Mayo men enjoy a London cruise
Connacht SFC: Mayo 2-16 London 0-9
The perennial Mayo quest for Sam Maguire is off to a clinical start when they outclassed London in Ruislip yesterday.
Next up for the reigning Connacht champions is a Connacht SFC semi-final duel with an improving Galway in Castlebar in three weeks' time.
Five summers ago the men from the west struggled to jump the hurdle of London but there was to be no repeat yesterday and they strolled to victory despite losing Cillian O'Connor to a black card in the seventh minute.
The man who replaced him, Conor Loftus, a member of this year's All-Ireland U21 winning side, was one of the heroes of the day for Stephen Rochford's side as he hit Mayo's opening goal to give them a 1-4 to 0-1 advantage inside 19 minutes.
Up to that stage, London had been competing well but their short kick-out strategy was under pressure right from the off and, 11 minutes before the break, Jason Doherty found the net direct from Kevin McLoughlin claiming one of Gavin McEvoy's kickouts.
That propelled Mayo into a ten-point lead, 2-5 to 0-2, but while the hosts rallied with three points on the bounce, with Adrian Moyles scoring two, Mayo were still in total control when leading 2-8 to 0-5 at half-time.
Man of the Match, Evan Regan, who finished with a personal tally of 0-7 (five frees), got Mayo up and running on the restart with a brilliant free from near the sideline.
The Ballina man, who took over free-taking duties after O'Connor had been black-carded, was a constant threat throughout the game.
Manager Rochford gave game-time to veterans like Andy Moran and Alan Dillon, with Moran having an instant impact, kicking two fine points from play not long after his introduction.
Shane Nally got his first championship taste when he was introduced for Colm Boyle.
SCORERS - Mayo: E Regan 0-7 (0-5f), C Loftus 1-2, J Doherty 1-0, A Moran 0-2, A O'Shea, K McLoughlin, S Nally, A Dillon, R Hennelly (0-1 '45') 0-1 each. London: A Moyles 0-4 (0-2f), L Gavaghan 0-2, M Gottsche, S Conory, E Murray 0-1 each.
MAYO: R Henneddy; B Harrison, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; S Coen, J Gibbons; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, J Doherty; E Regan, C O'Connor, C O'Shea. Subs: C Loftus for O'Connor (bc), S Nally for Boyle, A Moran for C O'Shea, C Carolan for Doherty, A Dillon for Gibbons, D Drake for Keegan.
LONDON: G McEvoy; P Butler, C Carthy, Ciarán Dunne; Colin Dunne, D Ryan, D McGreevy; J Morgan, L Gavaghan; A Moyles, M Gottsche, C Coyne; E Murray, S Conroy, P O'Hara. Subs: L Mulvey for O'Hara (45), C Healy for Colin Dunne (45), C Og Greene for Conroy (62), M Walsh for Coyne (62), S Hickey for Ciarán Dunne (67), C O'Neill for Murray (67).
REF: D O'Mahony (Tipperary).