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Hayes brothers lead the way in facile Portumna success

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John Tigue of James Stephens in action against Portumna's Eoin Lynch during the Connacht Club
SHC final in Athleague yesterday

John Tigue of James Stephens in action against Portumna's Eoin Lynch during the Connacht Club SHC final in Athleague yesterday

John Tigue of James Stephens in action against Portumna's Eoin Lynch during the Connacht Club SHC final in Athleague yesterday

Portumna hit Mayo champions James Stephens for six in a one-sided Connacht final at Athleague yesterday.

Damian Hayes led the rout with a haul of 4-1 as Portumna lifted their third Connacht SHC title in five years.

The Mayo champions from Ballina just had no answer to a Portumna side who scored at will throughout.

Indeed, the margin of victory would have been much greater had Portumna not hit 18 wides, 12 of them in the opening half.

The Mayo side -- who will also contest the Connacht club football final next Sunday -- did well to get this far, but they never looked like troubling the former All-Ireland champions.

Hayes tally of 4-1 saw three of the goals coming in the opening half as they led by 3-7 to 0-4 at the break.

James Stephens managed the opening score of the game when Keith Barrett landed a free from half-way after five minutes, but it was all one-way traffic after that.

Hayes got the first of his goals after ten minutes and again displayed awesome speed to rattle the net after 15 and 26 minutes.

His brother Niall took over after the restart on his way to shooting 1-6, all but a point coming after the break, as Portumna kept coming forward.

Niall Hayes got Portuma's fourth goal two minutes after the restart, before his younger brother blasted his fourth of the game after 41 minutes.

James Stephens got their first score from play going into the final quarter when Paul Reape landed a point from 50 yards and a few minutes later midfielder Vincent O'Hora also found his range.

But Portumna continued to score at will with Kevin Hayes getting their sixth goal eight minutes from the end and Andrew Smith bringing his tally to 0-6 with a couple of good efforts.

As usual Joe Canning displayed some neat touches but he had to be content

with just a single point from play.

However, it mattered little given the accuracy of those around him as they laid down a marker that they will again be serious contenders for the All-Ireland championship next spring.

SCORERS -- Portumna: D Hayes 4-1, N Hayes 1-6, A Smith 0-6 (0-1f), K Hayes 1-2, J Canning 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1'65'), E Lynch, C Ryan , C O'Hehir 0-1 each. James Stephens: D Barrett 0-3f, K Barrett 0-1f), V O'Hora (0-1), P Reape, A Stenson (f) 0-1 each.

Portumna -- I Canning; M Gill, O Canning, D Canning; G Heagney, E McEntee, A O'Donnell; E Lynch, P Smith; N Hayes, K Hayes, L Smith; D Hayes, J Canning, A Smith. Subs: C Ryan for L Smith (37), J O'Flaherty for A O'Donnell (42), C O'Hehir for Lynch ( 44).

James Stephens -- T Duffy; K Barrett, D Cafferky, A Healy; H Ruane, K Golden, S Doherty; J Tigue, V O'Hora; P Reape, K Healy, R Campion; B Walsh, B Barrett, D Barrett. Subs: J Duffy for A Healy (ht), A Stenson for Walsh ()40), C Sheridan for B Barrett (46), P Walsh for K Healy (50 ), S Golden for D Barrett (58).

Ref -- J McGrath (Westmeath).