Allianz FL D2 North: Mayo defeat Westmeath
Allianz Football League Division Two North
MAYO 0-21 WESTMEATH 2-12
By Colm Gannon at TEG Cusack Park
Mayo held on to see off a brave Westmeath challenge in Mullingar to make it two wins from two.
The sides went in level at the first water break, with Westmeath hitting the front two minutes in when Luke Loughlin reacted quickest after Ronan O’Toole’s effort came back off the post and he finished to the back of the net.
Mayo responded through a Eoghan McLaughlin point, before John Heslin at the third attempt opened his account for the day on seven minutes. Mayo hit the next three points through Conor Loftus, Paddy Durcan and Cillian O’Connor.
James Horan’s men made the better start to second quarter, with Matthew Ruane breaking through on goal and firing an effort over the bar on the run. He followed that up with a point from distance to put Mayo two clear.
Ger Egan kept his side in touch with an excellent score on the run from he right flank - but that was almost instantly replied to by a long range point from Conor Loftus.
John Heslin cut the gap back to a single point with a close range free with seven minutes left in the half and just before the half hour mark they hit the front once more.
Ronan Wallace looked like he was odds on to finish the ball to the net after a flowing move, but he was fouled by Diarmuid O’Connor and penalty was awarded with O’Connor getting ten minutes in the bin. Heslin stepped up and sent Robert Hennelly the wrong way and put his side 2-3 to 0-7 up.
Despite being a man down Mayo hit the next two points to level it up through a Ryan O’Donoghue mark and a Cillian O’Connor free with time almost up in the half.
There was still time though for Heslin to tap over another free and Jordan Flynn to point for Mayo to square it all up again at the break. The final word on the half was left to Heslin who got his fourth of the game right at the death with a nice score on the turn from 25 meters out.
The third quarter was a hard hitting affair with both sides leaving it all out there, Mayo kicked three points to Westmeath’s one over the 16 minutes of play. Cillian O’Connor kicked two pointed frees with Tommy Conroy finally escaping the tight marking he was under all day to slip over one from close range - while Ronan O’Toole pointed for Westmeath from a mark not long after the resumption.
By hour mark Mayo had that lead stretched out to four points thanks to a brace of pointed frees form O’Connor along with points from Paddy Durcan and Bryan Walsh as they looked to finally have a grasp of the game.
But Westmeath weren’t going away that easy - Luke Loughlin pointed two 45s inside a minute, the first coming after Robert Hennelly had to pull off a fine save from Brandon Kelly who got in behind the rearguard.
That brought it back to a two point game, Kevin McLoughlin showed there was life in the old dog with a reliving score for Mayo, but the home side kept coming and John Heslin pointed a mark to bring it back to a two point game again.
Mayo replied through a Paddy Durcan point after good work - however Westmeath refused to bend the knee and Kieran Martin kicked a point just after coming off the bench and then Heslin pointed and it was a one point game and all to play for.
But when it came to the crunch Mayo’s greater experience came to the fore, Cillian O’Connor pointed from a tight angle as the game moved into injury time and he tapped over a free with the last kick of the game after Kevin McLoughlin showed his experience to draw in a foul.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-8 (7fs), Paddy Durcan 0-3, Matthew Ruane 0-2, Conor Loftus 0-2, Bryan Walsh 0-1, Eoghan McLaughlin 0-1, Kevin McLoughlin 0-1, Ryan O’Donoghue 0-1 (m) Tommy Conroy 0-1.
Scorers for Westmeath: John Heslin 1-6 (4fs 1-0 pen), Luke Loughlin 1-2 (2 45’), Ray Connellon 0-1, Ger Egan 0-1, Ronan O’Toole 0-1 (m), Kieran Martin 0-1.
WESTMEATH: Jack Daly; Noel Mulligan, Kevin Maguire, Biodu Sayeh; James Dolan, Ronan Wallace, Jamie Gonoud; Sam Duncan, Ray Connellan; David Lynch, Deins Caorroon, Ger Egan; Ronan O’Toole, John Heslin, Luke Loughlin.
Subs: Fola Ayorinde fro Caorroon (44) , Brandon Kelly for Duncan (52), Conor Slevin for Lynch (63), Kieran Martin for McCartan (65), Tommy McDaniel for Egan (66).
MAYO: Robert Hennelly; Ben Doyle, Oisin Mullin, Lee Keegan; Michael Plunkett, Paddy Durcan, Eoghan McLaughlin; Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Conor Loftus, Jordan Flynn; Tommy Conroy, Cillian O’Connor, Ryan O’Donoghue.
Subs: Colm Boyle for Doyle, Kevin McLoughlin for Flynn, Brian Walsh for McDonagh (all HT) James Carr for Loftus (51), Rory Brickenden for McLaughlin (59), Adian Orme for Conroy (63), Jack Carney for Diarmuid O’Connor (66).
REFEREE: Noel Mooney.