Exiles see off Mayo challenge

GAA: National Hurling League Division 2B

London 3-13

Mayo 1-11

Mayo came up against a physically stronger and more clinical London side in McHale Park on Sunday afternoon. Christy Phillips men stuck manfully to their task over the 70 minutes going down by eight points in the end, but their visitors were just that bit stronger than them when it came to the crunch. With London only a matter of weeks away from their first round clash with Carlow in the Leinster senior hurling championship Eamon Phelan's men were well keyed up for this encounter. They went in at the break leading by 2-7 to 0-8. But whatever designs that Mayo had of mounting a second half comeback were wiped out four minutes after the restart when Tony Dunne broke from his right-half-forward position unmarked across park.He picked up a pass on the run and struck the ball back the way he was coming from past Donal O'Brien in the Mayo goal to the back of the net. That goal sealed any lingering doubts about the destination of the points on the day.

The visitors raced into a early two point lead with Tony Dunne and Gerard Hennelly landing points inside the first four minutes. Mayo pulled the game level by the ten minute mark thanks to two Kenny Feeney points, one from play and another from a free. Feeney was one of only two Mayo players to score on the day, alongside Sean Regan. Mayo's lack of punch upfront was a major cause of their downfall, with only two men scoring and two scores coming from play, never being a recipe for victory.

London plundered their first goal 13 minutes in to the contest, Tony Dunne drove the ball into corner forward Luke Hands, who despite not being able to catch the ball cleanly had time to pull on the ball and put it past O'Brien and his side into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead. Hennelly added on two more points from frees in the next few minutes and with 20 minutes on the clock, London landed their second goal and it looked like a rout could be on unless Mayo got to grips with the game. London's second goal came from Martin Duggan who blocked down Donal O'Brien's attempted clearance after he caught a ball that had dropped short under the crossbar. Duggan slammed the ball to the net from close range putting eight points between the sides.

Mayo did respond with Regan putting over two frees from the left hand side of the field to cut the game to six. That gap was further cut to four thanks to points from Regan and Feeney and Mayo were starting to believe in themselves again. London did respond with two more pointed frees from Hennelly, but the last worked in the half was left to Regan who slipped over another free to leave Mayo trailing at the break by 2-7 to 0-8. Regan opened the scoring in the second half with Mayo's ninth point, but that was as good as it really got for them as Dunne's goal all but sealed the win and London were able to keep Mayo off at a good arms length for the the rest of the game. Mayo did get their own goal late on when a long range Feeney free slipped through the grasp of John Grealish in the London goal, but it was all to little to late. Mayo will wrap up their league run, next Saturday away to Derry in Newry.

Mayo: D O'Brien; A Brennan, A Connolly, B Hunt; C Finn, P O'Flynn, D Horan; K Feeney (1-5,1-4f ), C Charlton; N O'Malley, L Cribbin, S Markham; S Hoban, S Regan (0-6, 5f ), D McTigue. Subs:S Morley for C Finn (27 ), D Gallagher for S Markham, B Lane for D Horan (67 )

London: J Grealish; PJ Rowe, D Healy, C McAlinden; T Dunne (1-2 ), D Maher, J Walsh; S Lambert, G Hill (0-1 ); G Hennelly (0-6,4f ), J Egan (0-1 ), H Vaughan; M Finn, M Duggan (1-2 ), L Hands (1-0 ). Subs: S Egan for T Dunne (47 ), E Cooney for S Lambert (55 ), D Barden for M Finn (57 ), S Frawley for G Hennelly (69 )

Ref: J Kane (Galway )


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