Kerry 1-20 1-11 Mayo

Trevor Mortimer and Aidan O'Mahony
Mayo's Trevor Mortimer is tackled by Kerry's Aidan O'Mahony at Croke Park

Colm Cooper's masterclass as he hit 1-7 helped Kerry ease past a brave Mayo side in Sunday's opening All-Ireland Football semi-final at Croke Park.

Mayo keeper Robert Hennelly make two superb early saves and the Connacht champions moved into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.

But Kerry fought back to lead 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval.

Six unanswered points helped Kerry extend their advantage to eight and while Cillian O'Connor goaled for Mayo, Cooper immediately replied for Kerry.

The Kingdom will face the winners of next weekend's second semi-final between Dublin and Donegal in the decider on 18 September.

In front of 50,643 spectators at headquarters, Kerry cut open the Mayo defence in the opening seconds but Hennelly spread himself well to divert Darren O'Sullivan's point-blank chance out for a 45.

And after Enda Varley had nudged Mayo ahead, a Kieran Donaghy lay-off set up another glorious chance for O'Sullivan but Hennelly blocked the shot with his head.

Kerry's early misses seemed to boost Mayo morale and they moved into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

The Kingdom were still bossing possession but Mayo were picking off scores every time they ventured upfield including Donal Vaughan's superb score from play which put them 0-4 to 0-2 ahead.

Colm Cooper
Colm Cooper celebrates his second-half goal

Mayo still led 0-5 to 0-3 after 23 minutes but Kerry responded with five straight points including superb long-range efforts from Eoin Brosnan, Donaghy and Cooper.

Andy Moran, whose earlier goal chance had been saved by Brendan Kealy, got Mayo scoring again in first-half injury time to cut Kerry's interval lead to two.

Kerry extended their lead to four after the break only for Mayo to respond with Vaughan and Moran scores.

But then came the decisive period of the match as the Kingdom hit six unanswered points in nine minutes to effectively put the match out of Mayo's reach.

Cooper was producing all his silky skills both in kicking scores and setting up colleagues.

Mayo may have thought that they had a glimmer of hope when O'Connor blasted to the net in the 53rd minute after Moran's initial shot had been blocked by Kealy.

But those faint hopes were almost immediately extinguished as Cooper weaved his way through the Mayo defence before lashing the ball to the roof of the net.

Both teams tagged on some fine points in the closing stages but by then Kingdom fans were already looking forward to the county's eighth All-Ireland final appearance in 10 years.

All-Ireland Minor Football semi-final

Tipperary 1-11 0-12 Roscommon

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