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Mayo move through the gears to eventually shrug off battling Banner

Clare couldn’t match the Connacht side in the second half.

Aidan O'Shea signs autographs for supporters.
Aidan O'Shea signs autographs for supporters.
Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Mayo 2-14

Clare 0-13

PLACED UNDER EXTREME pressure in the opening 20 minutes of their third round All-Ireland qualifier game in Ennis on Saturday evening, 2016 All-Ireland finalists Mayo eventually advanced without undue fuss.

Early second-half goals from Cillian and Diarmuid O’Connor were key to Mayo’s win, in front of an attendance of 11,576 in perfect conditions.

Those goals gave Mayo the cushion they needed and Clare were unable to maintain their high first-half work rate.

There was real belief amongst the home team’s supporters that a shock was on when they led 0-6 to 0-1 after 19 minutes. Gary Brennan was regularly cutting through from midfield, while Clare were showing commendable patience and intelligence in holding possession and not kicking the ball away needlessly.

Mayo’s Donal Vaughan was black carded in the fourth minute for a foul on Brennan, who was one of Clare’s early point scorers, along with David Tubridy, Eoin Cleary, Keelan Sexton and Jamie Malone. However Malone should have goaled in the 15th minute but his shot was diverted for a 45 by Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke.

Andy Moran kicked 0-3 from play for Mayo in that half but they trailed 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval. Three minutes after the restart, Joe Hayes saved smartly from Kevin McLoughlin but when Cillian O’Connor cut out a Martin McMahon free, he took the chance lethally and Mayo were up and running.

When Diarmuid O’Connor netted two minutes later the belief was visibly sucked from Clare. They lost key midfielder Cathal O’Connor to a leg injury, while Ciarán Russell was black carded early in the second half. Mayo’s Brendan Harrison and Clare’s Keelan Sexton were also black carded as the game ticked into injury time.

Lack of depth has cost Clare this season and just two of their eleven substitutes have started a league or championship game, which underlined the inexperience on their bench. In contrast Mayo were able to introduce the proven quality of Tom Parsons and Jason Doherty

Once Mayo put away those second-half goals, they were never in danger of losing a qualifier game for the first time since they were beaten by Longford in 2010.

Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor (1-5, 5f), Diarmuid O’Connor (1-1), Andy Moran (0-3), Kevin O’Loughlin (0-2), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Lee Keegan (0-1), Keith Higgins (0-1)

Scorers for Clare: David Tubridy (0-4f), Eoin Cleary (0-3, 2f), Keelan Sexton (0-2, 1 45), Gary Brennan (0-1), Jamie Malone (0-1), Seán Collins (0-1), Gearóid O’Brien (0-1)

Mayo:

1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
2.  Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
3. Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites)
4. Chris Barrett (Belmullet)
5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
18. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
8. Séamus O’Shea (Breaffy)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
7. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
25. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen).
14. Cillian O’Connor (captain – Ballintubber)
15. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina).

Subs:

22. Stephen Coen for Hollymount/Carramore for Donal Vaughan (4-BC),
24. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites) for Conor Loftus (48)
21. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) for Andy Moran (55)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown) for Seamus O’Shea (58)
10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for Diarmuid O’Connor (64)
26. Alan Dillon (Ballintubber) for Aidan O’Shea (67)

Clare:

1. Joe Hayes (Lissycasey) (2) Dean Ryan (Éire Óg)
3. Kevin Harnett (Meelick)
6. Gordon Kelly (St Joseph’s, Miltown Malbay)
4. Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
10. Jamie Malone (Corofin)
5. Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora)
8. Gary Brennan (captain – Clondegad)
9. Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)
12. Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare)
13. Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s, Miltown)
7. Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg)
11. Seán Collins (Cratloe)
15. Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
14. David Tubridy (Doonbeg)

Subs:
17. John Hayes (Kilrush) for Cathal O’Connor (49 inj),
18. Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis) for Ciáran Russell (40 BC)
26. Gearóid O’Brien (Kilrush) for Cian O’Dea (53).
23. Seanie Malone (St Joseph’s, Miltown) for Pearse Lillis (66)

Referee: Seán Hurson (Tyrone).

Stephen Rochford Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

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About the author:

Peter O'Connell

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