Mayo claim third Connacht SFC title

Mayo 5-11 London 0-10

Mayo claim third Connacht SFC title

Mayo 5-11 London 0-10

Substitute Cillian O'Connor netted a second half hat-trick, as Mayo claimed their third Connacht SFC title in succession, following a 16-point win over London, before 21,274 spectators at Elverys McHale Park this afternoon.

Mayo didn't make it easy on themselves, and registered 19 wides during this game, 12 inside the opening 35 minutes, but in the end had plenty to spare over the first time provincial finalists.

Both managers stuck with the teams named midweek, with Mayo also including Enda Varley and Michael Conroy on their substitutes bench.

James Horan's charges were firmly dominant in the early stages of this game, and gave London little change around the middle with Breffy brothers Aidan and Seamus O'Shea firmly dominating midfield.

It wasn't until the 16th minute before London matched to win the ball cleanly in the middle third, with Damien Dunleavy making a fine catch, but the hosts had already powered to a 1-5 to 0-2 lead at this stage.

Kevin McLoughlin opened the scoring inside the opening 90 seconds, but Mayo struggled to add to this as they became wayward in front of the posts.

Darren Coen and Alan Dillon contributed early wides, before Lorcan Mulvey equalised for the Exiles, with the first of his four first-half points in the eighth minute.

Mayo regained the lead thanks to a Richie Feeney score, and with their first goal coming soon after they firmly took a foothold.

Freeman capitalised on a mistake by London defender Shane Mulligan and quickly punished the Fulham Irish clubman's error, sending a low shot through the legs of Declan Traynor to ensure a 1-2 to 0-1 lead after 11 minutes.

Mayo moved five points clear thanks to a further Freeman score a minute later, but London kept in touch thanks to a Dunleavy score.

Mayo continued to press hard with points from Lee Keegan and McLoughlin, as the hosts took a 1-5 to 0-2 lead after 16 minutes.

London worked hard with Dunleavy playing the ball into fellow Galway native Eoin O'Neill in the 17th minute, but the Exiles failed to get the second quarter off to a perfect start.

O'Neill denied by the whistle of referee Conor Lane, despite getting the ball to the back of the net, after the Cork official deemed that O'Neill had committed an infringement in the square.

Mayo worked hard at the opposite end, but once again became unstuck in front of the posts.

Seamus O'Shea blasting an 18th minute goal effort wide, while McLoughlin also failed to add to the Mayo tally a minute later.

Mayo sharpened up, with Freeman snatching his second point, while Darren Coen pushed Mayo 10 points clear with a 23rd minute goal.

Richie Feeney showed great vision to pick out the Hollymount/Carramore man inside, and Coen had no hesitation to slot the ball past London keeper Traynor.

2-6 to 0-2 ahead, Mayo failed to add to their tally before the break, as London finished strongly.

The Exiles had their best patch of the opening half in a seven-minute spell before the break, but continued to rely on Mulvey from placed balls.

The Cavan native fired three unanswered points from frees before the beak to ensure a 2-6 to 0-5 interval score-line.

Mulvey helped reduce the deficit to six points inside 45 seconds of the restart, with a further score, but this was as close as the Exiles got, as Mayo kicked on, boosted by the introduction of half-time substitute O'Connor.

The Baltintubber clubman tore the London defence apart in the second half, with the St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra student firing goals in the 41st, 48th and 56th minutes as Mayo powered to their 44th Connacht SFC crown, equalling neighbours Galway.

O'Connor replaced first-half goal-scorer Coen at the break, and quickly caused havoc.

Lee Keegan and Andy Moran added early points for Mayo, before O'Connor took control, registering 1-1 unanswered in a two-minute spell as the hosts gained a 3-9 to 0-6 lead.

London kept in touch thanks to scores from Mulvey and Sean Kelly, but any hope of a comeback was thwarted by O'Connor's second goal, after good work in the build-up by Keegan and Andy Moran.

London worked hard but substitute Colin Daly failed on two occasions in front of the posts, while at the opposite end, substitute Cathal Óg Greene was forced to concede a penalty after halting Tom Cunniffe's advances.

Subsequently O'Connor had no problems from the penalty spot as Mayo moved 5-9 to 0-8 ahead.

Mayo became wasteful in front of the posts, but it mattered little, with London gaining some consolation late on, following scores from Padraig McGoldrick and Mulvey.

After the game Mayo captain Andy Moran received the Nestor Cup from Connacht GAA President Frank Burke, in the presence of GAA President Liam O'Neill and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Scorers for Mayo: C O'Connor (1-0pen, 3f); 3-3; A Freeman 1-2; D Coen 1-0; L Keegan, K McLoughlin 0-2 each; A Moran, R Feeney 0-1 each.

Scorers for London: L Mulvey (6f) 0-7; D Dunleavy, S Kelly (1f), P McGoldrick 0-1 each.

MAYO: R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, G Cafferkey, C Barrett; L Keegan, K Higgins, C Boyle; A O'Shea, S O'Shea; K McLoughlin, A Dillon, R Feeney; A Moran, A Freeman, D Coen. Subs: C O'Connor for Coen (HT); M Conroy for Freeman (44); D Vaughan for Feeney (48); E Varley for Moran (53); S McHale for Cafferkey (60).

LONDON: D Traynor; P Butler, S Curran, D McGreevy; S Hannon, S Mulligan, T Gaughan; C Doyle, P Geraghty; G Crowley, D Dunleavy, C McCallion; E O'Neill, L Mulvey, C Magee. Subs: C Óg Greene for Gaughan (26); C Daly for Doyle (32); S Kelly for O'Neill (44); B Mitchell for McCallion (55); P McGoldrick for Dunleavy (65).

REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork)

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