No Duffy but Mayo youngsters still ease past Sligo IT
Sligo overcame GMIT, Galway edge Leitrim and NUIG surprise Roscommon
The Mayo team stand for the National Anthem. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Mayo built on their good start to the Connacht league with a host of new players drafted in for this second round clash with IT Sligo at James Stephen’s Park, Ballina on Sunday.
Former rugby international Gavin Duffy was listed as one of the debutantes but a problem with his transfer papers meant that his first appearance for Mayo has been postponed for another week at least.
The performance brought a positive response from joint-manager, Noel Connelly, who said there was a lot more intensity in this display with most, if not all, of the new players impressing with their application and workrate in particular.
The game turned early in the second half as the students had a chance to reduce the half-time deficit of three points - 0-7 to 0-4 - which had been extended to four early in the second half when Ryan McHugh was taken down in the square.
The Donegal player blazed the resultant penalty wide and any chance of his team getting into the frame faded dramatically after that as Mayo took the game by the throat, Kevin McLoughlin leading by example, while Alex Corduff, Alan Freeman, Peter Dravins, Evan Regan and McLoughlin kicked five unanswered points to put Mayo firmly lithe driving seat ahead of a third round clash with Roscommon next Sunday in Castlebar where Duffy may finally make that long-awaited debut. Final score here was Mayo 0-15 IT Sligo 0-6.
Meanwhile Mark Brehenys 53rd minute goal for Sligo put their Connacht FBD Football League game out of GMIT’s reach at a wind swept Collooney.
Sligo,aided by a near gale force wind , opened the first half scoring with a Breheny point after six minutes but GMIT were level on nine minutes when Andy Glennon sent over. GMIT came more into the game as the half progressed and two pointed frees by Darragh Joyce gave the visitors a five points to four interval lead.
GMIT started the second half with some clever ,fast football against a near gale and were level at eight points apiece midway through the half.
But three unanswered points, two from the boot of midfielder Stephen Gilmartin gave the Yeatsmen the upper hand again setting them up for victory.
Sligo boss Niall Carew was pleased with the 1-13 to 0-8 win.
“Its important to get a win for everyone because you work so hard ,you have only a handful of games all year so you would like to win as many as you can”said Carew.
Peadar Ó Griofa guided over a free in injury time to hand NUIG a famous 0-10 to 0-9 win against Roscommon at Ballyforan.
The Galway students used possession more wisely in the second half, despite playing into the teeth of a strong wind, as Roscommon were reduced to 14 men when midfielder Cathal Shine was dismissed for a second yellow card.
The visitors led by two points, 0-7 to 0-5, at the break but Ciaran Murtagh and Cathal Cregg brought Roscommon level within three minutes of the new half.
But the home side lost their way as the game became more ill-tempered, and O’Griofa was on hand to come up with the winning score in injury time.
“You have to give credit to NUI Galway. They fought for everything and they got some great turnovers. They did enough to keep us at bay.
“I’m happy to get that sort of tough game. It will make our training all the tougher and better. Maybe we were coasting along a small bit,” felt Roscommon manager John Evans afterwards.
Elsewhere Galway emerged victors by the narrowest of margins in a hard fought and entertaining game against Leitrim.
In a dramatic finale two minutes into extra time Leitrim’s Kevin Conlon drove a 30 metre free goalwards but his effort went over the bar to deny the home side victory, on the whiste the scoreline read Galway 0-13 Leitrim 1-9.
In lively early exchanges both sides swapped points to leave them level after ten minutes. Galway led 0-4 to 0-2 at the half way stage following a point from play by Gary O’Donnell and a pointed free by Shane Walshe.
Leitrim debutante Thomas Mulvey reduced the arrears with a point from play in the 17th minute but as the midfield pairing of Fiontan Ó Curraoin and Enda Tierney began to dominate the exchanges, the Tribesmen scored five points to a pointed free by Leitrim’s Kevin Conlon to leave Galway deservedly in front 0-9 to 0-4 at the interval.
Two minutes into the resumption Galway were awarded a penalty taken by Shane Walsh which went wide and when a Kevin Conlon pointed free in the 34th minute was quickly followed by a Shane Moran point Leitrim were energized. However the Tribesmen regrouped with the impressive half forward line of Cathal Sweeney, Shane Walsh and Martin Coady scoring three unanswered points to lead by five with thirteen minutes remaining.
Once again Leitrim responded and when a speculative dropping ball from Sean McWeeney fell to Alan McLoughlin he volleyed to the Galway net from close in to set up a nail biting climax. The visitors Martin Coady and Ronan Reynolds for Leitrim exchanged points in the 49th and 50th minute but as they went in search of scores Leitrim failed to prise open a solid Galway defence led by the outstanding Johnny Heaney,Gary O’Donnell and Gareth Bradshaw.