FOLLOWING THE LIGHT Supporters stand for the national anthem at Flanagan Park, Ballinrobe last Wednesday night. Pic: Michael Donnelly
Mayo light up night
NUI, Galway 1-9
A SECOND half performance in which Mayo exercised almost complete control over the opposition saw them coast to an eight point win last Wednesday at Flanagan Park.
A lacklustre Mayo had trailed by 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time but a much more clinical and direct team emerged for the second half, outscoring their opponents by 2-10 to 1-3 during the second 35 minutes.
What has become apparent from the last two FBD games is that Billy Padden is a meaningful option at centre-back. Here he provided a creative spark at the heart of defence, constantly finding a green and red shirt with expansive passing. He hasn’t been tested defensively just yet but the National League should provide that. Certainly, for now, it is an experiment that should be persevered with.
Beside him Gary Mullins offers plenty on the front foot but looked uncomfortable on the couple of occasions he was ran at. Liam O’Malley looked the part at corner-back but James Kilcullen wasn’t as effective at full-back as against Sligo IT.
It was full-forward Austin O’Malley who offered most in attack. Up against a highly regarded full-backs in Galway’s Finian Hanley, O’Malley won the majority of possession that came his way and ended up with an impressive 1-4, each score a fine one.
Beside him both Michael Conroy and Marty McNicholas had the better of their markers while the entire half-forward dominated, although the use of possession from Messrs Mortimer and Brady was not always what it could be.
When they came on both Aidans – Campbell and Kilcoyne – offered plenty and there will be serious jostling for forward positions when Messrs Dillon, Mortimer, O’Neill, McDonald et al return.
The setting in Ballinrobe was resplendent with a crowd close to 1,000 turning out for the novelty of floodlit football. As unique as it was the standard in the first half wasn’t quite an ad for the genre. Passes were misplaced, players ran into cul-de-sacs and generally there was little flow to the game.
Mayo had led by 0-4 to 0-2 after the quarter-hour mark with points from Marty McNicholas, Mickey Mullins (a fine effort from distance), Austin O’Malley (free) and Michael Conroy (after a great team move involving Padden, Mortimer and McNicholas).
NUIG opened the scoring with a point courtesy of the impressive Shane Stenson and the same player scored their second, although dubiously as Cathal Kenny appeared to push Liam O’Malley in the build-up.
The second quarter saw the college take control. Kieran Kennedy went by Gary Mullins all too easily to bring the gap to one and Stenson levelled with a free after Billy Padden had fouled. A further point from Stenson, who was giving Kiltane’s John Scanlon a torrid time, and one from Brendan Guckian saw the college two up at the break.
But then Mayo clicked into gear, even if it was only second. McNicholas (free), Ger Brady and two wonderful points from O’Malley, one with either foot, had Mayo two in front.
David O’Gara scored a fine point from distance in response but in the 49th minute Mayo edged clear. Sub’ Aidan Campbell sent a speculative ball into the large parallelogram which was broken down by another sub, Aidan Kilcoyne, and Marty McNicholas pounced to send the ball low under the advancing Ciarán McDonagh. Campbell followed up with a point and the Swinford forward had a hand in 2-3 of the 2-5 Mayo scored while he was on the field.
Pat Fallon’s team gave themselves some hope when David O’Gara fielded a high ball and crashed it to the net but Mayo attacked from the subsequent kick-out. Campbell and Mortimer linked well before the latter placed Austin O’Malley who crashed an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net from 15 yards.
The winners didn’t let up and in the final fifteen minutes outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-2. Aidan Kilcoyne (two frees), Campbell, Mortimer and O’Malley were on target with two efforts from Shane Stenson the reply from NUIG.
Out of the FDB but the competition has had its uses.
D Clarke; L O’Malley, J Kilcullen, D Geraghty; G Mullins, B Padden, J Scanlon; J Nallen, E Casey; M Mullins (0-1), G Brady (0-1), T Mortimer (0-1); M McNicholas (1-2, 1f), A O’Malley (1-4, 1f), M Conroy (0-1). Subs: O Feeney for Scanlon (h/t); A Kilcoyne (0-2, 2fs) for M Mullins (46mins); A Campbell (0-2) for Casey (46mins); M Mullins for Brady (51mins).
C McDonagh; P Reilly, F Hanley, G Cafferkey; S Drake, C Monahan, G Bradshaw; D Duffy (1-1), R McCann; S Stenson (0-6, 1f), B Kelly, K Kennedy (0-1); C Kenny, F Breathnach, R Kane. Subs: B Guckian (0-1) for Kennedy (inj. 22mins); D Conway for Bradshaw (h/t); D Costello for Kane (h/t); J O’Hara for; G Rogan for McCann (51mins).
Referee: D Corcoran (Islandeady)