Freeman goal inspires Mayo
Mayo 1-11 Laois 0-8
Moments of genuine class were thin on the cold ground in this slog of a game at O'Moore Park last night, and Mayo produced most of them to beat a Laois team that lacked any real cutting edge.
At this time of the year, both teams are presumably in the midst of strength-sapping conditioning training, and for much of this match it showed.
Mayo were the more error-prone team for much of the first half, but that's because they were playing against a strong wind and were endeavouring to move the ball short.
Laois were taking the more direct approach into big Padraig Clancy at full-forward, and he gave them an attacking fulcrum that players like David Conway and Ross Munnelly could spin dangerously around.
Conway was sharp last night, helping Laois into a 0-5 0-2 lead after 20 minutes thanks to a glorious point he scored while running away from goal and kicking the ball over his left shoulder.
Laois were good value for their lead by that stage, but in the remaining 15 minutes of the half Mayo finally found their stride. Andrew Freeman produced the goods, blasting the ball to the net despite the challenge of John O'Loughlin who only succeeded in deflecting the ball past Eoin Culliton.
Mortimer followed up with a free, and despite playing against the elements Mayo had a 1-4 to 0-6 half-time lead.
Laois scored the first point of the second half, but then Mayo took a firm grip on the game as two frees from Mortimer sandwiched a peach of a point from play by Freeman.
Mayo were much more clinical and further points from Freeman and impressive sub Enda Varley (two) eased them to what had become a fairly comfortable victory.
Scorers -- Mayo: C Mortimer 0-5 (4f), A Freeman 1-2, E Varley 0-2, A Dillon, B Moran 0-1 each. Laois: D Conway 0-4 (3f), R Munnelly 0-2 (1f), J O'Loughlin, D Strong 0-1 each.
Mayo: D Clarke; L Keegan, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Gardiner, D Vaughan, R Feeney; S O'Shea, P Harte; K McLoughlin, A Freeman, A Dillon; C Mortimre, B Moran, A Moran. Subs: E Reilly for G Cafferkey (15), J Doherty for A Moran, E Varley for P Harte (both 55), D Geraghty for S O'Shea (65),
Laois: E Culliton; C Healy, K Lillis, P O'Leary; D Strong, S Julian, C Boyle; B Quigley, J O'Loughlin; R Munnelly, K Meaney, C Begley; P Cahillane, P Clancy, D Conway. Subs: D O'Connor for P Cahillane , MJ Tierney for D Conway (both 51), B Mulligan for S Julian (60)
Referee: R Hickey (Clare)
Sunday Indo Sport