By John Fallon
Stephen Rochford’s reign as Mayo manager got off to a winning start when they were pushed all the way by NUIG before emerging 1-12 to 1-10 winners.
Kevin McLoughlin got the crucial goal for Mayo after 42 minutes after they trailed by 0-7 to 0-6 at the interval in front of a crowd of 2,390.
Points from Colm Boyle and Conor Loftus helped Mayo open up a five points lead but the students hit back with Mayo natives Conor O’Shea and Adam Gallagher leading the charge.
A goal from a penalty from Gallagher ensured a nervous finished for Rochford’s men but they held on for victory.
Galway got their campaign off to an encouraging start with a 2-9 to 0-12 win over Sligo.
The Tribesmen wasted little time in getting on top against Sligo in a good contest at Tuam Stadium.
A goal from the impressive Damien Comer helped them open up a 1-3 to 0-1 lead after 11 minutes.
Sligo hit back with Niall Murphy, Pat Hughes and Kenneth Sweeney but they lost Noel Gaughan to a black card and trailed by double scores, 1-7 to 0-5, at the interval.
Points from Adrian Varley and Johnny Heaney pushed Galway further in front but Sligo hit back with scores from Joe Rodgers, Eoin McHugh and Murphy.
Galway sub Enda Tierney put them in the driving seat when he found the net from close range after 47 minutes, although Murphy, who finished with 0-6, kept Sligo in touch to the end.
Kevin McStay and Fergal O’Donnell began their reign as Roscommon joint managers with an easy 1-20 to 0-10 win over IT Sligo at St Croan’s club grounds.
Kieran Kilcline got the first-half goal for reigning FBD League to lead by 1-12 to 0-3 lead at the interval.
The sides were tied at 0-2 apiece after ten minutes but then Roscommon took over and scored 1-9 without reply.
IT Sligo centre-back Eamon McGrath was black-carded just before the break but they were resolute on the resumption but Roscommon were too good.
They dominated throughout the hour in a promising opening to their season, with Ciaran Murtagh shooting 0-5 for the winners.
Nevin O’Donnell shot 2-2 for Leitrim in the opening half for them to lead by 2-9 to 0-4 against GMIT in a game which was switched to the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence.
The returning Emlyn Mulligan was also in fine form in that opening half, landing 0-5 as they got on top against the students.
Leitrim continued to dominate after the restart and ran out impressive 3-16 to 1-6 winners in the end, with Thomas Mulvey getting their third goal and Andy Glennon shooting a late consolation score for the students.