Following on from their heavy defeat last weekend in the first round of the Connacht Minor League last Friday night, Mayo picked up their first point in this years Connacht GAA Minor Football League.
On a day that was perfect for football at this time of year, both sides put in a performance that was far from perfect, with both sides kicking 13 wides each over the hour, but with a few months to go until the sides meet again in the semi-final of the Connacht Minor Football Championship in the same venue at the end of June, they’ll both have plenty of time to work out the kinks on the training field.
Mayo had lots of possession in the opening stages of the encounter, but they managed to send the ball wide over the end-line three times in the opening four miuntes. Leitrim opened the scoring four minutes in when corner forward Riordan O’Rourke slipped the ball between the uprights from a placed ball 35 meters out.
Mayo tied things up just after the ten minute mark thanks to a pointed 45’ from Evan O’Brien after Paul Lambert had gone close with a goal chance that was well saved by Darren Maxwell in the Leitrim goal.
Both sides kept racking up the wides, before Leo Ryan put Leitrim back into the lead with a long range effort after the corner back had wandered up from the full back line. Mayo tied things up at two points a piece after Oisín McLaughlin did well to hold off his man and fire over the ball, following some good build up play by himself and Evan O’Brien.
The hosts edged themselves back in front less than a minute later when O’Rourke kicked his second point from a close range free. With seven minutes to go to the break, Mayo had notched up their ninth wide of the game, but they tied it up not long after when Ross Egan pointed from a well rehearsed set play, where he took a quick free to McLaughlin who laid it back to Egan on the wrap around, before firing it over the bar. Four minutes from the break, they same two players tried the same move and it worked again and Mayo went into the lead for the first time. They stretched out the lead to two points after the won the ball back from the kick-out after Egan’s second point with Paul Lambert applying the finish.
Leitrim cut the gap back to a single point before the turn around thanks to a great score by Darragh Rooney, who cut the size five over the bar with the outside of his right boot from the right wing, to send Mayo in leading by five points to four at the break. By the time the sides had been called to the dressing room by referee Paul Daly, Mayo had kicked ten wides and Leitrim had also sent eight wayward balls over the endline.
The second half was a far more entertaining affair, while both sides still managed to add to their wide counts, they also played some much better football in a half that burst into life right from the throw in. Ethan Harkin who came in at half time made an immediate introduction levelling the game up early on. Darragh Rooney edged the home-side back into the lead with a nice score not long after, but it was level once more 60 seconds later thanks to a Colm Murphy score.
At the 40 minute mark, Mayo lead once more thanks to two scores, one from Murphy and another from Egan with Niall McGovern responding for their opponents. The closing 20 minutes of the contest was a nip and tuck affair with the biggest lead coming ten minutes from time when Mayo led 0-10 to 0-8 after scores from Murphy and sub Ethan Gibbons. The game was levelled up again by the 54th minute with Colm Kerinan and Niall McGovern kicking points for the hosts.
Three minutes from time Murphy kicked what looked like it was going to be the winning score from a free, but two minutes into injury time after a lot of pressure, Leitrim got the point their efforts deserved when sub Caleb Duffy was on hand to apply a nice finish after some good play by Colm Kiernan set up the chance.
It’s early days for both sides, but both management teams will be hoping to see a major improvement on their execution of scoring chances come summer time.
Mayo: C Murphy (0-4, 3f ), R Egan (0-3 ), P Lambert (0-1 ), O McLoughlin (0-1 ), E O’Brien (0-1, 1 45 ), E Gibbons (0-1 )
Leitrim: R O’Rourke (0-3, 3f ), D Rooney (0-2 ), N McGovern (0-2 ), L Ryan (0-1 ), E Harkin (0-1 ), C Duffy (0-1 ), C Kiernan (0-1 )
Mayo: P O’Malley; J Cunnane, J Maughan, C Horan; S Kenny, M Macken, K Kelly; C Murphy, N Moran; P Lambert, O McLaughlin, E O’Brien; S O’Malley, R Egan, T Conroy. Subs: C Hunt for M Macken (38 ), C Moran for R Egan (40 ), E Gibbons for S O’Malley (42 ), F Carr for N Noran (55 ).
Leitrim: D Maxwell; L Ryan, E Harkin, S Harkinl F Gallogly, J Gilheany, M Dolan; E Keegan, N McGovern; A McLoughlin, D Rooney, J Clancy; D O’Rourke, K McGovern, S Sweeney. Subs: C Duffy for E Keegan (29 ), E Harkin for J Glancy (30 ), S Chandler for A McLoughlin (39 ), C Kiernan for S Sweeney (42 ), C Kiernan for K McGovern (48 ),
Ref: P Daly (Roscommon )