Mayo booked their place on the plane to the Big Apple in October in McHale Park on Friday evening after a comfortable win over a NUIG in the FBD home final. The foundation blocks to the win were laid in the first half where Mayo went in leading by 0-8 to 0-3 at the break. James Horan made four changes from the side who started against Roscommon last Sunday, with Ger Cafferkey, Aidan O'Shea, Andy Moran and Peader Gardiner coming into the starting 15 for this contest.
The students did open the scoring with Shane Moran fisting the ball over the bar on the run after three minutes, Mayo had managed to spurn two scoring chances in the few minutes before that with both Pat Harte and Conor Mortimer missing the target.
It took Mayo ten minutes to get their first score on the board and came from the boot of Alan Freeman who kicked a free over from the left hand side close in. The Aghamore attacker who has been on O'Byrne cup duty with DIT earlier in the month was in very good form for Mayo in this contest and was a thorn in the NUIG defence for long periods. Freeman kicked Mayo's second point from another placed ball, a minute before they were denied what looked to be a stone wall penalty. Alan Dillon scythed his way through the NUIG defence and was taken out by what looked like a late challenge to the majority of the crowd in attendance, but play was waved on by referee Michael Duffy. Neil Douglas got a point back for NUIG with a sharp finish on the turn, but Mayo were about to turn the screw on the students. Freeman pointed again from play after a neat one-two with Conor Mortimer.
Then Andy Moran came into the game and kicked two points in the space of two minutes, the second point a very good score where he cut in from the end-line, before making an angle for himself to put it over the bar. With 20 minutes on the clock, Conor Mortimer got in on the act and shot the ball over the bar with his right boot as he was being forced away from goal. Three minutes later he added another point from a free. NUIG did pull a point back before the break with Fiachra Deasmhunaigh getting his name on the scorecard, before the half came to an end after Andy Moran landed his third and probably the point of the game. Richie Feeney made a break down the left flank and was spotted by Pat Harte who pinged the ball into his hands. The Castlebar man broke towards goal and drew in the defenders before he laid the ball off to Moran who applied the necessary finish.
The second half started off much the same as the first with the students tasting first blood with a point form Deasmhunaigh, but that was as good as it got for them and their manager John Maughan as they didn't register another score for the rest of the game. In the 42nd minute the game sparked back into life and Mayo kicked three points on the bounce, first Mortimer kicked a free, then Barry Moran put over another before McLoughlin added one to put Mayo into a 0-11 to 0-4 lead, but in reality the second half of this contest lacked any real bite or feel of a contest. Mortimer added on two more points for Mayo before the end as both side ran their benches, before Lee Keegan landed a point that brought the game to an end.
At the end of the FBD League, it's job done for Mayo four wins from four games. James Horan got to give a number of players a chance to show their stuff ahead of the start of the national league next weekend. But a lot bigger tests and challenges than NUIG are in front of them over the next couple of months.
Mayo: D Clarke; K Higgins, G Cafferkey, L Keegan (0-1 ); P Gardiner, D Vaughan, R Feeney; B Moran (0-1 ), A O'Shea; K McLoughlin, (0-1 ) A Dillon, P Harte; A Freeman (0-4,3f ), A Moran, (0-3 ) C Mortime 0-4, 3f )r. Subs: S 'O' Shea, C O'Connor, C Boyle, E Regan, E Reilly.
NUIG:D O'Sullivan; L Healy, D Gavin, K McDonald; J Moore, G Sweeney, R Kiely; S Guing, S Moran (0-1 ); F Deasmhunaigh (0-2 ), S Gilmartin, K Conroy; N Douglas (0-1,1f ), J Doherty, I Galvin. Subs: S McWeeney, K Conlon, C Griffin, R Rochford, K Crowe.
Ref: Ml Duffy (Sligo )