Exiles succumb to Mayo might

SECOND quarter goals from Patrick Harte and debutant Aidan O’Shea were the catalyst for victory as Mayo withstood a determined New York start to earn an impressive 15-point win in the opening game of the 2009 GAA Connacht Senior Football Championship.

In front of almost 3,000 spectators at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, New York were held scoreless from the 11th to the 45th minute as an on-fire Mayo reeked havoc scoring 2-11 during this spell.

Indeed New York would have been in further arrears at the full-time whistle but for a fine display by their goalkeeper Evan Byrne who made some outstanding blocks, including three full length saves in the second half.

An eager New York made a blistering start to this game and powered to a 0-4 to 0-0 lead after five minutes with the hosts on top in the midfield battle.

Seamus Smith’s charges were in fine form with Cavan native Paddy Smith hitting an early brace of points from play along with pointed frees from John McNicholas and Robert Moran.

New York captain and former Mayo minor player Moran added his second point in the 11th minute, following scores from Andy and Barry Moran for the visitors who took almost eight minutes to get their opening score.

Although the first goal chance of this contest fell to New York full-forward Declan Reilly in the 15th minute, Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke pulled off an excellent save which inspired John O’Mahony’s side.

The hosts were very much on the back foot for the remainder of the opening half as Mayo began to dominate at midfield with man-of-the- match Patrick Harte tracking back from his half-forward berth while Ronan McGarrity also came more into the game.

Mayo now began to play more of their trademark free-flowing football with O’Shea points either side of a Tom Parsons effort ensuring the sides were level at 0-5 apiece.

O’Mahony’s charges ran rampant at this stage with the first of three Alan Dillon scores putting Mayo into the lead for the first time with 14 minutes remaining in the opening half. The momentum was firmly with Mayo at this juncture with Dillon combining with Harte who fired home the games opening goal in the 22nd minute.

Scores from Dillon, Andy Moran, Ronan McGarrity and a superb score from defender Peadar Gardiner inside his own half; helped open up a 1-10 to 0-5 cushion with six minutes to go before the interval but Mayo weren’t finished yet.

Teenager O’Shea palmed the ball to the net a minute later to propel Mayo into an 11-point lead with New York firmly on the back-foot. Mayo began the second half at blistering pace with captain Trevor Mortimer slotting over his first point inside 30 seconds of the restart.

The visitors were eager to add a third goal to their tally with chances for both Donal Vaughan and Barry Moran inside five minutes of the restart, but New York’s defence stood firm.

Vaughan’s goal effort was well marshalled by New York corner back Joe Bell before goalkeeper Evan Byrne blocked out Moran’s effort. However Alan Dillon fisted over his third point from the resulting rebound.

Some superb scores from Paddy Smith were cancelled out on two occasions by Mayo as Ballaghaderreen ace Andy Moran came to the fore to ensure a 2-15 to 0-7 lead as the game entered the final quarter.

With Mayo now looking comfortably through to meet either Leitrim or Roscommon in the next round, John O’Mahony opted to make some changes with 35-year old James Nallen introduced for his 14th Championship campaign.

New York kept persevering with points from substitutes Ronan Caffrey and Thomas McGovern and corner forward Francie Cleary, but it was too little too late as Mayo sealed victory with substitute Aidan Kilcoyne adding his third point despite only being introduced for the final ten minutes of this game.

Scorers for Mayo: A O’Shea (1f) 1-2; A Moran 0-4; P Harte 1-1; A Dillon 0-3; A Kilcoyne (1 45) 0-3; T Mortimer 0-2; P Gardiner, T Parsons, R McGarrity, B Moran 0-1 each.

Scorers for New York: P Smith 0-4; R Moran (2f) 0-2; J McNicholas (1f), F Cleary, T McGovern, R Caffrey 0-1 each.

MAYO: D Clarke; L O’Malley, G Cafferkey, K McLoughlin; P Gardiner, T Howley, D Vaughan; T Parsons, R McGarrity; P Harte, T Mortimer, A Dillon; A Moran, A O’Shea, B Moran.

Subs: J Nallen for Howley (49); B Padden for Parsons (55); A Kilcoyne for A Moran (59); D Heaney for McLoughlin (62); M Sweeney for Dillon (67)

NEW YORK: E Byrne; J Bell, A Downes, C Hunter; D Keane, A Raftery, B O’Reilly; R Moran, R Garvey; J McNicholas, P Smith, K McGeeney; J Goldrick, D Reilly, F Cleary.

Subs: G Dowd for Reilly (23); A Carolan for Downes (29); R Caffrey for Garvey (50); S Carthy for McNicholas (51); T McGovern for McGeeney (66)

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).

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