David Clifford played a crucial role in Kerry’s victory against Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-final, despite struggling with injury from early on.
The sight of a hobbling Clifford and a strong effort from Mayo in the first half would have given their supporters hope of an upset, but Kerry slowly and surely pulled away in the second half to set up a semi-final encounter with Dublin.
It wasn’t a vintage Kerry performance by any means, but after a long lay off following their Munster Championship final win against Limerick, they will be happy with a 1-18 to 0-13 victory.
Likewise, Dublin weren’t at their best against Cork on Saturday, but expect both sides to improve for what should be a blockbuster encounter at Croke Park.
Just one point separated the sides at half-time.
No more than two points separated the sides at any point in the first half, in what was very competitive opening 35 minutes.
The site of David Clifford limping early on after landing awkwardly would have had plenty of Kerry supporters looking on nervously, and the youngster seemed to exacerbate the issue further on a couple of occasions.
Despite his injury struggles, Clifford did come up with a well taken goal for Kerry which put the Kingdom back into the lead after an excellent point from Stephen Coen had edged Mayo ahead.
Mayo were dealt another blow just moments later, when Aidan O’Shea was shown a black card for an off the ball scuffle, much to the annoyance of the Breaffy club man.
James Horan’s men did manage that black card period well though and went into the break one point behind Kerry.
David Clifford’s overlapping run ends in a magnificent goal for @Kerry_Official. pic.twitter.com/4pEraqg1RY
— The GAA (@officialgaa) June 26, 2022
Kerry ultimately prove too strong for Mayo.
The second half began just as the first half did, with neither side being able to pull more than two points ahead of the other, in a nervy encounter in wet conditions at Croke Park.
It wasn’t until the 56th minute that Kerry went ahead by three points thanks to a point from Tom O’Sullivan, although a goal chance was very much on for the Dingle man.
A point from a free quickly followed from Paul Geaney, as well as a point from play for replacement Killian Spillane, to put Kerry five points clear as the game approached the final 10 minutes.
Kerry established their dominance in the closing stages, as they ultimately finished up with a eight-point victory against Mayo.
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