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Lee Keegan said that he “absolutely” meant to loop the ball over Paul Durcan’s head and into the top corner of the net three minutes into the second half. As soon as the green flag was raised by the umpires, Mayo were on their way to a fifth All Ireland semi-final in a row. That goal put seven points between the sides and it was a matter of seeing out the game from there on in.
After every victory, no more than after every loss in a football game, people look for something to take out of it and work on for the next game. Scoring 6-25 in a provincial final win makes everything appear rosy on the the attacking side. But questions are also asked about the quality of the team you have just beaten. Add in the fact that you also conceded 2-11 to a team you were so far ahead of on the field of play, to go with the 2-8 you shipped against Galway in the Connacht semi-final win, and the attention on Mayo has switched to their potential defensive frailties.
Mayo used 21 players yesterday on the field in their historic win over Sligo as they picked up their fifth Connacht title on the bounce, we run our eye over the performance of all those 21 players.
Mayo have made two changes for Sunday's Connacht final clash with Sligo from the team that lined out against Galway in Pearse Stadium in their semi-final win in Salthill five weeks ago. Back into the starting line up comes Ger Cafferkey and Donal Vaughan, with the Ballinrobe man wearing the number three shirt and Cafferkey the number two jersey. Whether both men actually play in those positions on Sunday remains yet to be seen, with Cafferkey normally occupying the full back position. Out of the side have gone Belmullet's Chris Barrett and Westport's Kevin Keane, Keane missing out after he picked up an injury in last Sunday's A v B game in Elverys MacHale Park.
Cillian O'Connor has won his race to be fit for the start of the championship and has been named at full forward for Sunday's showdown with Galway. Former team captain, Andy Moran has also returned to the starting 15 and will line out at corner forward with Jason Doherty in the opposite corner to Moran.
The time is nigh. Mayo will put their Connacht championship on the line when they travel to Salthill in Galway to take on the home side in the Connacht semi-final on Sunday. It has been 10 weeks since we watched the green and red in competitive action, but the time seems to have just dwindled away, such was the anticipation about what may unfold in Salthill.
It’s been a long wait and it's nearly over. Since Mayo last tasted competitive action almost every other county has been involved in championship action, with Sligo the only side to have not got their summer underway by the time Mayo throw in against Galway on Sunday. This will be the first proper test of the Holmes and Connelly management ticket in the white heat of championship action and they couldn’t have asked for a more traditional joust than a meeting with Galway in their own back yard.
The Connacht Championship will throw-in, in three weeks time when Galway cross the Atlantic to take on New York, but Mayo are now in a holding pattern for the next nine weekends, until they in all probability take on Galway in Pearse Stadium in the Connacht semi-final. By that stage the Tribesmen should have two wins under their belts as they are down to face Leitrim a fortnight after their Big Apple adventure.
Mayo could be without one of their key attackers for their meeting with Dublin next Saturday night, joint manager Noel Connelly revealed on Sunday after his teams win over Derry in Celtic Park.
The last time Mayo faced Monaghan in the National Football League was four years ago, they lost out to the Ulster men by two points in the village of Inniskeen. Mayo’s visit back then to the home of Patrick Kavanagh gave them plenty of food for thought and set them off on an adventure that would see them reach two All Ireland finals and two All Ireland semi-finals over the next four summers.