All-Ireland SFC Group 1, round three
Kerry 5-24 Louth 0-11; Cork 1-14 Mayo 1-11
Manager Mickey Harte felt his Louth side got a reality check once again in Portlaoise on Sunday.
After suffering at the hands of Dublin in the Leinster final his side bowed out of the All-Ireland series with a 28 point loss to Kerry.
“It’s soul destroying really,” Harte said.
“If we want to continue to make progress we are going to have to work very hard to get up to the next level.”
“And the sad thing about it is that we started the game very well and we created some good chances and didn’t take them.
“We needed all of those chances to go over, or go into the net. One of them could have gone into the net and if that had gone in it would have given us that wee bit of a degree of belief, because Kerry were always going to pick off scores here.”
Holders Kerry needed to avoid defeat to stay in the Championship, with a win giving them a chance to top the table and with that focus, they set about their work early.
David Clifford and Sean O’Shea inspired the champions to reel off an unanswered 2-10 in a 20-minute spell during that frightful first half. Clifford and Mike Breen neatly found the net.
Louth trailed 2-15 to 0-3 at half time with Ciaran Downey and Sam Mulroy bookending the Kerry onslaught. Paudie Clifford bagged a goal on the resumption before his brother David landed his second from the penalty spot. David was luxuriously substituted with 25 minutes left.
Sean O’Shea closed the scoring with his goal to cap a fine individual performance that pleased his manager Jack O’Connor no end.
“The beauty of today was we got a lot of fellas chipping in,” O’Connor said.
“Tony [Brosnan] Was very lively, Diarmuid O’Connor had a serious first half. He kicked three points from outside the cover and that always helps because it draws them out then.
“Seanie was very good, Paudie [Clifford] was very good.
“We got scores from different areas and that always takes the heat off David [Clifford]. You know the narrative is out there that we are a one-man band but we think we have threats from a lot of areas.”
CORK laid down a marker of real progress with a stunning 1-14 to 1-11 victory over Mayo at the TUS Gaelic Grounds,.
Mayo were in control for much of the contest and looked to be on their way to victory when substitute Tommy Conroy goaled in the 57th minute to make it 1-11 to 0-8.
However, Steven Sherlock had an inspirational impact for Cork when he was introduced for the injured Ruairi Deane, kicking 1-5 from six shots as the Rebels charged back from that six-point deficit.
Sherlock accounted for the first 1-4 of that comeback – the goal coming from the penalty spot – to edge Cork ahead before fellow impact subs John O’Rourke and Chris Óg Jones gave them the necessary three-point margin to overtake Mayo in second place by the fourth minute of additional time and guaranteed a home tie in the preliminary quarter-finals.