Mayo start as they mean to continue with facile victory over poor Galway
ADMIT it, you didn’t see this coming either. Most of us travelled to McHale Park last Sunday more in hope than confidence with very few people expecting too much from Mayo’s first foray into serious combat this year.
The main reasons were the absence of so many experienced Mayo players and Galway’s impressive form in January which suggested a team in rude health. Not to mention the presence of one Joe Kernan in the visiting dugout.
However, we hadn’t reckoned on Mayo producing a scintillating display, their best since ripping Roscommon to shreds last July, and the match was over as a contest by half-time as a consequence. One win does not a league campaign make, but there were still plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of a trip to Tyrone next weekend.
Mayo played with an intensity, unity of purpose, and clarity of thought not normally associated with this time of the year. Galway were overwhelmed and simply unable to cope.
Nobody set the tone more than Mayo’s ‘third’ midfielder, Seamus O’Shea. He took the match by the scruff of the neck right from the start and, along with Ronan McGarrity and Tom Parsons, dictated the pace and tempo of a lop-sided affair.
Here are a few statistics to get you started. Mayo led by 0-10 to 0-2 after half an hour, and by 2-13 to 0-6 eleven minutes into the second half.
The winners also scored 2-10 from play in total and ten different players got on the scoresheet, including three defenders. At times they looked in a different league to Galway.
The visitors clocked up 1-4 in the last twenty minutes (all of the points from frees) to take the one-sided look off the final scoreline, but there was no disguising the gulf in class between the teams on the day.
Mayo’s triumvirate of McGarrity, Parsons and O’Shea lorded the skies in the first half and the homeside attacked Galway from all angles. Donal Vaughan, Peadar Gardiner and Kevin McLoughlin created overlaps time and again, while Andy Moran and Trevor Mortimer linked play at their leisure. Galway, by contrast, were stuck to the ground.
By half-time, when the dust settled, Mayo led by 0-11 to 0-5 with eight different players on the scoresheet at that stage.
Andy Moran, Ronan NcGarrity, Kevin McLoughlin, Donal Vaughan and debutant Enda Varley landed the pick of the scores with Mark Ronaldson converting four frees for good measure.
Galway tried to stay in touch through a couple of well-taken points from Sean Armstrong and Nicky Joyce, but not even the half-time introduction of Michael Meehan could turn the tide.
The substitute did take some watching (and fired in a superb goal on 46 minutes) but, by that stage, Mayo’s Enda Varley and Trevor Mortimer had both netted at the other end in the space of three minutes to settle the issue once and for all.
Those goals were almost inevitable, such was the relentless pressure on Galway’s beleaguered defence. Ironically, Mortimer’s ‘major’ was his penultimate contribution to the game as he was red-carded in the 48th minute after a challenge on Galway’s Donal O’Neill.
That was really the only negative for Mayo on an afternoon when they reminded all and sundry that, on their day, they are a match for most teams in the country.
Perhaps, the fact they scored just once in the final twenty-five minutes (a well-taken individual effort from the industrious Aidan O’Shea) will be something to work on this week. If only John O’Mahony had such small worries after every match.
As Andy Moran put it afterwards, “Any day you beat Galway is a good day.” Enough said.
D Clarke; D Vaughan (0-1), G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Gardiner (0-1), T Howley, K McLoughlin (0-2); R McGarrity, T Parsons; A Moran (0-2), S O’Shea, T Mortimer (1-0); E Varley (1-1), A O’Shea (0-1), M Ronaldson (0-4, 4fs).
Sub used: A Freeman for S O’Shea.
P Doherty; G Bradshaw, F Hanley, D O’Neill; D Meehan, G O’Donnell, N Coyne; J Bergin, M Lydon; P Kennedy, P Conroy, N Coleman; S Armstrong (0-2), N Joyce (0-3, 2fs), M Martin.
Subs used: D Cummins for Coyne; M Meehan (1-3, 3fs) for Kennedy; T Fahy for Lydon; B Cullinane for Martin.
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo)