Friday 20 April 2018

Mayo maintain unbeaten record

Mayo 1-14 Armagh 0-11

It may be too early in the year for bold predictions, but confidence is building in the west. Mayo remain unbeaten in Division 1 of the NFL after sending Armagh crashing to their first defeat.

Mayo were on fire in the opening 10 minutes, racing into a seven-point lead against an Orchard defence that struggled to get to the pace of the game.

After Alan Freeman had knocked over three points, two of them from frees, Andy Moran drilled home a goal to put James Horan's side firmly in control. But to their credit, the home side retained their composure and started to perform with a measure of conviction.

Aidan Forker and Brian Mallon each converted two frees to narrow the gap, and the Athletic Ground faithful began to believe again. Another Mayo flourish produced a volley of points, Conor Mortimer converting two frees and Freeman notching his fourth. Two late Forker points narrowed the gap, and Mayo led by 1-7 to 0-6 at the interval.

Mortimer was in full flow as soon as the second half got under way, clipping over his third free before landing a trademark point from play.

Enda Varley also added to his tally, finishing off a flowing move for the score of the game as Mayo restored their seven-point cushion before substitute Colm Boyle made a heroic goal-line clearance from Ryan Rafferty as Armagh finally threatened to give their supporters something to cheer about.

Forker dispatched a '45' and a free to leave just a goal between the sides with seven minutes to play but Mayo turned on the power again in the final five minutes, with Varley hitting two gems to see them home.

Scorers -- Mayo: A Moran 1-0, A Freeman 0-5 (4f), C Mortimer (3f), E Varley 0-4 each, L Keegan 0-1. Armagh: A Forker 0-6 (4f, 1 '45'), B Mallon (2f), C Watters 0-2 each, G McParland 0-1.

Mayo: D Clarke, K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins, R Feeney, D Vaughan, L Keegan, A O'Shea, B Moran, A Freeman, A Dillon, J Doherty, C Mortimer, A Moran, E Varley. Subs: S O'Shea for B Moran (50), C Boyle for Keane (52), P Harte for A Moran (66).

Armagh: P McEvoy, A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna, K Dyas, P Duffy, F Moriarty, C Vernon, M Mackin, A Forker, B Mallon, A Duffy, C Rafferty, J Kingham, G McParland. Subs: S Campbell for Vernon (20), C Watters for B Mallon (h-t), J Lavery for McParland (55), R Rafferty for Campbell (55), M Stevenson for P Duffy (58).

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)

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