Mayo comfortable winners over Sligo
EirGrid Connacht GAA Under-20 Football Championship: Mayo 1-25 Sligo 1-06
This semi-final was a one-sided affair from beginning to end! Mayo was undoubted favourites coming into the game but Sligo's capitulation was totally unexpected. The Yeats County had reached the final of the Philly McGuinness Cup and did reasonably well against Tyrone, but on this occasion they were never competitive.
Without hitting top form, Mayo dictated the pace and the trend of the game from beginning to end at sun-drenched McHale Park, Castlebar on Wednesday evening. Sligo enjoyed quite a lot of the possession throughout the contest, but fell down when it came to scoring. Also, the Mayo attack opened their defence far too easily throughout the game.
Mayo enjoyed a pronounced dominance at midfield due to the impressive display of Evan O'Brien and Gavin Durcan. The duo was also the midfield partnership of the NUIG Fresher's side that won the recent All-Ireland title.
Sligo failed to convert a penalty on 27 minutes when Alan Reilly saw his shot saved brilliantly by Jamie McNicholas in the Mayo goal.
This certainly affected their performance as they could have done with uplift before the short-whistle.
After Evan O'Brien opened Mayo's account with a pointed free in the third minute, Barry Gorman replied with a similar score from play two minutes later.
As the play evolved, Mayo landed three minors without reply from Tommy Conroy (two) and Aidan Orme.
An Alan Reilly pointed free on 10 minutes proved to be Sligo's last for the remainder of the half. Instead, Mayo totally dominated the play and the scoring until half time. They kicked 8 further points, many as the result of some intricate movements and good combined play.
Paddy Goldrick (two), Evan O'Brien (two, 1free), Aidan Orme (two), Tommy Conroy and Stephen McGreal were Mayo's point scorers. Sligo's missed penalty was a crippling blow as it came before the teams went to the dressing rooms.
Mayo led at the break by 12 points to 2, which gave an adequate indication of their superiority.
After Evan O'Brien (a free) and Barry Gorman exchanged points in the opening minutes of the new half, Mayo quickly gained control of the contest. They kicked 5 unanswered points without reply from Gavin Durcan, Evan O'Brien, Stephen McGreal (2) and John Gallagher.
Shane Deignan brought a temporary halt to Mayo's dominance when he converted a free kick. Mayo gradually emptied their bench as the half progressed, without any noticeable diminution in their performance.
Mayo's remained in control to the finish, even though Sligo enjoyed more of the possession from there to the end. Mayo landed three further points from Tommy Conroy, Gavin Durcan and substitute Nathan Moran, with the Yeats lads scoring a point from Barry Gorman and a goal from substitute Seán Carroll.
The goal arrived after Barry Gorman's effort was blocked initially and Carroll reacted quicker than anyone to hit the net.
Mayo landed four more minors before the end from Mark Moran, Tommy Conroy, Paul Towey and Evan O'Brien. Oisín Mullin scored a goal of rare quality when he soloed through from deep before unleashing an unstoppable shot to the net.
Shane Deignan delivered Sligo's final score of the game when he kicked a fine point at the death.
Mayo lost substitute Nathan Moran to a black card before the final whistle and were unable to replace him as they had already used their full complement of substitutes.
Mayo: J McNicholas; J Coyne, R Brickenden, O Mullin (1-0); A McDonnell, C Beirne, E McLaughlin; E O'Brien (0-6,4fs), G Durcan (0-2); J Gallagher (0-1), P Towey (0-1), P Goldrick (0-2); A Orme (0-3), S McGreal (0-3), T Conroy (0-5).
Subs used: D McBrien for J Coyne (black card); D Gannon for E McLaughlin; N Moran (0-1) for P Goldrick; M Moran (0-1) for S McGreal; K Conway for J Gallagher; C Gavin for T Conroy.
Sligo: A Davey; E Lyons, J Ellis, D Barrett; C Surlis, K McKenna, N Connolly; B Gorman (0-3), D McDermott; G Gorman, A Reilly (0-1f), J Carroll; L Towey, S Deignan (0-2), R McHugh.
Subs used: S Carroll (1-0) for J Carroll; H Gilvarry for D McDermott; C Brett for A Reilly; C Marren for N Connolly; E Hallinan for D Barrett; P Flynn for K McKenna.
Referee: J Molloy (Galway).
The main man: Evan O'Brien is the choice. He was industrious throughout and kicked six points into the bargain.