Mayo manager Michael Solan made seven changes from the side that started the previous week against Donegal with Marcus Park, Gary McHale, James Kelly, Cathal Hennelly, Ryan O’Donoghue, Barry Duffy and Colm Reape all coming into the starting 15 for this North West Cup Final against Sligo.
The hosts hit the ground running and had the first point on the board less than a minute in when Kyle Cawley bisected the posts from close range. Mayo had a chance to hit the back of the net six minutes in when James Carr was played in by James Lyons put he pulled his effort wide of the post on the near side from close range.
Mayo’s first point came two minutes later through a pointed free from Davitts wing forward Cathal Hennelly from out on the right touchline. The Yeats county men hit the front again three minutes later thanks to a fine long range effort from their captain Darragh Cummins.
Mayo should have hit the net again right after, when Hennelly and James McCormack broke through on their own from the half way line, Hennelly carried the ball and laid it off to McCormack who could have slipped it through to Carr, but he took on the shot himself and hit the butt of the post.
Mayo pulled level when Ryan O’Donoghue shot from close range after a Hennelly free dropped short and was punched clear by Daniel Cafferkey in the Silgo goal. The same man edged Mayo in front just after 16 minutes and two minutes later Mayo were two clear when James Carr shot over on the run from close range.
Sligo had a goal chance of their own 19 minutes when Jodie O’Reilly was put through, the Geevagh man spilled the ball and pulled on it on the deck. Scott Kilker did what he had to do and got down low to save it but was outside of the small rectangle and the referee gave a 13 meter free to the hosts. Paddy O’Connor converted it to leave it 0-4 to 0-3 after 20 minutes and the same man applied another close range finish from a free four minutes later.
Four minutes from the break Mayo hit Sligo for 1-1 inside a minute, first up Kevin Quinn fired over an effort from 35 meters out and from the resulting kick-out the ball was worked back to the Ballinrobe man who drew the keeper before flicking the ball across the face of goal where Colm Reape palmed it to the net from close range. That score put Mayo four to the good, Sligo did close the gap back to three two minutes from the turn around through another O’Connor free.
James Carr kicked the first score of the second half five minutes in when he tapped over a close range free. James Lyons followed that up with a well worked score two minutes later after O’Donoghue and James Carr combined to set him up. Sligo’s Sean Power opened his sides account in the second half two minutes later to leave Mayo leading 1-7 to 0-6 in the lead. Alan McLoughlin cut that gap back to just three points with a well taken score under pressure with 20 minutes left on the clock as the hosts started to get a bit of a foothold in the contest.
Sligo levelled the game up three quarters way through the game when he fired it low past Scott Kilker from close range, and two minutes later they were almost in again when Gerard Lynch Kelly did well to keep the ball in play and he flicked back to Kyle Cawley whose shot was cleared off the line by Marcus Park, but a Mayo defender picked it off the ground and Paddy O’Connor pointed from the free.
James Kelly responded straight away with a long range effort, but Sligo went back down the field with in a minute and Jason Perry pointed well as he slipped under pressure from the Mayo defence to leave his side a point ahead with ten to go. The game was now end to end and Mayo levelled it upon 52 minutes when Sean Conlon pointed after Mayo were very patient in their build up play, a minute late Ryan O’Donoghue picked out Kevin Quinn and the Ballinrobe man showed a great side to create the space to fire the ball to the net to put Mayo three clear again. James Carr tapped over a free not long after and Ryan O’Donoghue curled in one from a tight angle to leave Mayo 2-11 to 1-9 ahead with four minutes to go. Carr pointed another free before O’Donoghue bagged Mayo’s third goal after a strong run by Akram to seal the win for Michael Solan’s men.
Mayo: R O’Donoghue (1-3 ), J Carr (0-4, 3f ), K Quinn (1-1 ), C Reape (1-0 ), J Lyons (0-1 ), J McCormack (0-1 ), S Conlon (0-1 ), C Hennelly (0-1. 1f )
Sligo: P O’Connor (0-4, 4f ), L Gaughan (1-1 ), D Cummins (0-1 ), K Cawley (0-1 ), S Power (0-1 ), A McLoughlin (0-1 ), J Perry (0-1 )
Mayo: S Kilker; M Park, S Brennan, S Conlon; D Cannon, J Forkan, G McHale; J Kelly, G McHale; C Hennelly, J Lyons, R O’Donoghue; B Duffy, J Carr, C Reape Subs: K Quinn for C Hennelly, M Ruane for C Reape, S Akram form G McHale, M Murray for J Kelly
Sligo: D Cafferkey; N Mullen, L Nicholson, M Gordon; D Cummins, P McNamara, S Power; G O’Kelly-Lynch, P Kilcoyne; M Clarke, P O’Connor, S Connolly; J O’Reilly, A McLoughlin, K Cawley. Subs: L Gaughan for S Connolly, S Carbine for M Clarke, J Perry for J O’Reilly, D Kilgallon for P Kilcoyne