Thursday 17 August 2017

Mayo produce second-half masterclass to brush Clare aside

Clare 0-13 Mayo 2-14

Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo celebrates after scoring his side's second goal

John Fallon in Ennis

Two goals from brothers Diarmuid and Cillian O’Connor in a blistering three minute just after half-time set Mayo on their way to victory after suffering a huge scare in the opening half.

Clare supporters sensed a shock win might be on the cards when they led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break, having played against the wind.

The huge crowd of 11,576 at Cusack Park were treated to a cracking encounter with a fired-up Clare side opening up a 0-6 to 0-1 after 20 minutes despite playing into the strong breeze.

Andy Moran, one of two late changes for Mayo, needed just 15 seconds to shoot the opening score but it was all Clare after that with Gary Brennan, Martin McMahon and Cathal O’Connor superb as they hit six in a row.

They would have been further ahead had Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke, making his 100th appearance for the county, not produced a fine save to deny Jamie Malone after 15 minutes.

Malone pointed from the right shortly after and Keelan Sexton landed a ’45 to lead by 0-6 to 0-1 after 20 minutes.

Cillian O'Connor of Mayo celebrates
Cillian O'Connor of Mayo celebrates

Mayo, with Aidan O’Shea winning some good ball, hit back and struck for points from Kevin McLoughlin, Diarmuid O’Connor and Lee Keegan.

However, Clare again responded in style with Sean Collins finishing off a good move with a point and Sexton made it 0-8 to 0-4 approaching the break with another fine shot.

Moran gave the huge travelling support some hope when he kicked two points in the closing stages of the opening half to leave it 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval.

But Mayo turned the game on its head after the restart. Kevin McLoughlin pointed just 21 seconds after the restart before Stephen Rochford’s men struck for two goals in a three minute spell from the O’Connor brothers.

Conor Loftus intercepted a free from goalkeeper Joe Hayes before setting up Cillian O’Connor for a goal after 42 minutes.

Then a good passing movement started by corner-back Chris Barrett was blasted to the net by Diarmuid O’Connor to make it 2-7 to 0-8.

David Tubridy pulled back a free for Clare but they struggled to cut the gap as Mayo controlled most areas of the field and Cillian O’Connor kept putting further distance between them as Mayo advanced to the next round.

Clare: Joe Hayes; D Ryan, K Hartnett, G Kelly; M McMahon, J Malone (0-1), C O’Dea; G Brennan (0-1), C O’Connor; P Lillis, E Cleary (0-3, 2f), C Russell; D Tubridy (0-4, 4f), K Sexton (0-2, 1 ’45), S Collins (0-1);

Subs: E Collins for Russell (41, black card), John Hayes for O’Connor (41), G O’Brien (0-1) for O’Dea (52), S Malone for Lillis (65), D Nagle for Sexton (76, black card).

Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, G Cafferkey, C Barrett; L Keegan (0-1), C Boyle, K Higgins (0-1); A O’Shea (0-1), S O’Shea; D O’Connor (1-1), D Vaughan, K McLoughlin (0-2); C Loftus, C O’Connor (1-5, 5f), A Moran (0-3).

Subs: S Coen for Vaughan (4, black card), E Regan for Loftus (48), J Doherty for Moran (55), T Parsons for S O’Shea (58), F Boland for D O’Connor (65), A Dillon for A O’Shea (67).

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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