Three of today’s four FBD League games brought wins for new men at the helm as Mayo, Leitrim and Galway emerged winners along with Roscommon.
Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes celebrated a hard earned home triumph at Elvery’s MacHale Park, as four-in-a-row Connacht champions Mayo recorded a 1-13 to 1-11 win over NUI Galway.
A late Adam Gallagher point provided the insurance score, in a game which produced an entertaining contest to kick-start the New Year.
The students led by 1-7 to 0-8 at the break, with top-scorer Peadar Ó Gríofa (1-7) netting their three-pointer, but on the turnaround a Mark Ronaldson goal saw Mayo take the lead.
Although the sides would be level on two further occasions, crucially Mayo didn’t fall into arrears.
Chris Barrett, Evan Regan and Gallagher all claimed points in the final quarter, with Ó Gríofa impressing for NUIG from dead-balls.
But Mayo just done enough to hold out for a two-point win.
In the other Group A encounter, Roscommon were never troubled as they claimed a 0-14 to 0-5 win over IT Sligo in Strokestown.
John Evans' side were in full command, and led throughout with five different scorers in the opening half.
Ciaran Murtagh led the charge with three first half points, with Colin Compton, Ciaran Cafferky, Mark Healy and Senan Kilbride also on target to ensure a seven-point lead.
IT Sligo’s lone first half score came before the interval, with a David Quinn pointed free ensuring a 0-7 to 0-1 half-time score-line.
The students cut the gap to five points early on the restart, but Murtagh, Mark Nally and Cathal Cregg were impressive as Roscommon claimed a nine-point win.
Leitrim’s quest for three-in-a-row of titles began on a positive note as the hosts recorded a 3-17 to 1-7 win over GMIT in Group B at Cloone.
Ciaran Gilheaney, Kevin Conlon and Christy McGowan registered the winners goals, in a game which saw the hosts lead by 1-12 to 0-4 at the break.
GMIT led by 0-2 to 0-1 early on, but Leitrim firmly took control with Gilheaney’s 18th minute goal gave Leitrim a 1-10 to 0-3 lead at the start of the second quarter.
The sides shared four points equally inside 11 minutes of the restart, but Leitrim always had that extra edge and finished strongly.
McGowan’s goal helping them to a 2-14 to 0-5 lead before Conlon netted, with the latter finishing the game as top-scorer with 1-6.
Kevin Walsh’s first game as Galway Senior Football manager, saw the Tribesmen record an impressive 0-14 to 0-5 win over his former charges Sligo in Enniscrone.
Galway fielded a strong side, including three from current Connacht Club Champions Corofin, with Gary Sice, Ian Burke and Liam Silke all in the starting line-up.
Adrian Marren registered two early scores for Sligo, but Galway took a firm foothold, with Man of the Match Eddie Hoare scoring seven points.
Hoare contributed five first half points for the visitors, as aided by a gale-force wind Galway led by 0-9 to 0-2 at the interval, with Fiontain Ó Curraoin (0-2) and Michael Martyn also on the score-sheet.
The expected Sligo response in the second period never materialised as Galway not only defended strongly into the wind, they added five excellent points in the second half, with Hoare bringing his tally to seven points while Martyn (0-5) was also on target.