When Mayo went into the dressing room three points up at half time on Sunday, they would have been reasonably pleased with their performance up to that stage. But never in their wildest dreams would they have imagined that Galway would forget to come out for the second half. From the moment the ball was thrown in to get the second period underway until Nial Coyne managed to kick a point 21 minutes later, Mayo were totally dominant all over the field.
Jason Doherty who has impressed with his club, college and underage Mayo sides over the past few years was given his shot on Sunday. The Burrishoole man took the chance and ran with it. He finished up the day with 2-1 to his name. His first goal came 21 minutes in, Kevin McLoughlin floated the ball into Doherty's path 45m out from goal. Doherty turned and burst for goal, without a Galway player putting a finger on him he ate up the ground before he placed his shot low to the back of the net to put Mayo into the lead for the first time in the game. Doherty claimed his second goal of the contest eleven minutes into the second half when he latched on to a pass from Chris Barrett who had made his way downfield from defence. Doherty cut a dash across the goalmouth before his dispatched the ball to the back of the net with ease. The Burrishoole man wasn't finished there and less than a minute later he clipped the ball over the bar to put Mayo into a 2-11 to 0-7 lead and seal the points for James Horan's men.
With both sides languishing around the foot of the table before throw in, this game had been built up as a potential relegation four-pointer during the week. It was the tribesmen who started the game the brightest and eleven minutes in they were three points to the good with Joe Bergin opening the scoring after seven minutes of action where both sides had missed chances and dropped efforts short into the goalkeepers hands. Cormac Bane kicked the next two points for Galway one from a free and another from play. Mayo struck back with points from Alan Dillon and Andy Moran coming within sixty seconds of each other. With 13 minutes gone, Galway were presented the first of two good goal opportunities the got in the first half. Sean Armstrong played in Danny Cummins who shot for goal only for Robert Hennelly to pull off a top class save. Armstrong pointed the resulting 45 to put Galway back into a two point lead. With 15 minutes on the clock Alan Dillon and Armstrong swapped points from placed balls as the tit for tat nature of the game continued.
Aidan Campbell who put in a good shift again on Sunday had a chance to bag a goal for Mayo, but his effort was tipped over the bar for a point. A couple of minutes later Doherty made his first major intervention in the game to put Mayo into the lead, as the the fist half wound down both sides kept up the tempo and added on a few points to their total to leave Mayo going in at the break leading by 1-7 to 0-7. Galway did have a second goal chance before the end when substitute Eoin Concannon got in around the back of the Mayo defence, but as he went to pull the trigger his lost his footing and didn't connect properly with the ball and the chance was lost.
When the second half got underway, Mayo just took control of the game and didn't let up until the game was well and truly decided. Inside the opening four minutes, Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan Campbell and Alan Dillon had pushed Mayo into a six point lead . Doherty was next to chip with his second goal and his point to put Mayo even further in front, other scores from Aidan Campbell and Kevin McLoughlin had Mayo leading by 2-13 to 0-7 at one stage. Aidan O'Shea was the last Mayo man to get on the score sheet when he tapped over a free with eleven minutes to go. Galway did hit a bit of scoring run in the final minutes, kicking four points on top of the earlier effort from
Niall Coyne to try and put some form of respectability on the scoreboard, but it was too little to late for the tribesmen.
Mayo: R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, A Feeney, C Barrett; R Feeney, J Burke; J Killcullen, R McGarrity; A Campbell, A Dillon, K McLoughlin; A O'Shea, A Moran, J Doherty. Sub: C Hallinan, T Parsons, J Moran, P Gardiner, Lee Keegan.
Galway: P Lally; A Burke, C Forde, D Reilly; G O'Donnell, F Hanley, K Brady; P Conroy, E Hoare; J Bergin, C Bane, G Sice; S Armstrong, D Cummins, C Kenny. Subs O Concannon, D O'Reilly, D Blake, D Mullahy. N Coyne.