Mayo launched their Allianz Football League campaign with a comprehensive 0-15 to 1-06 victory over Kerry at McHale Park in Castlebar.
In a bruising Division One encounter, which saw ten yellow cards and a red for Kerry’s Anthony Maher on 49 minutes, James Horan’s men held the Kingdom scoreless for the entire second period and deservedly took the spoils against their illustrious rivals.
The home side started the stronger and quickly led by 0-04 to 0-01 courtesy of four Jason Doherty scores, three from frees, but a James O’Donoghue goal on 17 minutes brought the visitors right back into the contest.
Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke had already saved superbly from O’Donoghue before the corner forward burst between two defenders and sent a shot low into the bottom corner.
There was little to choose between the sides for the remainder of the half. Darran O’Sullivan and Michael O’Donoghue pointed well to give Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side the advantage, but Michael Conroy replied with two points of his own to send the sides in level 0-09 to 1-06 at the break.
Kevin McLoughlin and Doherty added two further scores for the home side after the restart as they slowly began to get on top. Maher received his marching orders for his second yellow card on 49 minutes and from then on it was an uphill battle for the visitors.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, they stayed in touch until the closing stages, but a third Conroy point, another from McLougfhlin and two from substitute Enda Varley saw Mayo ease to victory with a bit to spare in the end.