Monday 11 December 2017

Clinical Mayo secure their four-in-a-row

Mayo once again showed their ruthless side to demolish a youthful Galway side, 3-14 to 0-16, and secure a fourth Connacht title in-a-row at McHale Park yesterday, writes Diarmuid Geraghty.

In truth, depsite the Tribesmen putting in a solid effort over the 70 minutes, this was a case of men against boys with Mayo completely at ease with themselves and quite simply blew their opponents away in the physical stakes.

The result also means that James Horan remains unbeaten in Connacht Championship fare since taking over as Mayo boss four years ago.

The home side were dominant for large parts of the opening half and had their first goal on 24 minutes when Lee Keegan burst forward from wing-back to palm home a lovely Cillian O'Connor pass.

It helped them into a 1-9 to 0-5 interval lead. To their credit, Galway rallied at the start of the second half with Paul Conroy and Shane Walsh in particular leading the charge with both scoring points that sandwiched a Gareth Bradshaw effort.

But too often they were left isolated in attack, with the quality of service not at the level required to launch a consistent challenge. Much of that problem came from their inability to win primary possession.


Indeed, they only managed to gather two of their own 15 kickouts in the first half - a stat that tells the tale of their issues in the middle third.

Jason Doherty's goal put and end to any hopes of a comeback after he raced on to a Seamus O'Shea pass and calmly slotted to the bottom corner. Big midfielder Barry Moran marked a fine return to the starting line up by grabbing Mayo's third goal on 56 minutes after a sweeping team move.

Alan Mullholland's men must now go the qualifier route back, with in-form Tipperary sure to pose a tricky challenge next time out.

For Mayo meanwhile, they can be happy that their poor showing against Roscommon was merely a blip as they seek to get back to a third All-Ireland final in succession.

SCORERS - Mayo: C O'Connor 0-8 (5f); L Keegan, J Doherty 1-1 each, K McLoughlin 0-3, B Moran 1-0, A Dillon 0-1. Galway: S Walsh 0-7 (5f), P Conroy 0-4, S Armstrong 0-2, G Bradshaw, M Lundy, D Cummins 0-1 each.

MAYO: R Hennelly; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, D Vaughan; S O'Shea, B Moran; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, J Doherty; C O'Connor, A Moran, A Dillon. Subs: M Conroy for Dillon (44), A Freeman for A Moran (53), J Gibbons for B Moran (60, black card), K Keane for Boyle (69), D O'Connor for Doherty (69), M Sweeney for A O'Shea (70).

GALWAY: M Breathnach; A Tierney, F Hanley, D O'Neill; G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell, P Varley; F O'Curraoin, T Flynn; M Lundy, S Walsh, D Comer; P Conroy, E Hoare, D Cummins. Subs: Kavanagh for Comer (24), D Burke for Tierney (44), S Armstrong for Cummins (44), G Higgins for Hoare (55), J O'Brien for Lundy (62).

REF: R Hickey (Clare).

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