A strong second half showing where they outscored their hosts by 1-12 to 0-2 saw Mayo pick up an opening day win in the Connacht Minor Football Championship in Ballinamore on Friday night.
Tomas Morley’s men were on top in this contest from the get go, but were slow to get going and went in leading by 0-8 to 0-4 at the break, but they ran the dirty diesel out of their engines in the second half and cut loose with Frank Irwin leading the line up front bagging 1-6 in the final 30 minutes and Kiltimagh’s Aidan Cosgrove putting in commanding performance in the half back line driving them forward throughout.
Leitrim took an early lead through a Shane Mallon and Mayo responded through a brace of Ethan Henry points inside the opening five minutes. Their lead was stretched out to three points by the 13 minute mark through points from Ciaran Mylett and Cosgrove - the latter received a yellow card in this period for a mistimed challenge on Leitrim’s Jack Hughes.
Mayo should have hit the back of the net at the half way mark of the half when Eoin Gilraine found himself behind the cover and goalkeeper Conor Flood, but his effort was cleared off the line by Senan Harte.
The homeside managed to close the gap to the bare minimum with Barry McWeeney landing a brace of points, however Mayo responded with scores from Paddy Heneghan and Emmett Murphy before McWeeney struck his third of the day to make it a two point game.
Mayo went on to extend their lead by two more points before the break with Paul Walsh and Rory Morrin raising the white flag to send Mayo in leading 0-8 to 0-4 at the short whistle.
The second half was a forgettable affair for the hosts with Mayo taking complete control of the game and Frank Irwin in particular finding his range. The Ballina number 14 kicked six points and bagged the goal the Mayo performance deserved with time almost up.
He was picked out by a great ball from Cosgrove and made no mistake placing it past Flood to round off a fine performance.
Mayo will be happy to have to have gotten off to a winning start in this competition and they know they will face a much tougher challenge next Friday night when Roscommon come calling to Ballina in round two. The Rossies’ came from eight points down at half time to beat Galway 1-17 to 1-15 in the other game in the competition on Friday night in Hyde Park.
Mayo: F Irwin (1-6, 3f ), E Henry (0-2 ), C Mylett (0-2 ), P Heneghan (0-2 ), P Walsh (0-2 ), E Murphy (0-1 ), R Morrin (0-1 ), R Hughes (0-1 ), O McHale (0-1 ), C O’Connell (0-1 ), A Cosgrove (0-1 )
Leitrim: B McWeeney (0-4, 2f ), S Mallon (0-1 ), F McLoughlin (0-1 )
Mayo: L Jennings; R Keane, O Tunney, E Murphy; E Gilraine, A Cosgrove, O McHale; S Callaghan, E Henry; D Thornton, P Heneghan, P Walsh; R Morrin, F Irwin, C Mylett. Subs: R Hughes for R Morrin, R Walsh for S Callinan, C Boland for E Gilraine, C O’Connell for C Mylett, S Dempsey for O McHale, C Canny for P Heneghan.
Leitrim: C Flood; R Gallagher, S Harte, K Clancy, C Singleton, E McLoughlin, J Honeyman; A Maziya, R Oberwan; F McLoughlin, J Hughes, D Fallon; J Clinton, S Mallon, B McWeeney. Subs: C Quinn for R Oberwan (BS ), C Quinn for D Fallon, D Duignan for C Singleton, O Curley for J Hughes, S O’Brien for C Quinn, A Shortt for S Mallon.
Ref: R Hynes (Sligo )