Mayo exited the Nicky Rackard Cup despite a brave fight back from 12 points down at half time against Sligo to grab a draw, but it wasn’t enough for them to make it through to the semi-finals of the competition.
Two goals from Sligo’s star man Gerard O’Kelly Lynch inside the opening four minutes spelt disaster for Mayo, one that they never recovered from and cost them dearly at the end.
O’Kelly-Lynch opened the scoring inside the first minute when he reacted quickest to the shot from Kevin Banks that dropped short and pulled on it to put it past Stephen Leneghan.
Keith Raymond drove over a 65 to two minutes later and 60 seconds later the game looked to be gone from Mayo when O’Kelly-Lynch drove home his and Sligo’s second goal. Rory McHugh almost got in for a third goal nine minutes in, but his effort was diverted up and over the bar by Leneghan.
Mayo got on the scoreboard ten minutes through a Shane Boland free, that was followed by long range placed ball from Cathal Freeman as Mayo looked to get back into the game. But Sligo were not for turning and outscored Mayo by 0-10 to 0-5 for the rest of the half with Raymond in fine form from placed balls, while Mayo struggled to to convert the chances they created with Boland’s free taking keeping them somewhat in touch.
Trailing by 2-13 to 0-7 at the break it was going to take something special from Mayo to get back into this one and pick up the win they needed to make the final four of the competition.
They were a much different beast in the second half and Boland both form play and placed balls saw them eat into the lead as the game went on - they were still trailing by five with time almost up, Adrian Phillips hit a fine score to cut the gap back to four, but Sligo responded with only their third point of the second half from sub Andrew Kilcullen.
Mayo had the momentum and kept going, Boland brought it back to a four point game - then three minutes into injury time Phillps collects the ball inside the danger area and hammered it home to the back of the net making it a one point game.
Kenny Feeney who was not long into the action drove over a long range free to level it up a minute later and their was still time for Mayo. The same man had a chance to win it from a 65 albeit from a tough angle and the sliothar slipped just wide.
Not long after the full time whistle blew and with it Mayo’s championship season came to an end.
Mayo: S Boland (0-10, 7f ), A Phillips (1-3 ), S Kenny (0-2, 1f 1 65’ ), S Regan (0-2 ), K Feeney (0-1 ), C Freeman (0-1, 1f ),
Sligo: G O’Kelly-Lynch (2-2 ), K Raymond (0-6, 2 65’, 1f, ), G Cadden (0-2 ), S Crowley (0-2 ), R McHugh (0-1 ), A Kilcullen (0-1 ), J Starr (0-1 ), C Griffin (0-1 )
Mayo: S Leneghan; C Murray, C Daly, S Mulroy; B Hunt, D Kenny, C Freeman; K McDermott, S Kenny; S Regan, K Kiely, P Kiely; S Boland, A Phillips, C Scahill. Subs: D Huane, E Delaney, P O’Flynn, J Galagher, K Feeney.
Sligo: M Burke; J Weir, N Feehily, K O’Kennedy; K Banks, R Cox, R McHugh; K Reymond, J Starr; K Gilmartin, C Griffin, S Crowley; G Cadden, G O’Kelly-Lynch, B Shannon. Subs: M Gordon, T O’Kelly-Lynch, K Prior, A Kilcullen, N McDermott.
Ref: S Stack (Dublin )