MAYO BOOKED THEIR spot in the semi-finals of this year’s All-Ireland senior football championship with a comprehensive 3-18 to 2-9 success over Down this afternoon in Croke Park.
James Horan’s proved far too strong for their opponents as they powered into a six-point lead at half-time and extended that to 12 points by the conclusion of the second-half. However the Connacht champions joy was overshadowed by the sight of leading attacker Andy Moran being stretchered off with a serious knee injury in the second-half and his availability for their semi-final tie on September 1st is now in doubt.
Mayo got off to a dream start when Jason Doherty raised a green flag in the 5th minute for the opening score of the game but Down recovered and when their big midfielder Kalum King shot to the net in the 15th minute, the teams were level at 1-2 apiece.
The teams then traded points to stay tied at 1-4 apiece before Mayo made a decisive burst before the break. Cillian O’Conor displayed brilliant accuracy from placed balls to register three points and Michael Conroy grabbed their second goal in the 28th minute to see them ahead 2-7 to 1-4 at the interval.
Matters improved further for Mayo in the interval with Conroy, a late inclusion in the starting fifteen in place of Enda Varley, justifying his inclusion when he palmed home his second goal and Mayo’s third goal in the 43rd minute of the match. By that stage they had moved in front by 3-9 to 1-6 and from there to the end they took control of the game.
Alan Dillon, O’Connor, Kevin McLoughlin and Lee Keegan were all on target with point attempts to see them ahead by 15 points entering injury-time, 3-17 to 1-8. The only downside during that wave of second-half dominance was the serious knee injury incurred by Andy Moran and Mayo did concede an injury-time when Benny Coulter fired home a consolation effort for Down. But James Horan’s men still ran out convincing winners as they advanced to the last four.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-7 (0-6f), Michael Conroy 2-1, Alan Dillon 0-4, Jason Doherty 1-0, Kevin McLoughlin 0-2, Enda Varley, Lee Keegan Aidan O’Shea, Andy Moran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: Aidan Carr 0-7 (0-5f), Benny Coulter 1-1, Kalum King 1-0, Liam Doyle 0-1 (0-1f).
MAYO: David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Kevin Keane (Westport), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Lee Keegan (Westport), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen). Michael Conroy (Davitts). Subs: Alan Freeman (Aghamore) for Moran, Richie Feeney (Castelbar Mitchels) for Doherty, Enda Varley (Garrymore) for Conroy, Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber) for O’Shea, Chris Barrett (Belmullet) for Keegan.
DOWN: Brendan McVeigh (An Ríocht); Darren O’Hagan (Clonduff), Dan Gordon (Loughinisland), Brendan McArdle (Annaclone); Kevin McKernan (Burren), Conor Garvey (Mayobridge), Niall McParland (An Ghleann); Ambrose Rogers (Longstone), Kalum King (Bryansford); Aidan Carr (Clonduff), Mark Poland (Longstone), Conor Maginn (Bryansford); Conor Laverty (Kilcoo), Brendan Coulter (Mayobridge), Eoin McCartan (Burren). Subs: Aiden Branagan (Kilcoo) for McParland, Liam Doyle (Liatroim) for Maginn, Declan Rooney (Burren) for McArdle, Donal O’Hare (Burren) for McCartan.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).