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Mayo survive late Leitrim fightback to book Connacht final spot against Sligo

Elsewhere, Sligo secured a one-point semi-final victory against Roscommon.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

MAYO BOOKED THEIR spot in the EirGrid Connacht U20 final after a one-point win over Leitrim in Carrick on Shannon. 

Maurice Sheridan’s outfit stormed into a three-point lead in the opening six minutes but faded badly in the final quarter. They led by nine with five minutes of normal time remaining. 

Captain Frank Irwin, Sam Callinan and Donnacha McHugh, who all saw game time for the seniors during the league, all got on the scoreboard in the opening half. At the break, they led 0-8 to 0-3. 

Mayo continued their march in the second half. Irwin kicked a superb 45 after a powerful Paddy Heneghan run down the middle saw the Castlebar man’s goalbound shot pushed wide. An array of athletic ball carriers continued to drive at the heart of the Leitrim defence, presenting Irwin with more set-piece opportunities. 

To their credit, the home side continued to battle and got a deserved goal after a long Eoin McLoughlin ball broke kindly for Paul Moran who handpassed across the square to the waiting Conor Quinn. A monster Michael McKernan free kept the pressure on.

Leitrim kept coming and with four minutes of injury time gone, a Jack Casey penalty had them within a point. Their comeback fell just short as the final whistle sounded immediately after. The final score was 0-16 to 2-9. 

jack-davitt-and-conor-lohan Source: Evan Logan/INPHO

in Markievicz Park, Sligo overcame a stern Roscommon test to also secure a one-point semi-final win. 

Roscommon started brightly thanks to Adam McDermott, who kicked 1-1 in the opening 15 minutes, getting on the end of the rebound after a superb save denied Oisin Cregg.

Sligo responded with a goal of their own, a Lee Deignan penalty ensuring the sides were level at half-time. 

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Both sides exchanged points in the second half and were still level with two minutes remaining. Then Sligo forward Eoghan Smith, who was outstanding throughout, kicked a magnificent score from outside the 45 in the second minute of injury time. 

 

The final is set to take place next Wednesday, April 20th at the Connacht Centre of Excellence. 

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Maurice Brosnan

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