Connacht SFC final: Mayo scrape over the line
July 15, 2012
Sligo's Alan Costello and Colm Boyle of Mayo during the Connacht SFC Final at Dr Hyde Park. ©INPHO
Mayo retained the Connacht SFC title in Dr Hyde Park today but James Horan's team weren't overly impressive against underdogs Sligo.
The build-up to the game was dominated by Conor Mortimer's decision to drop himself off the Mayo panel so, with that in mind, manager Horan will have been relieved to get the win but Mayo will need to improve on this display if they are to have a say in the destination of the Sam Maguire Cup later in the year.
23,257 spectators turned up at the Roscommon venue to see Mayo pull away in the closing stages to claim a 43rd provincial title.
The winners lined out as selected during the week while David Maye was a late addition to the Sligo team for the injured Pat Hughes.
Midfielder Danny Geraghty put the favourites in front in the 4th minute but Mayo native Alan Costello squared matters for Sligo with a free in the 6th minute.
A 9th minute goal by Mayo captain Andy Moran was disallowed by referee Cormac Reilly for an illegal handpass by Cillian O'Connor in the build-up and it was wind-assisted Sligo who took the lead in the 15th minute when Mark Brehony converted a free.
Adrian Marren then set up David Kelly for a point a minute later before registering a point of his own in the 20th minute to establish a 0-4 to 0-1 lead for Kevin Walsh's charges.
A Charlie Harrison foul on Enda Varley gifted the reigning champions their first score in twenty-one minutes with Varley converting the placed ball.
Marren restored Sligo's three point cushion from a free in the 31st minute but Alan Dillon replied for Horan's men when making the most of a pass from centre-back Donal Vaughan with three minutes left in the opening period.
Mayo were on top in both the possession and territory stakes but didn't make the most of the chances that came their way.
Dillon's strike proved to be the last score of the first half and the Yeats County went in at the break holding a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage.
Mayo captain Moran notched the first point of the second half in the 37th minute before Brehony got Sligo off the mark two minutes later.
James Horan introduced Aidan O'Shea to midfield as a replacement for Danny Geraghty in the 42nd minute before Cillian O'Connor cut the deficit to the bare minimum with a straight forward free.
Influential midfielder Barry Moran drew the sides level in the 43rd minute but Sligo got their noses back in front in the 45th minute when Marren sent over a free.
Mayo were on top at midfield and Kevin Walsh brought on veteran Eamonn O'Hara in an attempt to wrestle back control of the middle third of the field.
Moran set up Alan Dillon for a Mayo equaliser in the 49th minute but Sligo refused to throw in the towel and David Maye put them back in front a minute later when sending over a 45.
An O'Connor free then levelled the match for a fourth time in the 53rd minute before Maye kicked the Yeats County back in front.
With 12 minutes the go the sides were level again courtesy of an Aidan O'Shea point and Mayo took over in the lead with a disputed Colm Boyle point in the 63rd minute. An O'Connor 45 pushed Mayo into a two point lead with five minutes to go.
A Brehony free made it a one point game again in the 68th minute but Lee Keegan restored Mayo's two point advantage shortly after with what turned out to be the last score of the contest.
Mayo could afford the luxury of having midfielder Moran dismissed for a second yellow card offence in added-on time.
Mayo - D Clarke; K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; C Boyle (0-1), D Vaughan, L Keegan (0-1); B Moran (0-1), D Geraghty (0-1); K McLoughlin, C O'Connor (0-3), A Dillon (0-2); E Varley (0-1), A Moran (0-1), J Doherty. Subs: A O'Shea (0-1) for Geraghty, M Conroy for Varley, A Freeman for Doherty.
Sligo - P Greene; N Ewing, J Martyn, R Donovan; C Harrison, M Quinn, P McGovern; S McManus, T Taylor; M Breheny (0-3), D Maye (0-2), B Egan; A Costello (0-1), A Marren (0-3), D Kelly (0-1). Subs: E O'Hara for McManus, E Mullen for Taylor, S Coen for Costello, J Davey for McGovern, D Rooney for Quinn.
Referee - C Reilly (Meath).
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