Minors look to keep up winning run

GAA: Connacht Minor Football Championship

Up and over: Ronan Clarke takes aim for Mayo against Roscommon. Photo: Mayo GAA.

Up and over: Ronan Clarke takes aim for Mayo against Roscommon. Photo: Mayo GAA.

The Mayo minors will look to keep up their 100 per cent record in the Connacht Minor Football Championship this evening when they take on Sligo in round three of the competition in James Stephens Park in Ballina.

Sean Deane's side backed up their win over Leitrim in round one a fortnight ago with a 0-16 to 1-11 win over Roscommon last Friday night in Hyde Park.

Deane put the same starting 15 out last week against Roscommon as he did the previous week and they had to survive playing with 14 men for the entire second half after James Maheady was shown a red card just before the turn-around.

Roscommon started that game like a whirlwind and were five points to the good after 12 minutes, but Mayo stuck to their task and when Jack Keane got the scoreboard ticking, Mayo were able to drive on to victory, levelling the game up at eight points each by the half time whistle - to lay the foundations of the win.

After Keane's first point for Mayo, Ronan Clarke kicked four first half points along with efforts from Niall Hurley and Liam Maloney to get Mayo motoring.

Despite being down to 14 men for the entire second half and hitting a number of early wides after the resumption, Mayo kept their heads. Roscommon went back in front early in the half, but David Dolan levelled the game up to settle Mayo back into it.

That score was followed by Niall Hurley landing a brace of points, with Clarke adding on another to his tally before Lorcan Silke made his way up the field to put Mayo 0-13 to 0-9 up just after the three quarters mark of the game. Both Clarke and Roscommon full forward Robert Heneghan exchanged points to keep the gap at four points, with ten minutes to go.

Roscommon kept going though and a goal from substitute John Curran brought the game right back into the melting pot as the final few minutes approached, but Mayo kept their cool down the home straight.

Clarke landed another score (finishing the day with seven points to his name ), then Mayo full back Jon MacMonagle found himself in the Roscommon danger area and fisted over a late point to keep Mayo just in front and they were able to hold on and see off the challenge of the Rossies' for two vital points.

Mayo's opponents claimed the minor title last year and have only one game under their belts so far in the championship this season. They were well beaten by an impressive looking Galway side last Friday night 4-12 to 0-8 in Sligo. Galway led that one 2-5 to 0-3 at the break and kept the pressure on in the second half, adding another 2-7 to their tally with Sligo and getting five points of their own down the closing stretch with their captain Ronan Niland in centre half forward leading the charge for them.


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