Minors make their way past Sligo

GAA: Connacht Minor Football Championship; Mayo 2-12 Sligo 3-10

Pushing on: Paul Gilmore drives forward for Mayo against Sligo on Friday night. Photo: Mayo GAA

Pushing on: Paul Gilmore drives forward for Mayo against Sligo on Friday night. Photo: Mayo GAA

Mayo strode past Sligo in impressive style on Friday evening in Ballina to make it three wins from three in the Connacht Minor Football Championship.

This coming Friday evening they will be making their way to Tuam Stadium for their final round robin game of the competition, where a win will send them straight into the final - but even if they get turned over by the Tribesmen they’ll be the hat for the semi-final stage of the competition between the sides who finish in second and third place.

But that’s for another time - on Friday night Mayo and Sligo took part in a thrilling game of football where both sides went at it from the get go and looked to play play attacking football at every opportunity and the healthy crowd in James Stephens Park were treated to an enthralling evening of football.

Sligo took the lead early doors through a Cian Carty point after he cut right through the heart of the Mayo defence - it wouldn’t be the only time that Sligo got joy from such direct running. Mayo responded with three points on the spin - with Jack Keane getting the first two one from play and the other a free before Ronan Clarke got the first of his nine points for the evening from a mark, the Bohola Moy Davitts man put in an impressive showing once again in this game.

Ten minutes in Sligo netted their first goal of the evening when Eli Rooney finished after some strong running by Dillon Walsh. Mayo hit back almost instantly with Niall Hurley raising the green flag after Colm McHale had set off on a driving run to create the space for him to score. Zac Collins and Hurley followed that up with points - before Rooney responded for Sligo to have Mayo leading 1-5 to 1-2 at the 15 minute mark.

Ronan Niland cut the gap to two from a free on 17 minutes before Diarmuid Duffy replied for Mayo - but the game was soon to be all square again. Sligo full-back Tommy Ross was able to make his way up field and drive the ball home 21 minutes and it was 1-6 to 2-3 and the crowd were being suitably entertained.

Mayo though were in no mood to let Sligo back into the game and they reeled off four points on the bounce through a brace from both Keane and Clarke before Sligo got their next point from Rooney and the score was 1-10 to 2-4 in Mayo’s favour with five minutes left in the half.

But there was still time for plenty more scoring to be done. Clarke and Lorcan Silke pointed for Mayo before Niland replied for Sligo and just before the half time whistle Mayo got their second goal of the day through Zac Collins who finished off a move that saw Clarke pick him out. That put Mayo seven clear at the break on a score of 2-12 to 2-5.

The early stages of the second half saw Clarke hit a brace of points either side of a Niland effort. He could have got himself a goal in this period too, but his effort went just the wrong side of the post. Cathal Keaveney got in on the act for Mayo with a point before another Niland effort to leave Mayo 2-15 to 2-17 up with 43 minutes on the clock. Clarke pushed the lead out to nine with another pointed free.

But Sligo weren’t giving up the ghost and a Niland pointed free followed by their third goal of the evening from Cian Carty and another Niland point brought them right back into the game with seven minutes left on the clock.

It wasn’t to be for them though as Mayo upped the gears down the home straight with subs Dylan Gallaghr and Oisin Cronin pointing either side of a Liam Maloney effort followed by Clarke’s last score of the day.

The final act on the scoring front was left to both goalkeepers with Sligo’s Diarmuid Henry driving over a 45, but there was still time for David Dolan to step up and land a free from 50 meters for Mayo to round off the day’s scoring.

Scores

Mayo: Ronan Clarke (0-9, 5f 1m ), Niall Hurley (1-1 ), Zac Collins (1-1 ), Jack Keane (0-3 ), Liam Maloney (0-1 ), David Dolan (0-1, 1f ), Lorcan Silke (0-1 ), Oisin Cronin (0-1 ), Cathal Keaveny (0-1 ), Diarmuid Duffy (0-1 ), Dylan Gallagher (0-1 )

Sligo: Ronan Niland (0-6, 6f ), Eli Rooney (1-2 ), Cian Carty (1-1 ), Tommy Ross (1-0 ), Diarmuid Henry (0-1, 1 45 )

Mayo: David Dolan; Rio Mortimer, John MacMonagle, Lorcan Silke; Liam Maloney, Colm McHale, Paul Gilmore; Jack Keane, Luke Feeney; Rory Conway, Zac Collins, Diarmuid Duffy; Cathal Keavney, Ronan Clarke, Niall Hurley. Subs: Oliver Armstrong for Jack Keane, Dylan Gallagher for Luke Feeney, Tom Lydon for Cathal Keaveney, Oisin Cronin for Zac Collins, Sean O’Dowd for Rory Conway.

Sligo: Diarmuid Henry, Ronan O’Hehir, Tommy Ross, Daniel King; Rian O’Callaghan, Robert O’Kelly-Lynch, Aaron O’Hare; Ryan Gillespie, Dillon Walsh; Tom Bailey, Ronan Niland, Cian Carty; Gavin Lynch, Joe Campbell, Eil Rooney. Subs: Shea O’Neill for Aaron O’Hara, James Golden for Joe Campbell, Conor Flynn for Gavin Lynch.

Ref: Brendan Healy (Roscommon )

 

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