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McGarrity impresses on return

RONAN McGARRITY returned to the Mayo colours yesterday, three weeks out from their Connacht semi-final against Leitrim, and duly helped James Horan's men to a five-goal rout of Westmeath in a senior football challenge at Ballaghaderreen.

The former captain has been recalled from retirement to bolster Mayo's injury-hit midfield options, with star man Aidan O'Shea yet to fully recover from his groin injury.

And, by all accounts, McGarrity made an impression during the first half before being replaced at the break by Mayo's regular centre-back, Donal Vaughan.

Perhaps the biggest plus for manager Horan, however, was Mayo's rediscovery of their goal touch. They only found the net four times during the league but here they went one better, running out 5-10 to 0-10 winners.


Jason Doherty propelled himself back into starting consideration with a hat-trick with further goals coming from Alan Freeman and Michael Conroy.

Westmeath's evidently porous performance is bound to be a worry for manager Pat Flanagan ahead of their qualifier campaign.

They featured ten of the team that started their recent Leinster defeat to Louth, among the absentees being midfielder John Heslin and forward Denis Glennon.

Despite the best efforts of Ger Egan, Kieran Martin and Denis Corroon, who recently returned from the US, the visitors had no answer. Kevin Keane, Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins, Pat Harte and Doherty made big impressions for the Connacht champions.

Early start for Meath

LEINSTER Council chiefs have altered their fixture arrangements for next weekend in the wake of yesterday's SFC quarter-final draw between Longford and Wexford.

The replay will be staged in Tullamore next Sunday (4.0) as part of a double-header involving Meath and Carlow.

The Royals and Barrowsiders were originally due to throw in at 3.30 but this has now been given a 2.0 start, allowing for the possibility of extra-time in the Wexford/Longford replay.