Despite getting off to a brilliant start Mayo were deservedly beaten by a will drilled Sligo side in the third round of the Connacht Minor Football Championship on Friday night in Sligo
Mayo lined out without full forward Frank Irwin for this round three Connacht Minor Football Championship - but it didn’t effect them early on as they raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after a quarter-of-an-hour.
Paul Walsh accounted for half of those scores himself and he opened the scoring inside the first minute. He won the ball down the right hand side and made a burst for goal, he hit the ball true and with purpose but Jack Teape got a hand to the ball to divert it over the bar.
Sligo’s centre-half-back Ciaran McKeon eased over a long range effort to level the game up three minutes in, but from there on Mayo took over for the next 15 minutes.
Walsh doubled Mayo’s tally with a neat score after being picked out by a long ball from goalkeeper Luke Jennings. Ethan Henry then stroked over a 45 with the minimum of fuss on eight minutes to put Mayo two clear.
Ten minutes in Mayo should almost hit the back of the net when Ciaran Mylett was the last man on the end of a brilliant move that was started by a fine Paddy Heneghan fetch in the middle of the park. Mylett cracked a shot goal wards but it crashed back off the bar, Mayo didn’t leave that attack empty handed as Henry struck his second of the day to put his side into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.
Tomas Morley’s side followed that up by scores from Ruairi Keane, Walsh and Rory Morrin to led by half-a-dozen points with 16 minutes gone.
Sligo hit a purple patch of their own over the next eight minutes reeling off five points without reply to close the gap to just one with five to go before the break Gavin Duffy and Oisin Gorman both raised the white flag in quick succession.
Then Eoghan Smith kicked two frees before Dylan Walsh fisted the ball over the bar to cut the gap back to the minimum when he could have went for goal to put his side into the lead.
Ciaran Mylett stemmed the tide for Mayo with a well taken score on 29 minutes, the Castlebar Mitchels man was picked out by Ronan Hughes and stood up his man before firing it over from 30 meters.
Hughes had just come in for Sam Callinan who was forced off after picking up an injury earlier in the game and Mayo were then forced to make a second change when Owen McHale was forced out of the game just before the break to be replaced by Mark Tighe.
On the stroke of half time Eoghan Smith kicked his third free of the half for the Yeats County men to cut the gap back to a single point at the short whistle with the visitors leading 0-8 to 0-7.
Mayo pushed their lead back out to three points inside the first two minutes of the second half with Ciaran Mylett kicking a point from play and another from a free. But from then on for the next ten minutes it was all Sligo as they kicked five points without reply to go into a two point lead.
Eoghan Smith kicked a neat free, then Oisin Gorman swept one over from play after Mayo failed to hold onto the ball to level it up, Lee Deignan beat two men to put Sligo in front for the first time and he then stretched that lead out to two points with an expertly taken score after being picked out in space by Gavin Duffy.
Ronan Hughes cut the gap back to a single point on 45 minutes with a good score, striking the ball as he fell under pressure - but Mayo were taking on serious water at this stage as Sligo began to dominate the game and they went back in front by two after Smith drove one over from downtown.
Just before the 50 minute mark Mayo had great goal chance when the ball was worked to Paddy Heneghan but his effort was brilliantly saved by Teape in the Sligo goal.
For the final ten minutes Sligo made sure that Mayo were not going to get back into this one and tagged on three more points from a brace from Smith and Deignan’s third of the half to go five clear as the game went into injury time.
Ronan Hughes kicked a free for Mayo to bring the gap back to four and Conor Reid did have a late goal chance but Teape stood strong and Sligo ran out deserved four point winners.
Mayo: C Mylett (0-3, 1f ), Paul Walsh (0-3 ), E Henry (0-2, 1 45 ), R Hughes (0-2 ), R Morrin (0-1 ), R Keane (0-1 )
Sligo: E Smith (0-7, 6f ), L Deignan (0-3 ), O Gorman (0-2 ), C McKeon (0-1 ), J Davitt (0-1 ), G Duffy (0-1 ), D Walsh (0-1 )
Mayo: L Jennings; E Murphy, O Tunney, R Keane; E Gilmore, A Cosgrove, O McHale; S Callinan, E Henry; P Walsh, P Henneghan, D Thornton; R Morrin, J Grady, C Mylett. Subs: R Hughes, M Tighe, S Dempsey, R Walsh, C Reid
Sligo: J Teape; S Muldowney, M Connolly-McGowan, O Hynes; C Mulligan, C McKeown, C Finn; J Kearney, J Lavin; D Walsh, E Smith, J Davitt; L Deignan, O Gorman, G Duffy. Subs: C Matthews, J Davis, K Feely
Ref: P Guckian (Leitrim )