Freeman penalty rescues share of spoils

Alan Freeman penalty goal

Photo: Mayo Mick

A wet and windy Bekan was the venue for Mayo’s second FBD game of the new season as they took on the students from IT Sligo.

A last-minute penalty from Alan Freeman saw the host side share the spoils in what can certainly be described as a game of two halves. It finished in a 2-8 to 1-11 draw.

Having been moved at the eleventh hour from Charlestown to the new Centre of Excellence outside Ballyhaunis it looked like Mayo got over the last-minute travel arrangements much quicker than the visitors as they stormed into a five-point lead within the opening ten minutes.

A fantastic run from wing-forward Cathal Carolan, one of a number of first team players who returned to the starting line-up, ended with the Crossmolina man scoring the opening goal of the game. IT Sligo goalkeeper and former Mayo minor, Alvin McCallig will, however, feel he could have done much better as the ball seemed to roll weakly by his outstretched hand.

From there the county side showed their superiority over the students as Shane McHale, Brian Gallagher and Darren Coen drove at the IT Sligo defence and gaps appeared at every opportunity.

Mayo IT Sligo action shot

Photo: Mayo Mick

The wides and poor shot selection that were evident on Friday night did not seem to be there during the opening 35 minutes as Mayo built up a nine-point lead heading towards half-time.

However, the loss of McLoughlin to a very soft black card contributed to a late scoring surge from the students. This saw them cut that deficit to three points at the break as they scored 1-2 without reply in the final five minutes of the half to go into the changing rooms only 1-8 to 1-4 down.

The second half took on a different dimension as the students took control of the game. The wind picked up during the break and with a slight slope going against the county side, Michael Moyles’ charges were able to chip away at their deficit.

Points from Mayo player Evan Regan and from Galway’s Cathal Mulryan for IT Sligo saw them on level terms for the first time since the opening minute.

The students took control of the game then and entered a period which saw the ball rarely travel past the half-way line into Mayo’s forwards. A raft of changes at half -ime which saw the introduction of All-Stars Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle alongside Michael Conroy also had an effect as it took them a few minutes to get into the game.

Mayo IT Sligo action shot 2

Photo: Mayo Mick

Using their superior possession IT Sligo were able to tag on a few more points, mostly from the boot of Regan and open up a three-point lead.

With time almost up it looked like the recent holiday abroad as well as the lack of training was catching up on the All-Ireland finalists and that the points would be heading north to Sligo town.

Mayo suddenly spurred into action with five minutes to go and in a late attack Darren Coen was hauled down in the penalty area, a definite black card offence going by the new rules but none was given, and Alan Freeman stepped up to blast the ball home and bring Mayo level.

One last attack by both sides yielded no further scores so the points were shared. The performance of IT Sligo over the final 50 minutes certainly bodes well for their upcoming Sigerson Cup campaign with the likes of Regan as well as Mark and, particularly, Ryan McHugh impressing for them.

For Mayo Andy Moran put in a good first-half shift while Darren Coen, Shane McHale, Kevin Keane and Brian Gallagher once again impressed. If they continue putting in good performances in this kind of weather then they are definitely worth a look for James Horan when the National League comes around.

Overall it was a good result for Mayo considering they went 37 minutes without scoring and they are still in with a chance of progressing to the FBD final if they can overcome Roscommon in Ballinlough next Sunday.

One more game after next week would be the best possible preparation heading into the opening National League games away to Kildare and Tyrone in early February.

Mayo: Brendan Walsh; Keith Rogers, Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey; Brendan Harrison, Shane McHale, David Drake; Jason Gibbons, Brian Gallagher (0-2); Sean Kelly, Cathal Freeman, Cathal Carolan (1-1); Kevin McLoughlin (0-3, two frees), Darren Coen (0-2, one free), Andy Moran. Subs: Jason Doherty for McLoughlin (black card), Mickey Conroy for Moran, Lee Keegan for Keane (black card), Enda Varley for Conroy, Alan Freeman (1-0, penalty) for Kelly.

32 thoughts on “Freeman penalty rescues share of spoils

  1. With over 50 years going to Charlestown this was the first time I heard of a match being cancelled there because of weather. Allowing that, judging by the floods on the roads and fields around, it must have been a very wet night/morning it as still surprising. Anybody else recall a weather cancellation there?

  2. Late 90s or 2000 a league game cancelled as far as I remember. I was going to go to it on the way to Dublin on Sunday but it was a wintry sleet laden pitch. Nearly certain it was cancelled.

  3. Say what ye like it’s nothing short of a joke to get word at 130 that the game was changed! Why some hadn’t the common sense to change it earlier is beyond me! Fair enough it wasn’t to far to have to travel to Bekan but I had already put in a 90 minute journey to Charlestown and unfortunately the ” Centre of Excellence” didn’t have a stand of excellence or a score board of excellence!!!

  4. It was a disgrace today. People getting covered in shite to watch football after paying a tenner to get in is pathetic at any level, never mind inter county.

  5. It wasn’t the most pleasant of days out alright … have just about thawed and dried out. I can’t imagine Charlestown could have been a whole lot worse than Bekan but there you go. If games are going to continue to be moved to there, they’re really going to have to do something to facilitate supporters …

  6. Which such a short notice i suppose they didn’t want to move too far from Charlestown. Bekan is fine for underage or college games but not senior county and for all the money spent why does the pitch have a slope?

  7. Well done Mike Kelly!

    Isn’t it great to have a report here by our trenchermen – all done and dusted in a couple of hours. Needless to say nothing from any other media outlet.

    Centre of Excellence seems to be a bit of a contradiction in terms judging by the reports of the venue. Still, wouldn’t mind having a look at it at some stage.

  8. Scandalous to be charged an entry fee only to be standing on a hill and getting pissed wet seems tight .

  9. Drake,Gallagher and Coen looked good.Kevin Mac off for very soft black card.Rediculous to expect people to stand in the pissing rain after paying €10 into an FBD league game.Evan Regan looked like he can do a job for us

  10. I was probably one of the lucky ones but arrived 5-10 mins late for the game so wasnt charged to get in. Just as well going by that 2nd half shambles by Mayo 🙂 Freeman took the penalty very well for the late leveller though so still in with a shout. But it was obvious going by the way Sligo got back into the game they were well ahead in their fitness which is understandable. The two Donegal lads especially were impressive. Id McGuinness has them fellas prepped since December. Hopefully we’ll have a drier day against the Rossies next Sunday, not the greatest of days for ball! Great turn as per usual though, fair play to everyone who went

  11. Well done Mayo Mick for a fine match report, and a bit of a weather man to boot. I take it the strong gale blowing down the pitch explained the lopsided scoring in each half ? That said, it’s hard to judge any players performance in such conditions, especially those new lads who are trying to impress the Manager. It’s one of the pitfalls of been selected so early in the year – a chance of a lifetime comes along and before you know it, your history.

    Anyway results now don’t matter a jot, as this time of year is only for sparing and anyone expecting world beating performances should bear in mind, that for the top teams, it’s the League and most of all the Championship that matters…..

  12. The Centre of Excellence is excellent for what it was originally meant to be. I saw no signs of the “muck and shite” that some have complained of. Granted there is no covered accommodation and a grass bank is not ideal footing on a wet day but there was room along the sidelines for those who were standing on the bank at the end line.I walked across the playing pitch and adjoining pitch before and after the games and thought the surface was excellent for the weather conditions. There were some shallow pools of water in the surrounds but these were easy to avoid.
    If the Centre is to be used for intercounty games in winter it does need a stand/shed capable of holding c. 2,000 people located on the western side of one of the pitches.
    Incidentally even if Charlestown had been playable I doubt if the stand would have accommodated the crowd today.
    Regards the Mayo performance today I cannot blame fitness for the second half, Lack of fitness does not cause soloing into blind alleys of which we saw so much today. It is just a bad habit which needs to be broken. As usual soloing around the middle of the field draws the full forward line out field compounding the problem. As regard saying that it’s early in the year and the result does not matter that much all results matter as winning becomes a good habit. We also need to qualify for the final for the extra game it gives us. For this reason I expect to see a stronger team next Sunday for the Rossies.

  13. Absolutely brilliant for its purpose, but that was not to host senior intercounty football games. There is no reason this game could not have been moved to Castlebar, and no reason the decision could not have been made before half 1. Pitches are in great shape, never disputed that. Charging in to that game today was bloody ridiculous. With respect Andy, whether you saw muck or not doesn’t change the fact that my shoes are fecked!

  14. Stronger team is nearly always chosen against the Rossies while the opening games are always used for fringe players. Most on the bench yesterday will probably start and i think Keith Rogers, Shane McHale,Brian Gallagher will be given another start.

  15. weather was shocking yesterday , but the pitch itself seemed in good nick.Agree with AndyD re running into blind alleys I know the players are rusty but there seems to be very little of a game plan

  16. Interesting piece in Indo quoting JH’s views on the black card. He’s for it, but warns of refs interpretations which have scope for ‘anarchy’. Also, here’s what he said, or what he is quoted as saying in relation to Donie Buckley:

    “Horan confirmed that Donie Buckley would be a team selector in 2014 and was adamant that it had been the case in 2013, too. The understanding was that Buckley’s role was in a coaching capacity only. Horan has yet to decide whether to fill the vacancy left in his back-room team by the departure of James Nallen”.

  17. In fairness, the centre of excellence is not designed for hosting games where large attendances are expected. It’s intended use is for under age competitions, schools/colleges matches and training camps/courses. Also, all the pitches are brand new with state of the art drainage systems in place. The underlying soil and sands are all compliant to USPGA standards, believe it or not. Therefore it was more a case of the pitch being capable to host the match.
    The alternatives were to call off the game with both teams and management there, supporters there and more in transit, or, play the game on an unsafe pitch and risk serious injury to players. I believe it was the correct call but the entrance fee should have been scrapped.

  18. Ah yeah, definitely better than having the game postponed (I say that now!). Fella at the gate offered myself and the sis student tickets – I wasn’t going to argue with that compliment (mind you, his glasses were very fogged up.)

    Any work on Mickey Conroy injury? Assume it was nothing too serious?

  19. I wonder did the Indo credit one of the two local lads who acquired those quotes after the match. Only three local reporters stayed around for post match reaction.

  20. Re: Donie Buckley
    I saw a number of times in match programmes last year he was down as a selector. This was not the case in all games however. Jimmy Nallen was also swapping between selector and runner/maor uisce….so JH is telling the truth but it was ambiguous!

  21. Mike – Piece was under the Colm Keys byline. It has lots of quotes from JH, though the piece I enclosed was reported speech.

  22. I figured they wouldnt give credit to the local media. even though it was clearly one of them who sent the quotes as i was standing beside them doing work for CRC when those quotes were said.

  23. no word yet from what I believe on Conroy but I saw him leaving the dressing room yesterday and he didnt look injured at all to me

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