Two first-half goals by James Carr set Mayo on their way to their first competitive win over Galway in three years.
In front of a 19,183 crowd in the LIT Gaelic Grounds, Mayo arrested a seven-game losing run against their neighbours with this wire-to-wire victory that sees them face Kerry in Killarney in their opening Super 8 game tomorrow week.
Galway were eight points behind in both halves but clawed it back to three points in the 61st minute only for Darren Coen, Cillian O’Connor with a massive free and Donie Vaughan poking over a point soccer-style to seal the result.
Shane Walsh did find the net with an additional time free but Galway finished the game with just 12 men as Ian Burke picked up a second yellow card and the Dalys, Seán and Michael, were shown black cards after Galway had used their full complement of subs.
Mayo had developed a bad habit of conceding early goals but here David Clarke’s net stayed vacant unlike Bernard Power’s, a late replacement for Ruairí Lavelle, in the sixth minute. In failing to deal with a Darren Coen point attempt, he could only push it out to Carr who reacted well enough to put the ball past Power.
Carr’s second goal three minutes later was a lot prettier although Liam Silke won’t want to be reminded of it. Soloing from close to the sideline, the Ardagh forward slalomed his way through the Galway cover before unloading to the top of Power’s opposite corner.
Mayo were as far as eight points ahead, twice, in the opening half although they lost some of their momentum thanks to the long distance shooting of Peter Cooke, who had four points to his name by the interval.
Galway reduced the deficit to five points close to the break but Coen, who had been almost as lively as Carr, kicked the last score of the period, Durcan finding Brendan Harrison with a peach of a ball to set the attack in motion.
As Galway’s inside forwards looked starved, the Mayo full-forward line were being fed and watered royally and when Coen’s clever running weren’t reaping rewards, it was Cillian O’Connor’s ability to win frees that had Mayo in good shape.
Scorers for Mayo: C. O’Connor (0-6, 5 frees); J. Carr (2-0); D. Coen (0-3); K. McLoughlin, C. Coen, J. Doherty, D. Vaughan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Galway: S. Walsh (1-3, 1-2 frees, 1 45); P. Cooke (0-4); E. Brannigan (0-2); G. O’Donnell, C. McDaid, M. Daly, K. Molloy (0-1 each).
MAYO: D. Clarke; C. Barrett, B. Harrison; C. Boyle; K. Higgins, P. Durcan (c), S. Coen; A. O’Shea, D. Vaughan; F. McDonagh, K. McLoughlin, J. Doherty; J. Carr, D. Coen, C. O’Connor.
Subs for Mayo: C. Treacy for K. McLoughlin (50); E. Regan for J. Carr (55); L. Keegan for F. McDonagh (63); M. Plunkett for J. Doherty (69); E. O’Donoghue for P. Durcan (inj 70+4).
GALWAY: B. Power; E. Kerin, D. Kyne, L. Silke; J. Daly; G. O’Donnell (c), C. McDaid, S. Kelly; P. Cooke, M. Daly; J. Heaney, S. Walsh, E. Brannigan; M. Farragher, I. Burke.
Subs for Galway: S.A. Ó Ceallaigh for E. Kerin (28); D. Comer for S. Kelly (h-t); A. Ó Laoí for M. Farragher (43); T. Flynn for C. McDaid (56); K. Molloy for J. Heaney (60); A. Varley for E. Brannigan (66).
Red card: I. Burke (second yellow, 70+1).
Black card: J. Daly (black card, not replaced 70+6), M. Daly (black card, not replaced 70+8).
Referee: J. McQuillan (Cavan).