Mighty Mortimer points way for Mayo

Mayo 0-14

Cast in the same mould as Kieran McDonald, Mortimer with the similar golden hair, tormented the Sligo defence all afternoon and his contribution of five points was determining factor in Mayo setting up yet another Connacht final against their arch rivals Galway in a month’s time.

Mortimer’s pace, superb ball control and clinical finishing was a delight to watch, and one wonders why Sligo left Philip Gallagher on him for so long.

Ten minutes from time they eventually decided to take off Gallagher but by then the damage was done.

While Mortimer was undoubted the hero, Mayo also got excellent performances from Gary Mullins at centre back, Fergal Costello at wing back and midfielders James Gill and David Heaney.

Sligo were a huge disappointment both to themselves and their huge following, and apart from the opening 15 minutes during which they proved more than a match for the visitors, they flopped badly, team coach Peter Forde admitting as much afterwards.

Apart from Dessie Sloyan at full forward, few players can look back on this game with any degree of satisfaction.

Nigel Clancy had his moments at centre back as had Eamon O’Hara at midfield, but overall it was a very poor display by the home side.

Despite playing against the wind in the opening half, it was Sligo who drew first blood when Dessie Sloyan pointed after just 17 seconds and a crowd of over 15,500 settled in for what promised to be a rousing contest.

The opening 15 minutes turned out to be just that, helped in no small way by excellent referee Aidan Mangan.

There was no shortage of hard hitting with the sides level three times in that opening spell.

Mayo’s tactic of breaking the ball at midfield worked well for them and with their players tuned into the ploy, they were quickly on to the lose ball.

James Gill and David Heaney gave their side a grip around the middle and with Conor Mortimer showing marvellous skill and turn of pace at right corner forward, Mayo’s dominance finally began to tell.

Excellent wing back Fergal Costelloe came forward twice to kick two great points in a minute which opened up a bit of a gap between the sides for the first time and the visitors were well worth their half time lead of 0-7 to 0-5.

Sligo clearly got a bit of a roasting at the break as they were far more forceful on the change over and were back on level terms after 42 minutes with points from Sloyan and substitute Gerry McGowen.

The teams were still tied after 52 minutes before Mayo made an inspired substitution.

The old cliche which says a team is only as good as the subs on the line was never more true.

They sprung Ger Brady from the bench and he was to have a major influence on the rest of the game. In a marvellous sweeping move from their own defence Brady came from nowhere to take the final pass, only to be denied a certain goal by a brilliant save by Sligo keeper James Curran at the expense of a point, but it illustrated Brady’s predatory instincts around goal.

Sligo did win their share of the ball, but the home side never threatened a goal which they needed to stay in the game.

However for all their superiority Mayo were still not quite out of the woods, and after Dessie Sloyan pointed his fourth free, it left just two between the sides with nine minutes still to play.

Indiscipline in defence proved extremely costly for Sligo as referee Mangan brought the ball 10 metres forward on two occasions which made it easier for Conor Mortimer to point frees.

With the game deep in injury time they did have a goal chance but Dessie Sloyan’s effort clipped the crossbar going over.

In truth they did very well to finish as close as they did to a Mayo side who won’t be far from provincial honours in four weeks time.

Scorers for Mayo: C. Mortimer 0-5 (0-3 frees); F. Costelloe, G. Brady 0-2 each; J. Gill, A. Dillon, D. Sweeney, T. Mortimer, S. Carolan 0-1 each.

Sligo: D. Sloyan 0-6 (0-4 frees); M. McNamara 0-2 (0-1 free); P. Doohan 0-2; G. McGowen 0-1.

MAYO: P. Burke; G. Ruane, D. Heaney, A. Higgins; G. Mullins, J. Nallen, F. Costelloe; F. Kelly,J. Gill; T. Nortimer, D. sweeney, A. Dillon; C. Mortimer, B. Maloney, S. Carolan. Subs. G. Brady for Carolan; M. Sheridan for Maloney; L. Moffett for Kelly.

SLIGO: P. Curran; P. Gallagher, N. Carew, P. Naughton; P. Doohan, N. Clancy, N. McGuire; P. Durcan, E. O;Hara; J. McPartland, M. Breheny, M. McNamara; S. Davey, D. Sloyan, P. Taylor; Subs. G. McGowen for Taylor; d. Durkin for McGuire; K. O’Neill for Davey; B. Phillips for Gallagher; M. Langan for O’Hara.

Referee: A. Mangan (Kerry).

3 Red Cards, none.

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