Mayo stroll home in Salthill shoot-out

GAA: Connacht SFC

Mayo 4-16

Galway 0-11

One victory doesn't make a summer and James Horan won't be letting his side get carried away on the back of Sunday's result. But it's win that will live long in the memory of the Mayo's who made up the larger part of the 16,243 fans who paid into the seaside venue. First half goals from Cathal Carolan, Enda Varley and Donal Vaughan had the game over as contest before Galway knew what has happing to them. Mayo over powered them all over the park and forced Galway into countless turnovers and gifting Mayo possession which they put to good use on scoreboard. This was victory backboned, by hard work on the field and on the training field. Long before throw-in, word had leaked out that there would be two changes to Mayo's starting line-up, the most high profile being the return to action of Alan Dillon. The Ballintubber man bookended his day, by scoring the first score of the game and getting a standing ovation from the Mayo faithful as he left the field in the 56th minute. If the ovation that Dillon got wasn't rousing enough, the Mayo supporters turned the volume knob up a couple of extra notches when Andy Moran made his return to the field with ten minutes left. The Ballaghaderreen man the proceeded to complete the route with Mayo's fourth goal in stoppage time and complete the Hollywood comeback.

Mayo hit the ground running form the word go, with Kevin McLoughlin playing a staring role from the very beginning. The Knockmore man won the breaks from three of the first Galway kick outs and had a hand in all of Mayo's first three points in the opening seven minutes. Alan Dillon, got the Mayo scoreboard ticking over two minutes in, he was quickly followed by points from Donal Vaughan and Cillian O'Connor. By the 15 minute mark Mayo were leading by 0-5 to 0-3, but Galway were clinging on trying to stop being swept away by the Mayo wave that was coming right for them. The first goal arrived in the 15h minute, when championship debutant Cathal Carolan pulled on the ball on the deck and after Cillian O'Connor combined with Alan Freeman to get in Mayo in behind Galway's last line. O'Connor who scored six points over the 70 minutes had a hand in all four of Mayo's goals on the day.

Mayo's second goal came from the boot of Enda Varley 30 minutes in, when he drove the ball right footed past Manus Breathnach at his near post to put Mayo into a 2-8 to 0-4 lead and kill the game as contest there and then. Mayo were dominant all over the park, winning the kick-out battle easily, by playing the ball to the wings from their own and Aidan and Seamus O'Shea turning over Galway kick-outs that were directed straight down the middle of the park. Varley kicked a quick fire point shortly after his goal and a minute before the break, Mayo plundered their third to knock, whatever fight was left in Galway out cold before they could get in and regroup at half time.

The second half started off with Galway going down to 14 men when Garth Bradshaw was shown a straight red card after getting involved with Cathal Carolan. Galway finished the game with 13 men when Niall Coleman was also given a straight red for an off the ball incident involving Alan Dillon in the 51st minute.

As a contest the second half was more of an extended training run and a pep rally combined as the Mayo supporters rose to their feet to acknowledge the efforts shown by their players, notably the introduction of Moran and the withdrawal of Dillon. Horan also used the half as a chance to blood the likes of Darren Coen and James Burke who made their first championship appearances for Mayo during the closing stages. While others like the always impressive Colm Boyle and Keith Higgins kept driving Mayo on from the back. Boyle has become a real leader of this team over the past year and he put in another impressive shift at centre-half-back, keeping the best that Galway had to offer at bay. And when Galway did get in for a goal chance on two occasions, David Clarke stood tall and strong to repel efforts from Ó'Curraion and Danny Cummins. The Mayo show roles on home McHale Park on June 16 for the Connacht semi-final against Roscommon.

Scores:

Mayo: C O'Connor (0-6, 4f ), E Varley (1-3 ), D Vaughan (1-1 ), C Carolan (1-0 ) A Moran (1-0 ), A Dillon (0-2 ), A Freeman (0-1 ), L Keegan (0-1 ), R Feeney (0-1 ), D Coen (0-1 )

Galway: M Meehan (0-5, 3f,1 45 ), D Cummins (0-2 ) S Armstrong (0-2,2f ), S Walsh (0-1 ), P Conroy (0-1 )

Mayo: D Clarke, T Cunniffe, K Higgins, G Cafferkey; L Keegan, C Boyle, D Vaughan; A O'Shea, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, C O'Connor, C Carolan; E Varley, A Freeman, A Dillon. Subs: S McHale for G Cafferkey (HT ), R Feeney for A Freeman (53 ), D Coen for A Dillon (56 ), J Burke for L Keegan (59 ), A Moran for C Carolan (61 ), J Gibbons for A O'Shea (68 )

Galway: M Breathnach; J Duane, C Forde, G Sweeney; G Bradshaw, K Kelly, G Sice; N Coleman, F O'Curraoin; T Flynn, P Conroy, C Doherty; S Armstrong, M Meehan, D Cummins. Subs: S Walsh for C Doherty (22 ), J Moore for G Sweeney (HT ), G O'Donnell for S Armstrong (43 ), E Concannon for M Meehan (61 ), M Martin for G Sice (61 )

Ref: M Duffy (Sligo )

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