Mayo 1-11 Laois 0-8
Mayo got their Division 1 campaign off to a good start with a workmanlike victory over Laois at O’Moore Park tonight.
There was very little between the teams in the opening period but Mayo put the foot on the gas as the second half wore on to make sure of the points.
Former midfield All-Star, Padraig Clancy was looking very sharp at full-forward for Laois and his marker, Ger Cafferkey was called ashore in the 14th minute.
The flame-haired Timahoe man was heavily involved as the hosts plundered four points in five minutes mid-way through the half, to turn a one-point deficit into a three-point advantage.
Two of those scores came from frees awarded for fouls on the big man, while the others were excellent efforts by John O’Loughlin and the eye-catching David Conway.
They were stung by a 35th minute goal from Alan Freeman though. While there was a degree of fortune to the score, as Laois goalkeeper, Eoin Culliton was wrong-footed by O’Loughlin’s half-block on Freeman’s shot, it was the least James Horan’s side deserved.
They probably should have raised the green flag three times by that stage, as Alan Dillon blazed over from 12m when one-on-one with Culliton, Freeman toe-poked straight at Cahir Healy on the line after Culliton had been dispossessed and Conor Mortimer tripped himself up when clean through.
When Mortimer converted an injury-time free though, it was Mayo who held the interval advantage, 1-4 to 0-6.
Mortimer responded to another converted Conway free with a brace of points, the first from play after a searing burst by Kevin McLaughlin. Freeman launched a wonder point from wide on the right and the margin was three.
Laois were getting plenty of possession but the quality of supply deteriorated as they resorted too often to aimless garryowens in Clancy’s direction.
Darren Strong did arrow over but that was Laois’ first score for 20 minutes. What’s more, apart from a couple of missed frees by Munnelly, they hadn’t created too many opportunities in that second half.
In contrast, Mayo responded with four more points, including two from Enda Varley to put the issue to bed.
Mayo: D Clarke; L Keegan, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Gardiner, D Vaughan, R Feeney; S O’Shea, P Harte; K McLoughlin, A Freeman 1-2, A Dillon 0-1; C Mortimer 0-5(4fs), B Moran 0-1, A Moran. Sub: E Reilly for Cafferkey (14); J Doherty for Harte (54); E Varley 0-2 for A Moran (54); D Geraghty for O’Shea (66)
Laois: E Culliton; C Healy, K Lillis, P O’Leary; D Strong 0-1, S Julian, C Boyle; B Quigley, J O’Loughlin 0-1; R Munnelly 0-2(1f), K Meaney, C Begley; P Cahillane, P Clancy, D Conway 0-4(3fs). Subs: D O’Connor for Cahillane (51); MJ Tierney for Conway (51); B Mulligan for Julian (59)
Referee: R Hickey (Clare)