Mayo captain Trevor Mortimer had a day of mixed emotions yesterday as he scored a goal and was sent-off as his side comfortably beat Galway by 2-14 to 1-10 in a one-sided NFL opener in Castlebar.
In Joe Kernan's first league game in charge, he got a rude awakening to the task ahead as Galway struggled until substitute Michael Meehan (1-3) inspired a second-half fightback.
Two points apiece from Kevin McLoughlin, Mark Ronaldson and Andy Moran had Mayo 0-11 to 0-05 ahead at half-time.
Goals from Enda Varley and Mortimer were quickly followed by the latter's dismissal, but Galway simply had too much ground to make up.
Kernan described the performance and the defeat as a "reality check" for everyone associated with Galway. In six of the sides' previous seven meetings, the deficit either way has only been a point. To lose by seven was a jolt to the system.
Kernan said: "It was the first time I have got my team together and we were outgunned and outmuscled all over the pitch, with the exception of probably Gareth Bradshaw, Tomas Fahy and Donal O'Neill.
"If you wanted a reality check, well I'm sure the Galway people will settle down and say there's a lot of work to do here."
Mayo manager John O'Mahony has hinted there may be an appeal against Mortimer's red card that tarnished an otherwise stunning league start for Mayo, who overwhelmed Galway by 2-14 to 1-10.
The goalscoring Mayo skipper received a straight red for his high challenge on Gareth Bradshaw - a "harsh" call, thought O'Mahony. The manager said they would reserve judgement until watching the video slow-mo, adding that Mortimer was not a "dirty player".
Last salvo sees Rebels fire past Farney
CORK and Monaghan are both newly promoted to Division 1 and only one point separated them yesterday at Scotstown as the Rebels ran out victors by 3-13 to 3-12.
A trio of unanswered points from the visitors settled the matter in the last seven minutes.
Goals were the order of the day, but Paudie Kissane, Paul Kerrigan and subs John Hayes decisively split the posts to hand Cork the spoils. The sides were level six times in all, five in a thrilling second half.
Monaghan fought back repeatedly and probably deserved to take something out of the match, although they have to look at a series of missed chances that saw them hit 14 wides in all, 11 in the first half.
Goals from Kerrigan (2) and Pat Kelly had the Rebels leading 3-4 to 1-6 at half-time, with Vinny Corey registering Monaghan's goal.
Tommy Freeman netted on the rebound and Darren Hughes took his tally to 1-2 as the Farneymen hit the front but Cork produced the stronger finish.
Derry men prove their point -- Bradley
DERRY'S bid to reach a third successive NFL final got off to the perfect start as they turned over Ulster rivals Tyrone 1-18 to 1-12 at Celtic Park on Saturday night.
Eoin Bradley, who chipped in with four points, said the Oak Leafers had something to prove following last summer's Ulster Championship capitulation to the Red Hand.
"It was a derby game and we were looking to win it. I suppose we were looking to set down a marker after last year in the championship, when Tyrone beat us easy enough up in Casement Park," he said.
"I think a lot of boys had something to prove, and we as a team had something to prove. In saying that, it's only the league, but it's a good start. I'd say now the main thing is to avoid relegation."
But he wouldn't be averse to another appearance in a league final come April. "You'd want as many games as possible leading up to the championship, for a run of players, bringing players in, giving players game time, that's what it's for," he added.