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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 22 November, 2017
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O'Connor brothers hit the net as Mayo open up their campaign with 9-point win over Sligo

It was a far from clinical performance from last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Mayo 2-14
Sligo 0-11

Colm Gannon reports from Elverys MacHale Park

MAYO DID WHAT they were expected to do on the scoreboard and saw off the challenge of Sligo by nine points in the end in MacHale Park on Sunday evening, but it was a far from clinical performance from last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists.

With five minutes to go they were leading their northern neighbours by just three points, but over the remaining five minutes plus five more of injury time they hit a tiring Sligo for 1-4 to 0-1.

Mayo’s second goal put the game beyond doubt when Cillian O’Connor flicked the ball to the net from close range after a quick footed run by sub Conor Loftus. Further points were added on by Danny Kirby and Jason Doherty in that scoring run – after O’Connor’s goal, along with two more points for the Ballintubber man.

Sligo stuck with Mayo right up to the closing stages of this one with Adrian Marren and Mark Breheny accounting for six of Niall Carrew’s sides 11 points, while they were just a goal away from making Mayo really sweat in this game as it headed into it’s closing exchanges they never really looked like they were going to be able to put one past David Clarke.

Aidan O’Shea started the game on the bench and the Breaffy man came on for a ten minute cameo as a blood sub to replace Diarmuid O’Connor early in the second half. When the Ballintubber man was fit to come back on O’Shea got a two minute rest before he was brought back into the action to replace Andy Moran for the rest of the game.

Mayo went in leading by four points at the break, but the scoreboard flattered the home-side who put in a very lackluster opening half. Diarmuid O’Connor’s fantastic goal on 35 minutes gave them the cushion they would have hoped for going into the second half, but Sligo will have felt short changed by the 1-6 to 0-5 score on the board.

Sligo hit the front from the throw in with Stephen Coen firing over an impressive score inside the opening 20 seconds of the game. Mayo levelled it up two minutes later through a Cillian O’Connor free and less than a minute later Andy Moran hit a sublime effort to edge the home side in front for the first time.

The Yeats men hit back not long after with Coen landing his second of the day, this time with a fine effort of his left and from the resulting kick-out Sligo won possession back and Adrian Marren kicked his first point of the day to put Niall Carew’s men back into the lead. Marren had a chance to stretch that lead out a bit more, not long after but his effort dropped short of the target.

Mayo’s lack of a left footed free taker cost them on the ten minute mark when Kevin McLoughlin pulled what looked a simple enough close range effort wide on the near side, but the Knockmore man made up for it not long after with a well taken score after Andy Moran knocked the ball into his path.

Sligo were having plenty of possession, but they hit six wides in the opening half and dropped another two short and that cost them badly come the end of the half. They did go back in front through a Mark Breheny free on 11 minutes, but Mayo responded with a well taken point by Patrick Durcan and a Cillian O’Connor free ten minutes before the turn around. Marren did tie it up at five points apiece not long after O’Connor’s point, but they failed to score for the rest of the half with the Mayo captain kicking his third pointed free of the day on 33 minutes and two minutes later his brother barrelled through the Sligo defence to fire the ball under Aidan Devaney to send Mayo in leading 1-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Scores for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor (1-6, 5f), Diarmuid O’Connor (1-0), Andy Moran (0-2), Fergal Boland (0-2), Patrick Durcan (0-1), Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Jason Doherty (0-1), Danny Kirby (0-1)

Scores for Sligo: Adrian Marren (0-4, 2f, 1 45), Mark Breheny (0-2, 2f), Stephen Coen (0-2), Aidan Devaney (0-1, 1f), Patrick O’Connor (0-1), Niall Murphy (0-1)

Mayo

1.David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)

2.Chris Barrett (Belmullet)
3. Ger Cafferky (Ballina Stephenites)
4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)

5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
6. Lee Keegan (Westport)
7. Patrick Durcan ( Castlebar Mitchels)

8. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)

10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
12. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy)

13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
14. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
15. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)

Subs: 23. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) for McLoughlin, 22. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy) for Diarmuid O’Connor (Blood Sub), 22. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy) for Moran, 19. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe) for Conor O’Shea, 18 Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore) for Colm Boyle, 26. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina) for Boland, 25. Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels) for Seamus O’Shea

Sligo

1. Aidan Devaney (Calry/St.Joseph’s)

2. Ross Donavan (Eastern Harps)
3. Charlie Harrison (St.John’s)
4. Eoin McHugh (St.Molaise Gaels)

5. Keelan Cawley (Coolera Standhill)
6. Brendan Egan (St.Vincent’s)
7. John Kelly (Tourlestrane)

8. Paddy O’Connor (St.Farnan’s)
9. Adrian McIntyre (Tourlestrane)

10. Neil Ewing (Drumcliffe Rosses Point)
11. Mark Breheny (St.Mary’s)
12 Kyle Cawley (St.Mary’s)

13. Stephen Coen (St.Mary’s)
14 . Pat Hughes (Geevagh)
15 Adrian Marren (Curry)

Subs: 18. David Kelly (Tubbercurry) for Cawley, 24. Kevin McDonnell (Castleconnor) for Coen, 19. Niall Murphy (Coolera Standhill) for Hughes, 22. Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch (Curry) for McHugh, 17. Stephen Gilmartin (Tubbercurry) for Kelly, 20. Noel Gaughan (Tourlestrane)

Ref: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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About the author:

Colm Gannon

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