Mayo look to see off Rebels challenge

Ladies Football: National Football League

Back to winning ways: Fiona Doherty hit 1-2 for Mayo last weekend against Westmeath. Photo: Sportsfile

Back to winning ways: Fiona Doherty hit 1-2 for Mayo last weekend against Westmeath. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo picked up their second win of the Ladies National Football League on Sunday with a 3-12 to 2-12 win over Westmeath in Mullingar. That win came on the back of three losses on the bounce for Peter Leahy's side to Donegal, Dublin and Galway.

That win has left Mayo still in with a shout of making the league semi-final but they will need to pick up a win against Cork on Sunday if they are to have any chance of making the final four.

Mayo's local rivals, Galway, have already booked their spot in the semi-finals, having won five from five, leaving them sitting on 15 points, with Donegal and Dublin behind them on 12 points and Mayo's opponents this weekend, Cork, in fourth spot on nine points, with Mayo in fifth place at present on six points.

Three goals in the first 15 minutes were vital for Mayo in their win over Westmeath on St Patrick's Day. Played in very windy conditions, this was a key game for both sides as they sought to end their lengthy losing streaks, but with a seven-point lead to their name at half-time, Mayo held on to win - but Westmeath managed to outscore them 1-4 to 0-3 in the final 30 minutes.

The rain eased off before throw-in to the delight of the packed crowd at St Loman’s and Mayo sharpshooter Rachel Kearns kicked the first score from a free. They went further ahead after Grace Kelly and Niamh Kelly pointed, before Sinead Cafferky took advantage of a Westmeath turnover to fire in the opening goal. Pressure from Mayo on the Westmeath kick-out led to errors and soon Tamara O’Connor scored their second goal when she gathered a rebound off the crossbar.

After a slow start, Westmeath started to improve with a flurry of points from Sarah Dillon, before Anna Jones palmed a much-needed goal for the home side. But Mayo hit back and scored their third goal after 15 minutes, with Fiona Doherty applying the finishing touch to make it 3-5 to 1-3.

Mayo continued to be the better team coming up to half-time with brilliant points from Fiona Doherty and Kearns, although Sarah Dillon and Maud-Annie Foley impressed for the midlanders to close the deficit to 3-9 to 1-8 at half-time.

If Mayo bossed the first-half, Westmeath dominated the second and they claimed four unanswered scores to start the half, including a second goal for Jones. But try as they might Westmeath could never pull close enough and three Mayo frees staved off the powerful charge from the home side.

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