Mayo picked up their first trophy of the year in McHale Park on Friday night when they saw off an early challenge from NUIG to claim the FBD home title by six points in the end. The game was dead as contest early into the second half when Mayo hit the only goal of the game through Aidan Kilcoyne. While the football on display was far from championship level it will have given James Horan a chance to have another look at a number of fringe players. Robert Hennelly was calm and composed in goal under a couple of dropping balls and distributed the ball well. Aidan Kilcoyne was one man who impressed taking the goal well and landing two long range points off the deck. Jason Gibbons continued to get to grips with inter county football in the middle of the park and did well. Gibbons and Ronan McGarrity were late additions to the starting 15 when Barry Moran was ruled out through injury and Tom Parsons inclusion as a IT Sligo designated player for the competition forced his withdrawal. Of the other fringe players to line out, David Killeen, Chris Barrett and Lee Keegan were all put under pressure by their opponents when the game was still alive and they didn't do as well as they would have hoped. With the FBD now put to bed until October and the trip to New York it's all eyes on next weeks game at home to Kerry in the Allianz Football League.
The sides were level at the break at seven point each thanks a Mark Ronaldson point late in the half. At that stage Mayo had lost the services of Enda Varley through injury a minute earlier, he was replaced by Aghamore's Cathal Freeman. The third level side had got off to a great start and found themselves leading by 0-5 to 0-2 after 12 minutes. Peadar Gardiner opened the scoring early on with a typical score from the Crossmolina man. He drove downfield before slotting the ball over the bar on the run. Aidan Kilcoyne leveled it up on three minutes with a neat finish from close range. The game was very bitty early on with neither side really raising the tempo. Denis Coroon and Mark Ronaldson traded points to leave it two points each after seven minutes. Then NUIG hit a purple patch Aidan Mullin, Stephen Gilmartin and a Jason Doherty pointed free in the next four minutes had them three points to the good.
Mayo found their rhythm soon after and a brace of points from Andy Moran one a fine fisted effort and the other a good score on the turn, either side of a Ronaldson point from a placed ball had them level on 19 minutes. From then on into the end of the half the sides swapped points with Jason Doherty kicking two points from dead balls, Enda Varley kicked a fine score before he had to leave the action and Ronaldson leveled the game two minutes before the end.
The second half saw Mayo kick up an extra gear and kick 1-3 in the space of three minutes starting off with a Ronaldson free from close range. It was quickly followed by a long range dead ball from Aidan Kilcoyne. The Knockmore man though was about to have a much larger impact and only a few second later he raced onto a pass from Jason Gibbons and drove the ball to the back of the net. Mayo had really hit a purple patch and Andrew Farrell pointed to leave it 1-10 to 0-7 after 39 minutes. The game then became very stop start with a lot of frees being given away and a number of subs entering the action. With 52 minutes on the clock the college side had cut the gap to four with Doherty landing two more pointed frees and Ronaldson clipping over another dead ball for Mayo. The game was as good as over at this juncture and the remainder was played out at a very timid pace. Ronaldson and Aidan Campbell kicked frees for Mayo and Aidan Kilcoyne landed a 45' in jury time to wrap up Mayo's scoring. Doherty kicked another score for NUIG from a free and Peader Gardiner added a point near the death when he had a great chance to drive it to the net.
Mayo: R Hennelly; C Hallinan, D Killeen, C Barrett; L Keegan, K Higgins, R O'Connor; J Gibbons, R McGarrity; A Campbell (0-1, 1f ), A Moran (0-2 ), A Farrell (0-1 ) ; E Varley (0-1 ), A Kilcoyne (1-3,1f 1 45' ), M Ronaldson (0-6, 6f ). Subs: C Freeman for E Varley, J Moran for R McGarrity, A Feeney for C Hallinan, J Burke for R O'Connor, R Feeney for L Keegan
NUIG: N King; C McDonald, K O'Connor, R Rochford; P Gardiner (0-2 ), C Conroy, J Moore; S Gilmartin (0-1 ), D Coroon (0-1 ); M McHugh, G Higgins, A Dillon; N Douglas, A Mullin (0-1 ), J Doherty (0-6,6f ). Subs: S McHale for K O'Connor, F Deasmhunhaigh for M McHugh, K Conlan (Leitrim ) for G Higins, K Conlan (Galway ) for C Conroy, G McDonnagh for A Mullin.