Cillian O'Connor made his return from knee surgery as Ballintubber began their defence of the Moclair Cup with a 0-18 to 1-3 victory over Hollymount-Carramore yesterday.
O'Connor, who sat out all of Mayo's triumphant Allianz League campaign, came off the bench in the second half to score a point and was also unlucky not to find the net. His return is a huge boost to Mayo ahead of their Connacht SFC opener against New York at Gaelic Park in three weeks' time.
Ballintubber were never headed after points from Ciaran Gavin, Mayo captain Diarmuid O'Connor, Stephen O'Malley and Michael Plunkett helped them to a 0-6 to 0-0 lead after 20 minutes. A quick 1-1 from Kevin Feerick and a point from Darren Coen brought Hollymount-Carramore back into it before a brace of Alan Dillon points gave the winners a 0-9 to 1-5 interval lead.
Despite playing against the strong wind in the second half, Ballintubber pulled away for a comfortable victory, but the biggest cheer was reserved for Cillian O'Connor when he replaced his older brother Padraic midway through the second half.
In the other Mayo SFC first round games, Castlebar Mitchels and Ballina Stephenites drew 0-12 to 1-9, Aghamore and Westport also drew 1-5 to 0-8, Ballaghaderreen edged out Claremorris 2-10 to 1-12, Belmullet were 0-8 to 0-7 winners over Charlestown, Kiltane beat Moy Davitts 0-7 to 0-6, Breaffy overcame Davitts by 1-10 to 0-7, while Knockmore defeated Garrymore 1-9 to 1-5.