Saturday 24 March 2018


Man of the match

Barry Moran (Mayo)

Both Sligo midfielders were taken off which illustrates the impact Moran had, especially from kick-outs where he was largely dominant. He got himself into attacking positions too and finished a second-half move with a nice point.

Turning point

Aidan O'Shea's arrival in the 41st minute bolstered Mayo's strength around the middle which Sligo had crowded. There was a far greater authority to Mayo once he was on the field and in a tight, tense game his strength made a big difference.

Talking point

The curse of the Mayo corner-forwards. Enda Varley and Jason Doherty were whipped off by the 60th minute, while their replacements Michael Conroy and Alan Freeman didn't fare much better. Mayo survived. If they didn't, the reasons behind Conor Mortimer's departure would have been magnified to a much greater extent than they will be. Mayo will be better for this the next day.

Magic moment

So often it's the superbly-weighted pass or the wonderful long-range score that is remembered, to the detriment of good defence, but it was Ross Donovan's perfectly-timed challenge on Jason Doherty in the 22nd minute that stood out. What's more, referee Cormac Reilly saw it for what it was and didn't yield to the assumption that because Doherty had hit the deck it had to be a free.

Ref watch

Reilly's general handling was sound and he got most calls of frees correct at first glance. Inevitably, there will be scrutiny on his application of the handpass rule. Mayo were denied a goal when Cillian O'Connor was adjudged to have handpassed illegally, while Kevin Walsh was adamant that David Maye was harshly penalised in the second half after taking a great catch.

What they said

Kevin Walsh (Sligo manager):

"I would have been disappointed with most aspects. It was disappointing when we did all those things very well against Galway."

James Horan (Mayo manager):

"We had a competitive game today and we were a bit nervous but I don't think the Conor Mortimer thing affected the players whatsoever."

Match statistics

Wides: Mayo 14 (7 first half); Sligo 8 (5)

Frees: Mayo 24 (11); Sligo 27 (15)

Yellow cards: Mayo 4 (L Keegan 41, B Moran 51, 71, C O'Connor 72); Sligo 4 (D Maye 27, M Breheny 28, E O'Hara 51, D Kelly 60)

Red cards: Mayo 1 (B Moran 71); Sligo 0

Attendance: 23,257

What next?

Mayo are into an All-Ireland quarter-final on the weekend of August 4/5, Sligo head for a fourth-round qualifier on the weekend of July 28/29.

Irish Independent

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