London 0-9 Mayo 2-16: Mayo scored a comprehensive victory over London in a Connacht SFC quarter-final that only offered rare glimpses of the seismic home performance of 2011.
On that occasion the Exiles brought James Horan’s side to extra-time before relenting, but yesterday’s contest was over at half-time thanks to goals from Conor Loftus and Jason Doherty.
London opened brightly though a Scott Conroy point and they were competitive through the opening 15 minutes but their game plan was reliant on a high energy and accurate defensive performance that wilted when Mayo pressed high.
Their optimism received a boost when Cillian O’Connor was issued with a black card after tripping Philip Butler on six minutes. It was a boost, albeit a short-lived one.
Rob Hennelly ran from his goal to kick a ’45 and debutant Evan Regan hit three points before O’Connor’s replacement, Conor Loftus came in on the end of a turnover kick out to palm to the net. He finished with 1-2 and Regan was awarded the man of the match with a tally of 0-7 that featured some super efforts.
Mayo’s superiority saw them lead by 2-8 to 0-5 at the break after Doherty raised a green flag with a low finish after a charging run from Aidan O’Shea.
But in the sunshine and in front of a packed Ruislip, London steeled themselves through a the second period where Mark Gottsche, Adrian Moyles and Liam Gavaghan featured prominently.
They all hit points in quick succession to reduce Mayo’s lead to eight entering the last quarter but at this stage it was all about performance and not victory.
Mayo introduced Andy Moran who clipped over two neat scores with a Regan point sandwiched in between and the contest was put to bed through points from Stephen Coen, Kevin McLoughlin and Alan Dillon.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford said he expected Diarmuid O’Connor, Donal Vaughan and Seamus O’Shea to be fit ahead of the Connacht semi-final with Galway.
And while pleased with the win, Rochford was unhappy with the inaccuracy of his team.
“Well in any championship game when you come out with a win you can look at it as job done and move on,” he said. “We took the game quite serious and at times I thought we played well. Our execution though was nowhere where we expected it to be and nowhere where it will be needed further on.
“We still racked up 18 scores - some of them were difficult chances. But we missed one or two easy ones. It’s the first round of the championship, there is always going to be things to work on.”
Speaking about Cillian O’Connor’s black card he said: “It looked a fair enough black. There will be nobody more disappointed with it than Cillian himself as captain of the team and these are the things that happen and referees make decisions on that.
No doubt he will be working very hard over the next three weeks to get himself back into the team.
“We’ve got a win out of today and this will create a certain amount of momentum - Galway are going to be tough opposition. We will be putting our heads down and looking to address some of those issues.”
Scorers for Mayo:
E Regan (0-7, 5 frees), C Loftus (1-2), J Doherty (1-0), A Moran (0-2), R Hennelly (’45), A O’Shea, S Coen, K McLoughlin, A Dillon (0-1 each).
A Moyles (0-4, 2 frees), L Gavaghan (0-2), S Conroy (free), E Murray, M Gottsche (free) (0-1 each).
R Hennelly; B Harrison, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; S Coen, J Gibbons; K McLoughlin, A O’Shea, J Doherty; E Regan, C O’Connor, C O’Shea.
C Loftus for O’Connor (7, black card); S Nally for Boyle (46); A Moran for C O’Shea (46); C Carolan for Doherty (52); A Dillon for Gibbons (57); D Drake for Keegan (61).
G McEvoy; P Butler, C Carty, Ciaran Dunne; Colin Dunne, D Ryan, D McGreevy; J Moran, L Gavaghan; A Moyles, M Gottsche, C Coyne; E Murray, S Conroy, P O’Hara.
L Mulvey for Murray (45), C Healy for Colin Dunne (45), M Walsh for Coyne (62), C Og Greene for Conroy (62), C O’Neill for Ciaran Dunne (67), S Hickey for O’Hara (67).
D O’Mahony (Tipperary)
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