Connacht SFC: Mayo overcome spirited Leitrim
Connacht SFC quarter-final
MAYO 2-15 LEITRIM 0-10
By John Fallon at Avantcard Pairc Sean MacDiarmada
Mayo advanced to a Connacht semi-final meeting against Roscommon next weekend after seeing off Leitrim in wet and windy conditions in Carrick-on-Shannon.
They laid the foundation for victory in the opening half when they built up a 1-6 to 0-6 interval lead having played against the wind.
And while Leitrim battled away bravely after the restart, Mayo pulled away for a comfortable victory in the end with Cillian O’Connor, who finished with 1-9, leading the way.
Mayo knew they wouldn’t have it all their own way when Leitrim raced into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead after ten minutes as Terry Hyland’s men used the breeze well.
Shane Quinn, Evan Sweeney, Domhnaill Flynn and Keith Beirne landed points as they looked for their first win over Mayo since 1994 but James Horan’s men settled in an opening half where neither team kicked a wide.
Mayo made the most of a spell when Leitrim’s Oisin MacCaffraigh picked up a black card and they outscored Leitrim by 1-4 to 0-1 in that spell, with Tommy Conroy crowning his debut by shooting a good goal into the bottom left corner after 23 minutes.
Leitrim struggled to get scores. Beirne got their first in eight minutes with a free after 18 minutes but they didn’t score again until Donal Casey finished off a good move at the end of the opening half.
By then O’Connor had taken his haul to five points, while Aidan O’Shea was making a telling contribution at full-forward.
Leitrim kept up their challenge after the restart and Beirne got a couple of frees which were cancelled by O’Connor and Matthew Ruane.
And Mayo pulled away when Conor Loftus set up O’Connor and he rifled to the roof of the net to make it 2-8 to 0-8 after 48 minutes and there was no way back for Leitrim.
Indeed, the margin of victory would have been much bigger but MacCaffraigh denied Lee Keegan a goal and Leitrim goalkeeper Brendan Flynn then produced top class saves to sub James Carr and Paddy Durcan.
But Mayo continued to pick off points as both managers emptied their subs’ bench as Mayo advanced to a Connacht semi-final meeting with Roscommon in Hyde Park next Sunday.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 1-9 (0-4f, 0-2 ‘45s), Tommy Conroy 1-0, Aidan O’Shea 0-2 (1m), Matthew Ruane 0-1, Conor Loftus 0-1,James Carr 0-1, Bryan Walsh 0-1.
Scorers for Leitrim: Keith Beirne 0-5f, Domhnaill Flynn 0-1, Donal Casey 0-1, Conor Dolan 0-1, Shane Quinn 0-1, Evan Sweeney 0-1.
MAYO: David Clarke; Oisín Mullin, Stephen Coen, Lee Keegan; Paddy Durcan, Michael Plunkett, Eoghan McLaughlin; Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus; Bryan Walsh, Ryan O’Donoghue, Jordan Flynn; Tommy Conroy, Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor
Subs: Diarmuid O’Connor for Walsh (48), James Carr) for O’Donoghue (48), Rory Brickenden for S Coen (51), Chris Barrett for Plunkett (62), Darren McHale for Ruane (64).
LEITRIM: Brendan Flynn; Conor Reynolds, Oisin MacCaffraigh, Donal Casey; Cillian McGloin, Paddy Maguire, Aidan Flynn; Donal Wrynn, Domhnaill Flynn; Conor Dolan, Mark Plunkett, Jack Gilheaney; Shane Quinn, Evan Sweeney, Keith Beirne
Subs:Riordan O’Rourke for A Flynn (55), Dean McGovern (for D Flynn (55), Pierce Dolan (Sean O’Heslin’s) for Sweeney (64), Tom Prior for Dolan (68).
Referee: Paul Faloon (Down)