Two first-half goals inside 60 seconds from Paul Walsh were the vital scores that sent Mayo into the Connacht MFC final against Galway as they saw off Sligo in Castlebar.
The Castlebar Mitchels youngster bagged four goals over the hour and pounced with an acrobatic effort at the back post to bag his first goal nine minutes in. Less than a minute later he finished off a mazy run through the heart of the Yeats County defence to put his side 2-2 to 0-1 up.
Mayo went in at the break leading by 2-6 to 0-3 despite kicking 11 wides in the opening half, as they made Sligo pay for some sloppy passing in attack and a malfunctioning kick-out.
Two 45s from Dylan Walsh inside the opening exchanges of the second half gave Sligo some hope they could work their way back into the game —but the damage had been done by Walsh’s early goals.
Walsh completed his hattrick just before the midway point of the second half rising between two Sligo defenders to punch the ball into the net from close range and it looked like the game had been killed off as a contest.
Sligo pulled a goal back through a close range Jack Davitt finish with 12 minutes to go in normal time but it was too little too late for his side to mount a comeback.
Ciaran Mylett hit Mayo’s fourth goal on 56 minutes with Walsh bagging his fourth a minute later.
L Jennings; A Morrision, O Tunney, A Cosgrove; S Dempsey (0-1), R Keane, E Gilraine; P Heneghan (0-1), E Henry; C Mylett (1-1), R Hughes, D Thornton; P Walsh (4-1), C Reid, F Irwin (0-2). Subs: R Morrin (0-1) for Thornton (BC), O McHale for C Reid, E Murphy for A Morrision, C O’Connell for R Hughes, M Tighe for P Heneghan, N Feeney for P Walsh.
J Teape; S Muldowney, M Connolly- McGowan, O Hynes; C Mulligan, C McKeown, C Finn; J Keaney, J Lavin; O McDonagh, E Smith (0-4), J Davitt (1-2); L Deignan, C Gorman, G Duffy (0-2).
Subs: D Walsh (0-2, 2 45’) for C Finn, L Casserly for L Deignan, K Feely for S Muldowney.
Ref: E O’Grady (Leitrim)