James Horan watched his team warm up for next Saturday night’s Allianz League floodlit game away to Laois with a comfortable win over the students of NUIG.
NUIG manager, John Maughan made no secret of the fact winning this game was not a priority due to the close proximity of next Tuesday’s Sigerson Cup opener against St Mary’s, Belfast.
It certainly looked as if his players felt the same way for long spells as they came off second best in most of the individual battles.
The writing was on the wall for NUIG at half-time as they had fallen behind, 0-8 to 0-3. All of Mayo’s scores in that opening period came from their energetic full-forward line, and all bar one of them were from open play.
All Star Andy Moran marked his first start after three months out with a broken leg with a hat-trick of points, while Alan Freeman also helped himself to three classy scores, two from play.
The other white flags were contributed by the industrious Conor Mortimer, who landed one outrageous point off his right foot and also tacked on a free.
At the other end, Mayo’s defence were practically impregnable with Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan and Richic Feeney the pick of a highly-motivated bunch.
NUIG managed points in the fifth, 15th and 30th minutes from Shane Moran, Neil Douglas and Fiachra Deasmhunaigh, respectively.
In between, Mayo did pretty much as they pleased, mixing the long and short game as the situation demanded, with Barry Moran and Aidan O’Shea in complete control of the midfield sector.
NUIG started the second half with the best of intentions as Cork native Ó Deasmhunaigh pulled a score back on 36 minutes.
However, the winners drove home their advantage during the third quarter with Conor Mortimer (three frees), Barry Moran and Kevin McLoughlin all posting points.
With Mayo ahead by nine points, and James Horan using the opportunity to empty his bench, it was no major surprise that game petered out to its inevitable conclusion.
Young Footballer of the Year, Cillian O’Connor, and Seamus O’Shea, a first-choice midfielder last season, were both pitched in for the last quarter but the result was set in stone at that stage.
NUI Galway full-forward Jason Doherty (who will be part of Mayo’s plans for the National League) did force David Clarke into a smart save on 53 minutes, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.
Mayo wing-forward Kevin McLoughlin was rewarded for a typically industrious performance with the official man of the match award.
MAYO: D Clarke; K Higgins, G Cafferkey, L Keegan (0-1); P Gardiner, D Vaughan, R Feeney; B Moran (0-1), A O’Shea; K McLoughlin (0-1), A Dillon, P Harte; A Freeman (0-3, 2fs), A Moran (0-3), C Mortimer (0-5, 3fs).
Subs: S O’Shea for A O’Shea; C O’Connor for Moran; E O’Reilly for Cafferkey; C Boyle for R Feeney; E Regan for Freeman.
NUIG: D O’Sullivan (Limerick); L Healy (Clare), D Gavin (Mayo), K McDonald (Tipperary); J Moore (Galway), G Sweeney (Galway), R Kiely (Tipp); S Guing (Offaly), S Moran (Leitrim) (0-1); F Deasmhunaigh (Cork) (0-2), S Gilmartin (Sligo), K Conroy (Mayo); N Douglas (Mayo) (0-1), J Doherty (Mayo), I Galvin (Kerry).
Subs: R Rochford for Gavin; C Griffin for Guing; K Conlon for Conroy; D Newcombe for Kiely; S McWeeney for Sweeney.
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).