Connacht Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
MAYO 2-14 SLIGO 0-11
By Colm Gannon at Elverys MacHale Park, MacHale Park
Mayo booked their place in the Connacht semi-final with a nine point win over Sligo in MacHale Park, but they will know that they’ll have to up their performance for the meeting with Galway next time out.
Mayo’s display was similar to a lot of their Allianz Football League showings earlier in the year, disjointed at times and struggling to put scores on the board for a long time. Cillian O’Connor finished the game up with 1-6 to his name and his goal right on 35 minutes put any lingering doubts that Sligo had of causing an upset to bed.
Up to then Sligo had stuck with Mayo as best they could and if they had taken a few more of the chances they had in the first half, where they kicked six wides and dropped two more efforts short, one of them claimed brilliantly over his bar by David Clarke they would have given themselves a better shot at doing so.
Sligo hit the front in the game right from the throw in with Stephen Coen pointing inside the first 20 seconds of the game, Cillian O’Connor hit the first of his salvo for the day a minute later to tie it up, before Andy Moran edged Mayo in front for the first time not long after.
Both sides swapped scores over the next 10 minutes or so and with 14 minutes gone it was level at four points each with Kevin McLoughlin and Patrick Durcan scoring for Mayo and Coen, Adrian Marren and Mark Breheny all finding the target for the Yeats men.
O’Connor tagged on two more frees for Mayo over the next 15 minutes with Marren responding for a free for Sligo. The first goal of the game arrived right on 35 minutes when Diarmuid O’Connor broke through two tackles and drove the ball low past Aidan Devaney in the Sligo goal to send Mayo in leading 1-6 to 0-5 at the short whistle.
Sligo goalkeeper Devaney hit the first score of the second half with a long range free and minute later Patrick Durcan should have hit Mayo’s second goal but his effort went wide of the post.
Fergal Boland and Andy Moran hit two for Mayo on the bounce to stretch their lead out to five points after 40 minutes, but the expected Mayo surge didn’t materialise as Sligo dug in and stuck with Mayo, with Patrick O’Connor and Breheny scoring points to bring the gap back to just three.
Mayo edged four in front again through Boland’s second point of the day and O’Connor tagged on another from a place ball after missing two in a row, dropping one short and putting the other wide.
Aidan O’Shea had entered the game at this stage as a blood sub for Diarmuid O’Connor and after ten minutes, was given a two minute time out when O’Connor returned, but he was back in the fold for Andy Moran for the rest of the game shortly after sitting down.
The sides swapped two points each over the next five minutes with O’Connor kicking two and Marren and Niall Murphy responding for Carrew’s men. Mayo edged four points in front again through a fine O’Connor point from play and when he palmed the ball to the net from close range on 70 minutes the game was done. Mayo added points from substitutes Danny Kirby and Jason Doherty to seal the deal.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 1-6 (5fs), Diarmuid O’Connor 1-0, Andy Moran and Fergal Boland 0-2 each, Patrick Durcan, Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty, and Danny Kirby 0-1 each.
**Scorers for Sligo: **Adrian Marren 0-4 (2fs, 145), Stephen Coen and Mark Breheny (2fs) 0-2 each, Aidan Devaney (f), Patrick O’Connor and Niall Murphy 0-1 each.
MAYO: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Patrick Durcan; Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons; Fergal Boland, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran.
Subs: Jason Doherty for Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea for Diarmuid O’Connor (BS), Aidan O’Shea for Andy Moran, Donal Vaughan for Conor O’Shea, Stephen Coen for Colm Boyle, Conor Loftus for Fergal Boland, Danny Kirby for Seamus O’Shea.
SLIGO: Aidan Devaney; Ross O’Donovan, Charlie Harrision, Eoin McHugh; Keelan Cawley, Brendan Egan, John Kelly; Patrick O’Connor, Adrian McIntyre; Neil Ewing, Mark Breheny, Kyle Cawley; Stephen Coen, Pat Hughes, Adrian Marren.
Subs: David Kelly for Kyle Cawley, Kevin McDonnell for Stepehn Coen, Niall Murphy for Pat Hughes, Noel Gaughan for Keelan Cawley, Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch for Eoin McHugh.
REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).