Midlands journey for Mayo in final group game

Ladies Football: National Football League

Two for Tamara: Tamara O'Connor kicked two points for Mayo last weekend in Ballybofey. Photo: Sportsfile

Two for Tamara: Tamara O'Connor kicked two points for Mayo last weekend in Ballybofey. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo will make the journey to the midlands this weekend looking to get back to winning ways against Westmeath, following their narrow defeat to Donegal last weekend in Ballybofey.

Michael Moyles' side currently stand in second place in Division 1A of the Ladies National Football League, with one win from two - the same as Galway who joined them on that standing last weekend following a big win over Mayo's opponents this time around.

Mayo will take on Westmeath in St Lomans' Park in Mullingar on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

Donegal are top of the standings after wins over both Mayo and Westmeath and will take on Galway this weekend, in a game that could have major significance in regard to Mayo making the semi-final stages of the competition.

If Mayo and Donegal win their games, both will progress to the final four of the competition, whereas if Mayo and Galway win - it will leave three teams tied on six points each at the end of the group stages and the deciding factor of who makes it into the final four coming down to scoring difference.

After Mayo's loss to Donegal they currently have a scoring difference of -2, with Donegal having +12 and Galway +17 following a big win over Westmeath last time out. The simplest route of progression for Mayo to the final four is for themselves and Donegal to win, taking Galway out of the equation, but should Mayo's southern neighbours get over Donegal and Mayo win, it will all come down to scoring difference as to who makes it through.

Last weekend Mayo fell to a three point loss to Donegal in Ballbofey, going down on a score of 1-11 to 0-11 in the Ulster venue.

Donegal captain Niamh McLaughlin netted a decisive penalty in the game, which had been touch-and-go until McLaughlin’s penalty in the 48th minute. Karen Guthrie was hauled down and McLaughlin beat Aisling Tarpey with a well executed penalty.

The goal put Donegal, who had been a point down, into the driving seat and Guthrie – who scored six points – quickly added a brace to seal victory for Maxi Curran’s side.

Early frees from Niamh Hegarty and Karen Guthrie steadied the home side, but Shauna Howley and Rachael Kearns responded for Mayo and after a superb score by Niamh Kelly, the electric Kearns might have buried a goal after 11 minutes. The Mac Hale Rovers forward, after rounding three Donegal players, saw her shot pushed over the crossbar by home goalkeeper Aoife McColgan.

Donegal were thankful again for McColgan just after the water break as she held onto Sinead Cafferkey’s low drive. Guthrie clipped over Donegal’s first score in 14 minutes from a free and they were level again when Hegarty fired over - after Niamh McLaughlin, the captain, was fouled. With the final kick of the half, Kearns punted over a 40m free for a 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead for Mayo.

After Suzanne White, who came on midway through the first period, prodded over for the hosts, McColgan’s intervention was needed again, this time to deny Kearns with a cracking save. Hegarty, picked out by a deadly pass from Niamh McLaughlin, put Donegal in front, but wing-back Tamara O’Connor curled over a pair of delicious points for Mayo. The pendulum swung for the hosts when Niamh McLaughlin fired to the net and Donegal saw out the win.

 

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