Sunday 16 December 2018

'Our execution was poor' - Wide count a worry for Stephen Rochford despite Mayo cruise

Mayo 2-16 London 0-9

Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo fetches the ball against London in Ruislip. Photo: Sportsfile
Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo fetches the ball against London in Ruislip. Photo: Sportsfile
Ciaran Healy of London and Cathal Carolan of Mayo shake hands at the final whistle. Photo: Sportsfile
Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo charges with the ball, pursued by Cormac Coyne of London. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor O’Shea of Mayo in action against Ciaran Dunne of London. Photo: Sportsfile

Tony Tighe

Stephen Rochford admits Mayo have plenty to work on in their London training camp after leaving a host of scores behind them in Ruislip.

There was never any danger of a repeat of the 2011 Connacht quarter-final, when the Westerners were taken to extra-time, and despite the black-carding of Cillian O'Connor after just six minutes, they had the game sewn up by half-time, thanks to two goals in seven minutes from Conor Loftus and Jason Doherty.

However, the provincial six-in-a-row hopefuls were uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal, hitting 15 wides

"Well, in any Championship game, when you come out with a win, you can look at it as job done and move on," said Rochford.

"We took the game quite seriously and at times we played well. Our execution, though, was nowhere where we expected it to be and nowhere near where it will be needed further on.

"We still racked up 18 scores - some of them were difficult chances. Maybe the decision to take on the shot, we should have been a little bit smart about. But we missed one or two easy ones.

"It's the first round of the Championship, there's always going to be things to work on."

Mayo were frustrated by London in the opening quarter, the Exiles dominating possession, thanks to their short kick-out strategy. Rochford ordered his troops to push on and it had the desired effect. London were playing with fire in their own backline and got badly burned.

After Championship debutant Evan Regan scored his third point of the day after a wayward kick-out by Gavin McEvoy, the London goalkeeper found Kevin McLoughlin with his next effort and substitute Conor Loftus palmed the ball to the net.

On 24 minutes, another London error was ruthlessly punished. They turned over possession inside their own half and Aidan O'Shea fed Jason Doherty, who rounded McEvoy and tapped the ball home.

London refused to throw in the towel and two of their home-grown players, Adrian Moyles and Liam Gavaghan, hit three points in two minutes, but Mayo remained in control as they led 2-8 to 0-5 at the break.

The second half was a non-event as Mayo went through the motions. They hit more wides than scores, but veteran Andy Moran kicked two points within minutes of his introduction.

With a nearby garden party providing a musical background, London introduced Lorcan Mulvey to the tune of Wagon Wheel as they looked to go direct for the final quarter. But the hosts were a spent force by that stage and the Cavan forward saw little ball as the game petered out.

Exiles manager Ciaran Deely was full of praise for his team, which included four London-grown players in his starting line-up and four on the bench.

"We made it difficult for them," said the former Wexford captain.

"I'm very happy with my lads, very proud of my players in that after those two goals, our lads never let it actually get to them. They never died.

"We lost by 13 points in the end, but I think we were behind by nine points in the first half, so I thought our lads did well."

"They kept going until the end, so I'm very proud of them."

Scorers - Mayo: E Regan 0-7 (5fs), C Loftus 1-2, J Doherty 1-0, A Moran 0-2, R Hennelly ('45'), A O'Shea, S Coen, K McLoughlin, A Dillon 0-1 each. London: A Moyles 0-4 (2fs), L Gavaghan 0-2, S Conroy (f), E Murray, M Gottsche (f) 0-1 each.
Mayo - R Hennelly 7; B Harrison 7, K Keane 6, K Higgins 7; L Keegan 7, C Boyle 6, P Durcan 6; S Coen 7, J Gibbons 7; K McLoughlin 7, A O'Shea 7, J Doherty 8; E Regan 8, C O'Connor 4, C O'Shea 6. Subs: C Loftus 8 for O'Connor (7, BC), S Nally 6 for Boyle (46), A Moran 7 for C O'Shea (46), C Carolan 6 for Doherty (52), A Dillon 6 for Gibbons (57), D Drake 6 for Keegan (61).
London - G McEvoy 6; P Butler 7, C Carty 7, Ciaran Dunne 7; Colin Dunne 6, D Ryan 6, D McGreevy 7; J Moran 8, L Gavaghan 8; A Moyles 8, M Gottsche 8, C Coyne 6; E Murray 7, S Conroy 7, P O'Hara 7. Subs: L Mulvey 6 for Murray (45), C Healy 6 for Colin Dunne (45), M Walsh 6 for Coyne (62), C Og Greene 6 for Conroy (62), C O'Neill 6 for Ciaran Dunne (67), S Hickey 6 for O'Hara (67).
Ref - D O'Mahony (Tipperary).

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