Just 15 days out from the start of the championship against Sligo, John O'Mahony got the chance to run his eye over his championship hopefuls for the third time in six days, and his hopefuls delivered a third win from three. Each fit member of Mayo's championship panel got a run out over the seventy minutes in Hollymount on front of a large crowd of supporters in the south Mayo venue. While you can never read to much into a challenge game, there were a number of key indicators as to the potential make up of Mayo's starting 15 for June 5. Barry Moran lined out at full forward again and put in a good shift, winning pleanty of ball and linking up well with the other forwards, Tom Cunniffe started at centre half back and was solid and put in a number of good attacking breaks during his 55 minutes. Trevor Howley started at corner back once again, while Keith Higgins lined out in the other corner. Billy Joe Padden was handed the centre half forward shirt and linked up the play nicely on a few occasions.
Tom Parsons and Ronan McGarrity were paired at midfield, but much like last week against Cavan Parsons spent a lot of the first half covering back in front of his full back line before he was replaced by Seamus O'Shea at the break. Alan Freeman got the nod at number 15 and was very impressive during the 35 minutes he was given, hitting three points from play.
A win is always welcome ahead of a championship game, and while the game was played at a quick pace, the lack of championship intensity in the physicality stakes when challenges were being put in around the park kept may not have been the ideal preparation for Mayo ahead of their visit to the Yeats county, were Sligo will surly try to lay down a marker early on.
At the break Mayo led by 1-9 to 0-4, the goal coming from Trevor Mortimer after 19 minutes which put Mayo into a six point lead. A diagonal ball into the right hand corner was won by Alan Freeman who used his body well to role his marker off him, the Aghamore man then made a break towards the goal but smartly hand passed the ball into the air where the on rushing Mortimer palmed the ball to the back of the net finishing off a nice move. Freeman was one of the stand out performers in the first half for Mayo winning a lot of possession under close attention from the Dublin defence and using it smartly. Conor Mortimer landed four points for Mayo in the opening period, three of them from frees, and fine effort from play after Barry Moran claimed a ball played in from midfield, before laying it off to Mortimer who had made a looping run around Moran's back to pick up possession facing the goal-wards. Mayo's other scores came from a Andy Moran brace, he opened the scoring from a free early on and his second effort saw him charge from the 45 before fisting the ball over the bar. Moran was a constant presence throughout the game for Mayo always willing to be used as an out ball and could be heard encouraging his side on throughout.
Dublin had almost as much of the ball in the opening half as Mayo had, but poor shooting combined with poor passing let them down as the Mayo defence worked hard to close them down at every chance. Conal Keaney kicked three points for the vistors with Eamon Fennell and Bernard Brogan chipping in with one each and David Henry scoring a brace.
Both managers used the half time break to ring the changes with John O'Mahony introducing four subs and Pat Gilroy half a dozen, but the course of the game didn't change from the first half. Mayo took most of their chances, while Dublin looked that little bit off the boil. Of the Mayo substitutes, Mark Ronaldson made the biggest impression, spraying a number of neat passes to his team mates, while Aidan O'Shea and Barry Moran were given some game time together in the full forward line before Moran was replaced by club mate Neil Douglas, who kicked a point within minutes of coming on. The last ten minutes of the game saw the pace slow down as the result was a forgone conclusion at that stage and the Dubs clipped over a couple of points. In the closing stages Kenneth O'Malley showed his shot stopping skills reacting very well to save and effort from Thomas Quinn from close in. There are far bigger and tougher challenges on the horizon for Mayo, but a win can only be positive as the build up to Sligo continues.
Mayo: A Moran (0-5,1f ), C Mortimer (0-5, 4f ), A Freeman (0-3 ), R McGarrity, B Moran, S O'Shea, N Douglas, M Ronaldson (0-1 ) each
Dublin: C Keaney (0-4 ), B Brogan (0-3, 2f ), D Henry (0-2 ), K McMenamon, T Quinn, A Hubbard, E Fennell (0-1 ) each.
Mayo: D Clarke; T Howley, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Gardiner, T Cunniffe, K McLoughlin, T Parsons, R McGarrity; A Moran, BJ Padden, T Mortimer; C Mortimer, B Moran, A Freeman. Subs: E Varley for A Freeman (HT ), P Harte for T Morimter (HT ), S O'Shea for T Parsons (HT ), L O'Malley for K McLoughlin, A O'Shea for C Mortimer (50 mins ), M Ronaldson for BJ Padden (50 mins ), K Conroy fo T Cunniffe (55 mins ), S Nally for P Gardiner (55 mins ), A Feeney for G Cafferkey (63 mins ), N Douglas for B Moran (65 mins ), K O'Malley for D Clarke (65 mins )
Dublin: S Cluxton; P Conlon, R O'Connell, M Fitzsimons; D Bastick, G Brennan, C O'Sullivan; R McConnell, E Fennell; D Henry, M McAuley, N Corkery; C Keaney, B Brogan, K McMenamon. Subs: J McCarthy for P Conlon (HT ), D Connolly for K McMenamon (HT ), P Burke for N Corkery (HT ); T Quinn for M McAuley (HT ), P McMahon for M Fitzsimons (HT ), A Hubbard for B Brogan (HT ), N Corkery for D Bastick (64 mins ), K McMenamon for D Henry (64 mins ), B Brogn for E Fennell (68 mins )
Ref: Oliver Kelly (Roscommon )