Connacht SFC: Mayo overwhelm Leitrim
Connacht SFC semi-final
MAYO 5-20 LEITRIM 0-11
By Colm Gannon in MacHale Park
Despite being shorn of a number of key players for a variety of reasons Mayo booked their place in the Connacht Senior Football Championship final at their ease in MacHale Park against Leitrim.
James Horan’s men were seven points to the good by the time the first water break came around with Tommy Conroy kicking three of those scores cutting in from the left hand side and Matthew Ruane slotting over a brace.
Mayo’s tackling and work-rate were top class in the opening quarter, turning over Leitrim in possession with regularity and keeping their visitors to a solitary score in the opening quarter from a Keith Beirne free from the last play of the opening stanza of this contest.
Things didn’t get much better for the visitors in the second verse of this play as Mayo hit the back of the net three times before half an hour had gone by on Fergal Kelly’s stop watch.
First Darren Coen got in to round the goalkeeper after a Conor Loftus pass was deflected into his path and he finished from close range. Not too long after that Darren McHale bagged two goals inside of a minute.
The first was a deft flick to the back of the net finishing off a move involving Paddy Durcan and Oisín Mullin in the build up. The second coming after Tommy Conroy saw the ball dislodged from his grasp as he went for goal, only for it to fall into the Knockmore’s man’s hands and he drove it high to the net.
That score put Mayo 3-11 to 0-2 up, with Leitirm’s second point of the day coming from a Conor Dolan effort on the run and they did get the final two scores of the half from Keith Beirne points to leave the score 3-11 to 0-4 at the turn around.
It didn’t take Mayo long to get their fourth goal of the day - with Ryan O’Donoghue netting after being picked out by Jordan Flynn four minutes into the second half. Mayo could have got a goal from the play before it when Matthew Ruane saw his effort well saved by Bernard Flynn in the Leitirm goal - that move ended up with a point for Conor Loftus.
Five minutes later Tommy Conroy got his sides fifth goal after being picked out by a pass from Darren Coen as they continued to open up the Leitrim rearguard at their ease.
Leitrim did get a little run of scores together with Beirne kicking two points from frees and efforts from play from Paddy Maguire and Riordan O’Rourke - but the game had dropped to training ground pace well before that stage and the score stood at 5-14 to 0-8 at the second water break.
Mayo tagged on six more points before the final whistle to break the 20 point mark for the fifth time in league and championship this season and head on to Galway in the Connacht final and for Leitrim it’s back to club football until next season.
Scorers for Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue (1-6, 3f), Darren McHale (2-1), Tommy Conroy (1-3), Darren Coen (1-3), Matthew Ruane (0-2), Conor Loftus (0-2) Stephen Coen (0-1), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), James Carr (0-1)
Scorers for Leitrim: Keith Beirne (0-5, 5f), Riordan O’Rourke (0-2), Conor Dolan (0-2), Paddy Maguire (0-1), E Sweeney (0-1)
MAYO: Rory Byrne; Enda Hession, Padraig O’Hora, Michael Plunkett; Paddy Durcan, Oisín Mullin, Stephen Coen; Matthew Ruane, Aidan O’Shea; Conor Loftus, Darren McHale, Jordan Flynn; Tommy Conroy, Darren Coen Ryan O’Donoghue. Subs: James Carry for Conroy (45), Colm Boyle for Durcan (52), Fionn McDonagh for Matthew Ruane (58), Aiden Orme for Darren Coen (61), James McCormack for Flynn (BS) (63), Jack Coyne for Mullin (65)
LEITRIM: Brendan Flynn; Conor Reynolds, Donal Wrynn, Mark Diffley; Cillian McGloin, Paddy Maguire, David Bruen; Jack Gilheany, Mark Plunkett; Conor Dolan, Shane Moran, Tom Prior; Darragh Rooney, Keith Beirne, Shane Quinn. Subs: Evan Sweeney for Rooney (HT), Riordan O’Rourke for Bruen (HT), Keith Keegan for Diffley, Aaron Hore for Wynn (50), James Mitchell for Bruen (52)
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)