Hurlers get championship back on track with big win over Louth

GAA: Nicky Rackard Cup; Mayo 3-23 Louth 1-13

On the run: Conor Murray and Mayo got back to winning ways on Saturday against Louth. Photo: Sportsfile

On the run: Conor Murray and Mayo got back to winning ways on Saturday against Louth. Photo: Sportsfile

After last weekends defeat to Tyrone this was a must win game for Mayo if they were going to have any chance of progressing in the Nicky Rackard Cup.

The visitors themselves were beaten by Sligo in round one and with the Yeats county men getting victory over Tyrone earlier on Saturday afternoon the pressure was ramped up on Mayo even more.

Louth got the first score of the day with Darren Geoghan splitting the posts with a well taken free after Jamie McDonnell was fouled as he broke from midfield two minutes in.

But from then on Mayo responded with five points of their own to look like they were going to run out easy winners. Shane Boland slotted over a free from a 45, followed by fine scores from play off the hurl of Corey Scahill and Sean Kenny.

Sean Regan went for goal on 11 minutes - but his effort was put out for a 65 which was converted by Boland it make it 0-5 to 0-1 with 14 minutes gone.

Louth hit back with two points from the reliable Geoghan to cut the gap to just two with 19 minutes left in the half and from then on it was tit for tat on the scoreboard as Louth began to get a foothold in the game.

Schaill pushed the gap back out to four finishing a great solo move, that was responded to by a fine score from Peter Brennan for the Wee county, before a brace of frees from Boland pushed Mayo four clear again.

Louth hit back with points from Geoghan and Feildhim Joyce to cut the gap to three with ten minutes to go in the half as the game started to get up to pace with Geoghan and Boland hitting pointed frees to leave Mayo two to the good with eight minutes to go in the half. They rounded off the scoring in the half through points from Sean Kenny and a long ranger from play by Boland to go in leading 0-11 to 0-7 at the break.

Mayo hit the ground running in the second half and tagged on three points inside the opening three minutes with a brace from Boland and Sean Regan’s first of the day. Seven minutes in Mayo hit the back of the net though a Cathal Freeman penalty. Corey Scahill was fouled as he broke for goal after being picked out by a great ball from Boland and Freeman made no mistake from the placed ball.

From then on it was all about building up as big of a lead as they could for Mayo as they eased home to victory, with Corey Scahill ratting home their second goal after being picked out by a brilliantly by Cathal Freeman from a quick free. The Castlebar man hit his second goal of the day with 12 minutes left to put Mayo into a 3-19 to 0-7 lead, with Louth getting their first score of the half through a Geoghan free with ten minutes left.

Over the next few minutes Louth outscored Mayo 0-3 to 0-1 with Darragh O’Hanrahan chipping in with two points and Geoghan to leave the score at 3-10 to 0-11 with time ticking down - for Mayo it was at this stage it was all about preparing for their all important final round robin game against Sligo as they try to get out of the group into the knock out stages.

There was some more welcome news for Mayo with Kenny Feeney making his return to action for the county and the Tooreen man drove the sliothar over the bar from distance with his first touch and added another before the death.

Louth did manage to get the ball into the back of the Mayo net before the end when Seaghan Connelly drove it home from close range - but it was far too little too late for the Wee county.

Scores

Mayo: S Boland (0-11, 6f, 1 65’ ), C Schaill (2-2 ) C Freeman (1-0, 1-0 pen ), S Regan (0-3 ), S Kenny (0-2 ), E Delaney (0-2 ), K Feeney (0-2 ), A Phillips (0-1 )

Louth: D Geoghan (0-8, 7f ), S Connelly (1-0 ), D O’Hanrahan (0-2, 1f ), P Brennan (0-1 ), J McDonnell (0-1 ), G McKeown (0-1 ), F Joyce (0-1 )

Mayo: S Leneghan; C Murray, C Daly, D Kenny; B Hunt, S Coyne, C Freeman; S Kenny, P Kiely; C Scahill, K Kiely, J Gallagher; S Boland, S Regan, A Phillips. Subs: E Delaney, K McDermott, C Higgins, K Feeney

Louth: R Byrne; A Smith, M Lyons, P Challoner; R McKeown, J Martin, J McDonnell; D O’Hanrahan, P Fallon; F Joyce, J Costelloe, P Brennan; D Geoghan, S Connelly, C Deane. Subs: G Smyth, S Hoey; G McKeown, M Fee,

Ref: John Keane (Galway )

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