All Ireland SFC Qualifier: O'Connor nets three goals for Mayo
All Ireland SFC Round One Qualifier
MAYO 5-19 LIMERICK 3-7
By John Fallon at the Gaelic Grounds
Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor led the way as Stephen Rochford’s team began their qualifier campaign with an emphatic victory.
O’Connor scored 3-9 and Footballer of the Year Andy Moran came on to score two goals as they registered a record win in the qualifers.
It was the perfect way for Rochford’s men to get back on track after their defeat to Galway in the Connacht Championship.
Limerick needed a huge start to have any chance of a shock win and they got that when Danny Neville was fouled and Sean McSweeney slotted home a fourth minute penalty.
But Mayo did not panic and O’Connor led the way as they got moving, picking off a couple of points from play from the left.
The Mayo captain then got his third point from play after some good passing to tie the match after nine minutes.
Mayo continued to push on, O’Connor landing a 45 to edge them in front for the first time before James Durcan, a late replacement for Andy Moran, pointed and Aidan O’Shea got in on the act to lead by 0-6 to 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Iain Corbett eased the pressure with a point from the right a minute later, but Mayo took over again.
O’Connor added a free and then finished to the net to push Mayo 1-7 to 1-1 in front after 30 minutes.
They added three more before the break to lead by 1-10 to 1-1 at the break.
Mayo continued to control after the restart and while Seamus O’Carroll got a goal for Limerick after coming on, it was all one-way traffic in the final quarter.
Mayo struck 4-3 without reply in a devastating 11 minute spell with O’Connor completing his hat-trick with two goals in three minutes.
He set up a goal for Moran who quickly got a second in a game where Lee Keegan made a welcome return to the Mayo side for his first action since being injured against Tyrone in the League.
Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 3-9 (1-0 pen, 5fs, 1 ’45), A Moran 2-0, P Durcan 0-2, A O’Shea 0-2, C Boyle 0-1, C Barrett 0-1, S Coen 0-1, C Hanley 0-1, E Regan 0-1, J Durcan 0-1.
Scorers for Limerick: S O’Carroll 2-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), S McSweeney (1-0, 1-0 pen), I Corbett 0-2 Josh Ryan 0-2 (2fs), J Lee 0-1, D Neville 0-1.
MAYO: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Eoin O’Donoghue; Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins, Paddy Durcan; Séamus O’Shea, Aidan O’Shea; Stephen Coen, Kevin McLoughlin, Cian Hanley; Evan Regan, Cillian O’Connor, James Durcan.
Subs: Lee Keegan for Boyle (46), Jason Doherty for McLoughlin (48), Conor Loftus for S O’Shea (52), Andy Moran for Higgins (53), Caolan Crowe for Hanley (57), Shane Nally for O’Donoghue (63).
LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Séan O’Dea, Gareth Noonan, Paul Maher; Paul White, Iain Corbett, Cillian Fahy; Darragh Treacy, Josh Ryan; Danny Neville, Michael Fitzgibbon, Peter Nash; Seán McSweeney, Jamie Lee, Jim Liston.
Subs: Seamus O’Carroll for McSweeney (36), Killian Ryan for Liston (48), Pádraig Scanlon for Lee (52), Gordon Browne for Treacy (57), David Connolly for Nash (65), Tony McCarthy for Corbett (69).
REFEREE: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).