INPHO/Ryan Byrne Mayo's Val Roughneen and Darragh Clinton of Westmeath.

Second half blitz sees Mayo advance to All Ireland MFC semi finals

Ten unanswered second half made all the difference for the Connacht Champions.

Mayo 2-13
Westmeath 0-8

A BLISTERING START to the second half for Mayo saw them ease into the All Ireland Minor Football Championship semi finals after an 11 point win over Westmeath in Tullamore on Monday.

The Connacht champions started the game with one change from the side that had put three goals past Roscommon in their provincial decider – Michael Plunkett replacing Stephen Burke at centre forward – and they looked the brighter of the two sides in the early stages, Conor Loftus raising the white flag after just 53 seconds.

Taking advantage of a strong wind, Mayo raced into a five point lead after 12 minutes as they looked to dominate this encounter in much the same way as their senior side did against Donegal on Sunday.

However, Westmeath clawed their way back with the last two points of the half to ensure Mayo only lead 09-06 as the half time whistle blew.

Despite playing with the wind in the second half, Westmeath shipped no fewer than ten unanswered points in the first 16 minutes of the half.

After Tommy Conroy scored a point, Mayo won a penalty when Cian Hanley was taken down by Andy McCormack as he raced through on goal.

Hanley himself took the penalty and buried it into the top left corner, leaving Westmeath ‘keeper Joe Hyland with no chance.

A second goal just four minutes later and Hanley was involved again, this time setting up Darragh Doherty who couldn’t but finish from close range.

Westmeath finally troubled the scoreboard operators when Luke Loughlin scored back-to-back points to bring the deficit back to 11 points but any slim hopes of a comeback were foiled when Alan Hughes was sent off for an off the ball hit on Mayo’s Ronan Finn.

It turned out to be the last meaningful action as Mayo cruised to a comfortable victory despite not scoring for the last 17 minutes of the game.

Scorers for Mayo: Hanley 1-3 (1-0p); Doherty 1-1; Irwin 0-3, (0-3f); Loftus 0-2;  Conroy 0-2; Plunkett 0-1; Roughneen 0-1, (0-1f).
Scorers for Westmeath: Loughlin 0-5 (0-1f); Hickey 0-3 (0-1f).

MAYO: Mark Mulligan; Eddie Doran, David Kenny, Michael Hall; Ronan Finn, Stephen Coen (Captain), Sean Conlon; Val Roughneen, Diarmuid O’Connor; Conor Loftus, Michael Plunkett, Cian Hanley; Darragh Doherty, Liam Irwin,  Tommy Conroy.

Subs: C Byrne for Doherty (48); P Prendergast for Loftus (51); H Cafferty for Conlon (53); B Walsh for Plunkett (59).

WESTMEATH: Joe Hyland; Matthew Darling, Israel Ilunga, Bryan O’Donohoe; Andy McCormack, Liam Varley, Darren Giles; Conor O’Brien, Sam Omukoro; Ruairi Cunningham, Ryan Caffrey (Captain), Kieran Shanley; Luke Loughlin, Robbie Hickey, John Corbally.

Subs: A Hughes for Corbally (21); D Clinton Omukoro (21); L Medows for McCormck (44); G Murray for Giles (57).

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