Mayo booked their place in the All Ireland minor semi-final with a nine point win over the beaten Lenister finalists Westmeath in a sun drenched O'Connor Park in Tullamore on the Bank Holiday Monday. Mayo won the game pulling up and didn't bother the scoreboard for the final 17 minutes, but by that stage they were already leading by 2-13 to 0-6. In the opening 13 minutes of the second half Mayo outscored their vanquished opponenets by 2-4 to 0-0, with the two goals coming inside a three minute burst between the seventh and tenth minute. The first major of the game came from the penalty spot after Cian Hanley was hauled down en-route to goal by Wesmeath's Andrew McCormack who picked up a booking for his troubles. Hanley dusted himself down and drove the ball with percision past Joe Hyland in Lake county goal. The Ballaghaderren man played a key part in the second goal, hitting a top drawer diagional pass into the path of Darragh Doherty who applied a deft flick of the hand to send the ball to the back of the Westmeath net and kill the game off.
Enda Gilvarry's men started the game very well in the first half and were 0-5 to 0-1 in the lead ten minutes into the game. Conor Loftus opened their account with a neat effort after a long ball in by Val Roughneen was won by Doherty to laid it off to the Crossmolina man to finish. Cian Hanley doubled the lead a minute later after Liam Irwin won the ball inside before laying it off to Hanley. Mayo's third point came from the boot of Michael Plunkett after the Ballintubber player drove the ball over the black spot from distance.
Westmeath were on the ropes early on, but did show plenty of fight early on and Robert Hickey kicked their first point of the afternoon with an effort from out the field that crept over the bar, with the assitance of Mark Mulligan in the Mayo goal. The dangerous Luke Loughlin got in for half a goal chance seven minutes in but pulled his effort wide of the post. Plunkett hit back for Mayo with a point after the ball was worked at pace up the field through the hands of Michael Hall and the impressive Diarmuid O'Connor and Liam Irwin kicked Mayo's fifth point a few seconds later from a placed ball. Mayo kept the pressure up and with 12 minutes gone on the stop watch Val Roughneen pointed a free and it looked like a question of how many, but not if Mayo were going to win. Loughlin and Loftus traded points as Mayo looked to pull away, but Westmeath showed dogged dertimination to hang in there with Loughlin and Robert Hickey leading the charge and both men finishing up the with three points each to their name at the break as Mayo went in leading by 0-9 to 0-6 and the game looking very much alive, despite the early indications that Mayo might run away with this one. Mayo had a decent goal chance themselves before the end of the first half, but Diarmuid O'Connor's effort near the end line was well saved by Hyland at his near post. Mayo's final three points of the half coming from the boots of Irwin, Loftus and Tommy Conroy.
The second half started much like the first with Mayo on top and Conroy kicked a classy point within seconds and then the goals arrived, with a Liam Irwin free breaking the pair of majors up. Doherty kicked nice point not long after his goal and Cian Hanley rounded things off for Mayo with 17 minutes to go.
Gilvarry ran his bench for the last 15 minutes and Westmeath were able to tack on two late points from Loughlin to put some gloss on the scoreboard from their point of view. Tommy Carr's men were also reduced to 14 men with seven minutes to go when Alan Hughes was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident that left Ronan Finn on the ground. All in all it was a very solid performance from Mayo who now move on to the All Ireland semi-final against the Ulster champions Monaghan in the semi-final.
Mayo: C Hanley (1-2, 1-0 pen ), D Doherty (1-1 ), L Irwin (0-3, 3f ), M Plunkett (0-2 ), T Conroy (0-2 ), C Loftus (0-2 ), V Roughneen (0-1, 1f ).
Westmeath: L Loughlin (0-5, 1f ), R Hickey (0-3, 1f )
Mayo: M Mulligan; E Doran, D Kenny, M Hall; R Finn, S Coen, S Conlon; V Roughneen, D O'Connor; C Loftus, M Plunkett, C Hanley; D Doherty, L Irwin, T Conroy. Subs: C Byrne for D Doherty (48 ), P Prendergast for C Hanley (52 ), H Cafferty for S Conlon (54 ), B Walsh for M Plunkett (55 ), K Jordan for R Finn (58 )
Westmeath: J Hyland; M Darling, I Ilunga, B O'Donoghue; A McCormack, Liam Barley, D Giles; C O'Brien, S Omokoro; R Cunninghan, R Caffrey, K Shanley; J Corbally, L Loughlin, R Hickey. Subs: D Clinton for S Omokoro (21 ), A Hughes for J Corbally (21 ), L Beddows for A McCormack (48 ), L Cassidy for K Shanley (48 ), G Murray for D Giles (56 )
Ref: S Hurson (Tyrone )