen hit the crossbar against Roscommon, a game that ended in a loss.

Never the less, a 60% shot accuracy is a decent return and one of the reasons they won the match.

Kerry were uncharacteristically open though, a worrying sign for Jack O'Connor.


They conceded 33 chances in this game, compare that to the All Ireland final against Galway which was 25 and it is clear they have regressed in that department.




As expected, Jason Foley went on Aidan O'Shea but struggled badly on Saturday. Dylan Casey went on Ryan O'Donoghue but was hauled off at half time after the Mayo man scored 0-4, 0-3 from play.

At the beginning of the match, as David McBrien went on David Clifford and Donnacha McHugh went on Sean O'Shea, most would have thought that Mayo would struggle.

By the game's conclusion, it proved to be the other way round.




Clifford may have hit 0-8 but McBrien gave the Fossa man a hard time in getting close to goal, most of the shots taken from tough situations.

Almost 50% of Kerry's scores from play came from Clifford, possibly a further sign of the Kingdom's overreliance on him.

In fact, Kerry's shot conversion rate from play was at 45%, it was at 58% against Clare in the Munster final.

On a pleasantly good day for football, that stat could be seen as worrying in the weeks ahead. Take for example Derry against Monaghan in the Ulster championship, their conversion rate from play was 76%.

Clifford may be excelling right now, as usual, but others need to step up around him if they are to have any chance of retaining the Sam Maguire.

The Mayo kick-outs was another angle that won them them the game. They won 84% of them with both Mattie Ruane and Diarmuid O'Connor getting the better of the Kerry midfield.

For their long kick-outs, they won 9 out of 13 and two of those lost were late on when the game was gone. It was a high field that led to the McLoughlin goal too, this time from O'Shea.

Mayo Kickout locations v Kerry

Not only were Mayo happy to fetch a great catch but their drive for goal multiple times on Saturday was a sight to behold.

It could be a way of playing which delivers them an All Ireland title, at long last. Their league showings and their performance on Saturday will give hope to the Mayo fans.

McStay is getting this team to motor and the rest of Ireland will take note of this performance.

SEE ALSO: McGinley Says Donegal Man Should Have Seen Red For 'Savage Hit'

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