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Second half surge sees Mayo past Limerick

Mayo finally wore down a stubborn Leitrim team at MacHale Park in Castlebar to advance to the semi-final of the Connacht U-21 football championship.

The game was held up for 22 minutes 14 minutes into the second half while an ambulance was called to take Leitrim full-back Gary Butler to hospital with a suspected neck injury after he took a heavy fall in a collision with his own goalkeeper and a Mayo player, which led up to Mayo’s second goal. Mayo were leading 2-7 to 0-6 at the time.

Diarmuid O’Connor was on hand to finish to the net after the ball broke free following that collision and with it when any hope of Leitrim getting back into the game. Two minutes after the game resumed, Matthew Ruane had a third Mayo goal to kill the game as a contest, Adam Gallagher firing home their fourth three minutes from time

Mayo needed a goal in the first half to take a two-point lead into half-time and it couldn’t have been more timely than the 20th minute when they found themselves trailing to a Leitrim side who played more direct football early on and had Mayo under a lot of pressure, the home team kicking ten wides in that half alone.

Corner-back Michael Hall finished to the net from 15-yards, Stephen Coen and Darren MacHale adding points to give Mayo a 1-4 to 0-5 interval lead, three of Leitrim’s scores coming from Conor Gaffney, including two from play, while Donal Wrynn and Gary Plunkett also found the target for the visitors.

SCORERS – Mayo: A Gallagher 1-1, D O’Connor and M Ruane 1-0 each, M Hall 1-1, M Flanagan 0-2 (2 ’45s), D McHale, J Durcan, S Coen. Leitrim: C Gaffney 0-4 (2f), D Wrynn, G Plunkett, M Plunkett and N Moore 0-1 each.

MAYO – M Flanagan; M Hall, D Kenny, J Stretton; S Regan, S Coen, P Durcan; D O’Connor, TJ Byrne; V Roughneen, A Gallagher, D McHale; C Burke, B Reape, J Durcan. Subs: C Loftus for B Reape (38), M Ruane for TJ Byrne (40), M Plunkett for D McHale (48), M Lyons for D O’Connor (50), K Lynch for P Durcan (52), S Conroy for J Durcan (58).

LEITRIM – B Flynn; J Mitchell, G Butler, K McHugh; O Madden, N Moore, J De Lacy; D Wrynn, F McHugh; J Rooney, M Plunkett, D Farrell; G Plunkett, D McGovern, C Gaffney. Subs: N Brady for D Wrwnn (BC, 34), K Cox for D McGovern (38), M Clancy for G Butler (inj, 44), K Shanley for  O Madden (45).

REF – J Gilmartin (Sligo)


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