Mayo break down Westmeath resistance

Mayo moved smoothly to the final four of the All-Ireland minor football championship, with two goals in a matter of minutes early in the second half putting paid to what had until then been a dogged resistance from Westmeath.

Tommy Carr’s side were completely reliant on Luke Loughlin and Robert Hickey for scores, though, and while Loughlin in particular showed his class with a couple of wonderful points in the first half, they just hadn’t enough to trouble Mayo.

The Connacht champions flew out of the traps early on with points from Conor Loftus, Cian Hanley and Michael Plunkett inside the opening five minutes.

Plunkett, Liam Irwin and Val Roughneen hit the target after Hickey pointed for Westmeath but the Lakesiders edged back into proceedings and trailed by just three at the break, 0-9 to 0-6.

Westmeath needed to continue as they concluded that opening period but it was Mayo who got the vital scores.

The first goal came from a penalty after Israel Ilunga fouled Cian Hanley. The Ballaghaderreen man – brother of former Mayo senior and current AFL star Pearce – planted a wonderful kick into the top corner of the net.

Within minutes, Darragh Doherty had a second Mayo goal, as the Kilmaine teenager deftly flicked on Hanley’s long delivery. It was straightforward from that juncture for Enda Gilvarry’s outfit and it took Westmeath 18 minutes to open their account for the second half, with Loughlin kicking a free, closely followed by an excellent point from play.

Westmeath sub Alan Hughes was sent off for punching Ronan Finn five minutes from time but that had no impact on the outcome, with Mayo having had the upper hand for a long time before.