IT, Sligo 1-11
Two weeks into the new season and Mayo remain unbeaten in the FBD League after Sunday's draw with IT Sligo in Charlestown. However Mayo will feel that they should have left the east Mayo venue with all two points from the game. Mark Ronaldson who once again relaxed comfortably into the role as Mayo's free taker, cut a dash towards the Sligo goal late on and he was hacked down as he tried to shape to shoot. The Shurle Glencorrib attacker was given a free in from about 35 yards out, but for once he came up short on the distance front as his effort dropped into the hands of IT Sligo custodian Adrian Flaherty. The students goalkeeper was the man of the moment in the closing stages, a minute into injury time the Galway native made his way upfield to have a cut at a 45, a short four step run up was all he needed as he dropped the ball perfectly over the bar to tie the game up at 1-11 each.
The share of the spoils was probably a fair result on a bitterly cold day in Charlestown where both sides enjoyed periods of dominance but never really enough to see themselves ease into a comfortable lead. John O'Mahony made a number of changes from the previous weeks opening game against NUIG in Garrymore, with Robert Hennelly getting the nod in place of David Clarke, Westport's Lee Keegan coming in at centre half back in place of Trevor Howley, Barry Kelly coming in for Pat Harte at centre half forward and Neill Douglas getting the start at corner forward.
Aidan O'Shea opened the scoring early on for Mayo picking up a ball into the corner from Ronan McGarrity before holding off his maker and fisting the ball over the bar. Neill Douglas didn't take long to introduce himself to the crowd and made it 0-2 to 0-0 after eight minutes, he made a break across the the field to pick up a ball played down the left channel by Andy Moran, before the sold a dummy to create space to arc the ball over the bar. The students got their first score of the game in rather lucky circumstances, Eoin McHugh cut down the right flank and drove a dangerous ball across the face of the goal where a number of hands contested to claim it before it came of Mayo full back Alan Feeney's hands and looped over Hennelly's bar. Mayo clipped over two more points before the 20 minute mark with Ronaldson landing a free and Aidan O'Shea getting his second of the game, when he somehow managed to punch the ball over the bar as he slipped under pressure from a Sligo defender to divert Andy Moran's long ball over the bar. But the students weren't going to over ran that easy, Danny Cummins hit a fine score after being set up by Eugene Keating following a mark and they very nearly grabbed the first goal of the game shortly after. Alan Costello ballooned in a ball wich Seamus Ryder won over Alan Feeney's head, the student managed to shake off the challenge to shot low towards the goal but Hennelly was there to pull off the first of three good saves he made over the sixty minutes. Peader Gardiner and Ronaldson added on two more scores for Mayo before the break, with Cummins and Keating scoring the students to leave Mayo up by 0-6-0-4 at the turn around.
Former Mayo and current Sligo player Alan Costello opened the second half with a bang landing a very good point from out on the right after only 30 seconds of the restart, and two minutes later the students were level through Stephen Coen as Mayo struggled to get any-sort of rhythm going following the turn around. With six minutes gone in the half the men from Yeat's county went into the lead for the first time in the game when Ciaran Greene brought the ball down the left channel, beat his own man then held off two more before pointing from 30 yards out. The lead lasted less than a minute as Mayo began to rouse from their slumber with Andy Moran pointing after being fed by Barry Kelly who collected a O'Shea break down from a good ball in by Douglas. And less than a minute later Mayo strung together the move of the game to score the first three pointer of the contest. Ronaldson started the move which saw him play the ball into Tom Parsons who charged at the IT Sligo defense, the hometown man looked to have take too much out of it, but he was able to play it back to Kelly who in-turn fed Gardiner on the over lap. The Crossmolina wing back, played an inviting hand pass across the face of the Sligo goal where Aidan O'Shea was breaking and the Breaffy teenager palmed the ball home for the three points. Ronaldson put Mayo four clear from another placed ball, but the Ballinode men weren't throwing in the towel and nice score from Coen left one between the sides, the same man put only two between the sides with 14 minutes left from a free before Douglas and Ronaldson hit back with two points for Mayo leaving them four to the good once again as the game entered it's final ten minutes. First David Givney had an effort for a goal well saved by Hennelly who also had to react quickly to block Eoin McHugh's effort from a rebound. But with six minutes left on the watch the students got the major they were looking for when Gary Gaughan under pressure was able to prod the ball past Hennelly from close range. Ronaldson hit back almost straight away for Mayo from a free, but the students took their time and an Alan Freeman point left only one between the sides entering injury time before Faherty stepped up to have the final say on the scoreboard and a share of the spoils.
Mayo: R Hennelly; L O'Malley, R Feeney (0-1,owen point ) , Keith Higgins; P Gardiner (0-1 ), L Keegan, D Vaughan; T Parsons, R McGarrity, A Moran (0-1 ), B Kelly, T Mortimer, M Ronaldson (0-5,5f ), A O'Shea (1-2 ), N Douglas (0-2 ). Subs: J Burke fo D Vaughan, K Walsh for T Mortimer, M Sweeney for R McGarrity, G McDonnagh for A Moran
IT Sligo: A Flaherty (0-1,1 45' ); S Boyle, D Reynolds, K Cawley; E McHugh, G Reynolds, C Greene (0-1 ); D Givney, E Keating (0-1,1f ); A Costello (0-1 ), A Freeman (0-1 ), S Kelly; S Coen (0-3, 2f ), S Ryder, D Cummins (0-2 ). Subs: G Gaughan (1-0 ),
Ref: F Flynn (Leitrim )