Mayo book semi-final spot with Galway

Connacht MFC QF

Mayo: 1-15

Leitrim: 1-5

Mayo made their way into next weekends semi-final of the Connacht Minor Championship with a ten point win over Leitrim in McHale Park on Saturday evening. After failing to take their chances in the first half, Mayo moved through the gears in the second half and ran out more than comfortable ten point winners and left manager Enda Gilvarry with a number of selection headaches ahead of next weeks game. Moy Davitts man Conor Byrne in particular came off the bench with with 50 minutes gone and helped himself to three points in the final ten minutes.

Leading by two at the break, Mayo wasted no time in extending their lead with Liam Irwin hitting two points along with scores from Val Roughneen and Darragh Doherty inside the opening nine minutes of the half and taking the fight out of Leitrim. Man of the match Michael Hall made the score 1-10 to 1-3 with 17 minutes left and the game was over as the Leitrim management scrambled to make changes on the line to try and get themselves back into the contest.

Byrne's shooting performance was the icing on the cake of Mayo's second half performance and the final word on the contest was left to captain and centre-half back Stephen Coen who finished off the scoring with a fine point following a powerful charge down the field in the final few seconds of the contest.

Mayo made hard work of things in the first half despite having a strong wind at their backs, kicking six wides in the opening 30 minutes and turning over possession in attack quite cheaply at times. They went in leading by 1-5 to 1-2 at the break. Mayo kicked hit two wides from Darragh Doherty before they plundered their first score of the game six minutes in through Tommy Conroy's goal. The Kiltane man's goal was a fortuitous strike, Cian Hanley played the ball into Brian Walsh, but the ball slipped through on the deck to Conroy who finished to the back of the net from close range. That score was followed up by a Liam Irwin point after he was played in by his club-mate and man of the match, Michael Hall.

Leitrim captain Cathal McCawley kicked his sides opening score from a free nine minutes in to respond for the visitors. The Drumkeerin man was one of only two Leitrim men to score for the day, kicking all of their points from frees over the 60 minutes. With 12 minutes gone in Mayo could have have grabbed their second goal when Brian Walsh was played in by Conroy, but Stephen McPartland pulled off a smart save. McCawley kicked his second point from a free shortly after, before Val Roughneen kicked Mayo's third point from a free after 23 minutes and it was quickly followed by by another Liam Irwin score off his left boot. The big Breaffy full forward made it 1-4 to 0-2 five minutes before the break from a close range free.

A minute later Darragh Doherty made up for a couple of early wides with a fine score from the wing and Mayo looked to be setting themselves up for an easy victory. But two minutes before the interval a long ball into the Mayo danger area by McCawley wasn't dealt with properly and Leitrim wing-forward Conor Gaffney pulled on the ball and send it to the back of Marc Mulligan's net, to leave only three points between the sides. Mayo manager Enda Gilvarry must have had strong words with his side at the break, because they came out a far hungrier and more efficient side in the second half.

Mayo: M Mulligan; E Doran, S Cunniffe, D Kenny; R Finn, S Coen (0-1 ), M Hall (0-1 ); V Roughneen (0-2 ), D O'Connor; (0-1 ) B Walsh, C Loftus, C Hanley; T Conroy (1-0 ), L Irwin (0-5,3f ); D Doherty (0-2 ).

Subs: S Burke for C Loftus (50 ), C Byrne (0-3 ) for T Conroy (50 ), P Prendergast for D Doherty (55 ), S Conlon for R Finn (58 )

Leitrim: S McPartland; L Ryan, B Nash, K McHugh; A McLoughlin, M Clancy, K Shanley; D Daly, K McWeeney; D Farrell, C Mc Cawely (0-5,5f ), C Gaffney (1-0 ); L Murphy, K Cox, B Cunningham.

Subs: S McGowan for K McHugh (28 ), M Plunkett for L Murphy (34 ), D McGovern for D Daly (36 ), C Keegan for K McWeeney (40 ), D Mulvey for B Nash (50 )

Ref: S Heir (Galway )


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