The Mayo minors opened their championship campaign in impressive fashion at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon this evening. Belmullet’s Ryan O’Donoghue was the star of the show at the Leitrim venue, bagging 3-4 as Enda Gilvarry’s charges ran out convincing winners on a scoreline of 4-11 to 1-8.
Ryan O’Donoghue opened the scoring for us within a minute of the start, when he did a quick one-two from a free before slotting it over. A minute later the same player was put through by Oisin McLaughlin and he rattled the Leitrim net to complete a dream opening for the visitors.
With just five minutes on the clock, our lads hit Leitrim the same way. Again it was McLaughlin who was the provider and O’Donoghue the finisher as the umpire went scurrying for the green flag for the second time. Paul Lambert followed this up with a point to stretch the lead to eight points.
Leitrim opened their account with a point by Darragh Rooney from a free, with Colm Moran responding in kind from play for us. Leitrim midfielder Niall McGovern then got his side’s first point from play, and their second of the evening, just after.
The home team suffered another body blow when Nathan McGee, latching onto a rebound from a goal attempt by Colm Moran, stuck the ball into the Leitrim net. Ten up at the end of the opening quarter, the Mayo lads already had one foot firmly planted in next month’s Connacht final.
Leitrim got the next three scores from frees, all knocked over by Darragh Rooney. Then a long bouncing ball in deceived the Mayo backline and it hopped, ’96 style, over the bar. The gap was now down to six points and that was how it stood at the half-way stage, our lads leading by 3-3 to 0-6 but having failed to score since the 15th minute.
The visitors got the opening score on the resumption, a free pointed by Oisin McLaughlin. Our next score a few minutes later also came from a placed ball, this one put over by Paul Lambert.
Those two scores steadied us, our next one effectively put put the contest to bed. John Maughan and Paul Lambert combined to play in Ryan O’Donoghue and the Belmullet youngster completed his hat-trick by flicking the ball with his hand beyond the ‘keeper to the net.
Sub Conor Stenson then thumped over a belter from play to stretch our lead to twelve points as the contest entered its final quarter. Leitrim’s next score also came from a sub, with Seamus Sweeney pointing from a free.
Oisin McLaughlin became the fifth Mayo forward to get his name on the scoresheet with a point from play. Jack Gilheany, from play, responded with the Ridge County’s eighth point of the evening.
Cathal Horan, finding himself up near the opposition’s posts, did the right thing and fed Oisin McLaughlin who pointed. Colm Moran then had a goal attempt batted away but the ref awarded our lads a free for a tug on the Westport player’s jersey in the build-up. Ryan O’Donoghue popped over the free.
The contest pretty much petered out from there. Enda Gilvarry emptied the bench, the tempo out on the pitch dropped (at least that’s how it sounded listening on the radio) and two further points, the first from a free by Ryan O’Donoghue and the second from play by Oisin McLaughlin, closed out our account for the evening.
Leitrim had the final say, though, when John Maughan was – incorrectly according to the lads on Midwest – adjudged to have committed a foul inside the square. The resultant penalty goal from Darragh Rooney was the final kick of the ball in this evening’s contest.
So, it ended in a comprehensive twelve-point win for the Mayo lads. They now go forward to the Connacht final, where they’ll face Galway, the young Tribesmen having got the better of Roscommon, by 3-11 to 1-7, in the evening’s other semi-final. The minor decider will be the curtain-raiser to the senior final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday week. Best of luck to our lads in that one.
Mayo: Adam Byrne; Cathal Horan, Donovan Cosgrove, John Cunnane; Brian O’Malley, Matthew Macken, John Maughan; Colm Murphy, Nathan Moran; Paul Lambert (0-2, one free), Ross Egan, Oisin McLaughlin (0-3, one free); Colm Moran (0-1), Ryan O’Donoghue (3-4, one free), Nathan McGee (1-0). Subs: Conor Stenson (0-1) for Nathan Moran, Sean Kenny for O’Malley, Tommy Conroy for McGee, Stephen McGreal for Egan, Liam Kelly for Macken, Ethan Gibbons for Colm Moran.