Mayo 2-14 Galway 1-10, Castelbar
Mayo captain Trevor Mortimer scored a goal and was sent-off as his side comfortably beat Galway in a one-sided NFL opener in Castlebar this afternoon.
In Joe Kernan’s first league game in charge, Galway struggled until substitute Michael Meehan (1-3) inspired a second half fightback.
Two points apiece from Kevin McLoughlin, Mark Ronaldson and Andy Moran had Mayo 0-11 to 0-5 ahead at half-time.
Goals from Enda Varley and Mortimer were quickly followed by the latter's dismissal, but Galway simply had too much ground to make up.
Last year's Connacht finalists went toe-to-toe with both teams lining out as selected. Varley started for Mayo at right corner forward, in the absence of the holidaying Conor Mortimer and Alan Dillon, while David Clarke started ahead of Kenneth O'Malley in goal.
Kernan's Tribesmen were missing Padraic Joyce, Matthew Clancy, Fiachra Breathnach and Barry Cullinane, but there was a fresh look to the side with Michael Martin making his NFL debut at left corner forward and David O'Neill and Paddy Kennedy slotting in at left corner back and right half-forward respectively.
Galway opened the scoring when Paul Conroy set up Sean Armstrong for an early point, but with Tom Parsons and Ronan McGarrity dominating the aerial battle at midfield, Mayo were soon in the lead.
Foraging forward from his wing back station, Peadar Gardiner fisted the leveller before Ronaldson kicked a free and Andy Moran landed a fine score off the outside of his boot.
A more mobile Mayo pressed on with Moran and Ronaldson scoring again, and Trevor Mortimer's effectiveness at wing forward led to his marker Niall Coyne being substituted.
Indeed, Mayo manager John O'Mahony will have been quietly satisfied to see his charges built a match-winning lead by half-time, as eight players got on the scoresheet.
Ronaldson took his tally to 0-4 with a couple of frees, on the resumption, and Meehan's introduction to the game was quickly followed by a yellow card as frustration began to get the better of Galway.
They fell further behind when Varley notched a goal and Mortimer added a quick-fire second when he finished to the net after a quick ball in.
But Mortimer was sent for an early shower, just moments later, when he was red carded for felling a Galway player with a shoulder to his face.
With the extra man, Galway came more and more into the game. Nicky Joyce and Meehan got them ticking on the scoreboard, with the latter racing onto a through ball to fire home a 51st minute goal.
However, Mayo had done enough to put one over on their old rivals and send the bulk of the 5,962-strong crowd home happy.