The Mayo U20s went into their final round-robin match in the Leo Murphy Cup knowing that a win would get them into the final. In the event the 2-9 to 3-6 draw they secured against Donegal this afternoon was enough to book them a spot in next weekend’s decider. That will be against Louth, with venue and time details to be confirmed later on.
Details on today’s game – which was switched this morning from a frozen MacHale Park to the Connacht Centre of Excellence at Bekan – are fairly sketchy. Mayo GAA tweeted the scores as they occurred so the following brief narrative takes this as its lead. I’ve no details, I’m afraid, on who the scorers were but I have got information on our line-up for today’s game – that’s here.
By the looks of it, this was a game we could – and perhaps should – have won with a fair bit of ease. It was certainly a contest that at one stage we had the winning of but, as we’d done in our previous two matches in this U20 Development League, Mike Solan’s team took their foot off the gas a bit and let their opponents back into it. In the event, it was our lads who needed late scores to earn the draw.
After an even enough first twenty minutes, we eased clear and led by 0-6 to 0-2 at half-time. Early in the second half we were almost out of sight, having added a goal and a point to our tally to lead by eight.
Donegal hit back, though, scoring a penalty goal followed by two points to cut the gap to three approaching midway through the second period.
A goal at either end left the gap at three points but a second penalty award for the visitors gave them the chance to level it. Mayo ‘keeper Jamie McNicholas saved this, one, though, to maintain our three-point lead.
Soon after, however, Donegal did manage to find the net for a third time to level it up. They then went on, with the game now in its closing stages, to tack on two points to lead by that margin.
With defeat now staring our lads in the face they roused themselves anew. Two late points were enough to secure the draw that sends them forward to next weekend’s Leo Murphy Cup final.
The FBD final was, by the way, on this afternoon as well. This latest Connacht decider we’ve had to watch from the sidelines – how many Galway/Roscommon provincial deciders on the trot are we up to now? – was won by Galway. In front of a crowd in excess of 3,000 at Hyde Park today they beat Roscommon by 1-14 to 0-11, to secure the first silverware of Padraic Joyce’s reign.