Mayo make light work of Meath in the Castlebar sunshine

James Carr scores a brace of goals as Aidan O’Shea returns to the fray in league clash

Mayo 3-17 Meath 2-12

Mayo never looked in bother in this third round clash at a sun-baked MacHale Park, Castlebar, where Meath made eight changes from the side named on the match programme.

Those disruptions clearly played a large part in helping a more composed Mayo team dictate the terms of this game. James Horan’s side were always playing at a much higher and more intense level than the visitors, who looked disjointed at times and were not particularly convincing in the finishing department

However, Andy McEntee's men did expose Mayo's defensive frailties for the second week running as the Connacht champions conceded the first goal of the match, Bryan McMahon helping the ball over the line after Robbie Hennelly saved Jason Scully's stinging shot.

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That goal on 12 minutes hauled Meath back on level terms -1-2 to 0-5 - but the stage was soon taken over by Cillian O'Connor and James Carr, O'Connor very much the man pulling the strings in the Mayo attack where Carr had been drafted in for Tommy Conroy.

O’Connor fired home Mayo’s first of three first half goals from the penalty spot after Bryan Walsh was pushed to the ground when bearing down on goal, while Carr scored the first of his brace with an easy tap-in after being set-up by Diarmuid O’Connor.

However, the most clinical goal of the game came from the weaker left boot of Carr who fired low to the bottom corner from after Cillian O’Connor picked him out with an inch perfect 40-yard pass. It left Mayo in control at the break - 3-11 to 1-5.

Meath, who began the second half with three substitutions, were rewarded for their endeavour when Bryan Menton crashed home a fine individual goal of his own.

But Mayo were able to bring on Aidan O’Shea who seems to be well over a knee injury scare and scored a fine point with his first touch of the ball. He is seemingly primed to play a part in Mayo’s championship bid in 2021 and the league semi-final clash with Clare in two week’s time.

Mayo: R Hennelly; E O'Donoghue, O Mullen, L Keegan; M Plunkett (0-1), S Coen, F Boland (0-1); M Ruane (0-2), D O'Connor; J Carney, D McHale (0-2), B Walsh (0-2); R O'Donoghue, C O'Connor (1-4, 1-0 pen, two frees, one mark) J Carr (2-1). Subs: P Towey (0-3, two frees) for C O'Connor (half-time), C Boyle for Keegan (half-time), Aidan O'Shea (0-1) for Carney (47 mins), Eoghan McLaughlin for Boland (47), D Coen for O'Donoghue (60), J Flynn for McHale (62), Tommy Conroy for Carr (65).

Meath: H Hogan; S Lavin, C McGill, E Harkin; C Hickey, B Conlon, D Dillon; B Menton (1-0), B McMahon (1-0); J Flynn (0-1), E Wallace (0-2), J Scully; J Wallace; J Conlon (0-4, 3f), D Campion, J O'Connor (0-1). Subs: S McEntee for Conlon (HT), P Harnan for Hickey (HT), D Keogan for Dillon (HT), D Dixon for Campion (40), M Newman (0-4, 3f) for Scully (48). K Curtis for Conlon (61), L Byrne for Hogan (62).

Referee: M McNally (Monaghan).