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Football: RULE BY KINGDOM; Mayo flop as Kerry prove they are still masters with 34th title Kerry....4-15 Mayo....3-05.

Byline: Jackie Cahill

POOR Mayo were left with nothing but shattered dreams at Croke Park once again as rampant Kerry landed a 34th All-Ireland senior football crown.

In front of 82,289 punters, the Kingdom produced a master-class to capture the Sam Maguire Cup for the second time in three years at the expense of the hapless Westerners.

It was Kerry's third final victory over Mayo in 10 seasons and the tale of woe continues for the eternal bridesmaids of Gaelic football, who have now lost finals in 1989, 1996, 1997, 2004 and 2006.

Two years ago, the winning margin was eight points when the sides met, but this is a much bigger pill for Mayo to swallow.

And the 13-point gap represents the biggest final victory since 1978, when Kerry hammered Dublin 5-11 to 0-9.

This was hard to take for Mayo, who harboured such high hopes of ending a 55-year famine.

But they came up against a ferociously hungry Kerry who were led brilliantly from the back by the evergreen Seamus Moynihan, winning a fourth All-Ireland medal along with Darragh OSe.

Moynihan was aided and abetted by defensive colleague Aidan O'Mahony, Tommy Griffin at midfield, and an attacking unit that clicked as only a Kerry attacking unit can.

And so much for those midweek rumours of strife in the Kerry camp.

On the podium, skipper Declan O'Sullivan and Colm Cooper were very much united as they lifted Sam Maguire together.

And O'Sullivan reserved a special word for Cooper's late father Mike, who died last April aged 61.

O'Sullivan had regained the captaincy from Cooper for the final - with the Gooch's Dr Crokes club-mate Eoin Brosnan losing his place in the side.

But introduced as a half-time substitute for the off-colour Tomas O Se, Brosnan played like a man possessed and chipped in with 1-1. O'Sullivan, Cooper and Kieran Donaghy scored 1-2 each, and in the first half no fewer than eight different Kerry players were on target, all from play.

Kerry goals in the seventh, ninth and 26th minutes opened up a massive 12-point lead.

Mayo responded with a brace of goals just before half-time to leave a six-point half-time deficit, 3-8 to 3-2.

Mayo had made a habit of clawing back from big deficits this summer, but they could never reach those heights again on a day when Ger Brady, Alan Dillon, Conor Mortimer and Ciaran McDonald all under-performed, failing to register a single score the final score of the half, a gutsy score from O'Sullivan, who more than justified his inclusion. from play between them.

At midfield, Ronan McGarrity flopped and Pat Harte was outplayed by Tommy Griffin, who has been a superb foil for a resurgent Footballer of the Year contender Darragh O Se.

This powerful performance was sweet vindication for boss Jack O'Connor, who was pilloried within the county after defeat to Cork in the Munster final replay.

But with Kieran Donaghy leading the revival at full-forward, Kerry saw off Longford, Armagh, Cork and Mayo to reach the Promised Land once again.

You have to feel for Mayo, and the curtain will now finally come down on the intercounty careers of David Brady, James Nallen, Kevin O'Neill and possibly Ciaran McDonald and David Heaney.

Sadly they will retire without that elusive All-Ireland medal.

Mayo's late first half resurgence was merely a false dawn and in the second half they never looked like pulling off another great escape.

They managed just three Conor Mortimer frees in the second half.

The mercurial McDonald suffered most as the game drifted away from Mayo.

The matchwinner against Dublin in a classic semi-final, he kicked three poor wides and was guilty of giving the ball away more than once yesterday.

The first half was surreal stuff, Kerry romping to a 2-4 to 0-0 lead after just 13 minutes.

The first goal came from influential skipper O'Sullivan in the seventh minute, and two minutes later Donaghy escaped the attentions of David Heaney before hammering the ball past David Clarke.

Mayo boss Mickey Moran reacted by hauling off Nallen with David Brady coming in at full-back and Heaney moving to centre.

Brady went on to perform heroically but Mayo had already suffered too much.

Kevin O'Neill's 16th minute goal for Mayo was his side's opening score but Kerry responded with an unanswered 1-2 to lead by a massive 3-6 to 1-0.

Goal number three for Kerry arrived in the 26th minute, Cooper finishing the job second time around after Clarke pushed his initial effort onto the post.

However, Mayo struck for two goals in a minute before half-time, O'Neill providing for Pat Harte in the 34th minute before pouncing from close range soon after when McDonald's long-range effort bounced down off an upright.

Typically, Kerry responded with

And the welter of excitement that greeted the end of the first half . was replaced by a shroud of inevitability after the break.

With McDonald guilty of wasting pos session, Mayo heads dropped and Kerry were nine ahead again with less than 20 minutes remaining.

Mortimer's 54th minute free was Mayo's first score of the second half but after making no further impact, Kerry stretched clear.

Brosnan put the icing on the cake two minutes into injury time when he cheekily chipped the ball over Clarke, who had saved his first effort.

KERRY: D Murphy' M O Se, M McCarthy, T O'Sullivan' T O Se, S Moynihan (0-1), A O'Mahony (0-2)' D O Se, T Griffin' S O'Sullivan (0-1), Declan O'Sullivan (1-2), P Galvin (0-1)' C Cooper (1-2), K Donaghy (1-2), MF Russell (0-2, 1f). SUBS: E Bros nan (1-1) for T O Se (half-time), Darren O'Sullivan for Sean O'Sullivan (52 mins), B Sheehan (0-1f) for Russell (62), E Fitz maurice for Griffin (67), B Guiney for O'Mahony (70).

MAYO: D Clarke' D Geraghty, D Heaney, K Higgins' A Higgins, J Nallen, P Gar diner' R McGarrity, P Harte (1-0)' BJ Padden (0-1), G Brady, A Dillon' K O'Neill (2-0), C Mortimer (0-3f), C McDonald (0-1f). SUBS: D Brady for Nallen (11 mins), T Mortimer for Dillon (47), B Moran for O'Neill (47), A Kilcoyne for Padden (52), A Moran for Gardiner (60). REFEREE: B Crowe (Cavan).

CAPTION(S):

SHOWING HARTE: Tommy Griffin of Kerry tries to stop Mayo's Pat Harte' KERRY HO Pat Harte attempts to halt Kerry's Tommy Griffin yesterday' GRIPPING ENCOUNTER: Tom O''Sullivan holds on to the ball as Alan Dillon challenges' CENTRE OF THE ACTION: Darragh O Se and Ronan McGarrity tussle yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 18, 2006
Words:1083
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