Two down, four to go
WE could get used to this: Mayo having championship matches wrapped up by half-time and treating all and sundry to an exhibition of their skills, set-pieces and scoring capabilities. After the stroll in Salthill last month this was a canter in Castlebar.
Different day, same outcome.
Thankfully, everyone inside and outside the Mayo camp is fully aware that this is the calm before the storm.
The serious business will begin for James Horan’s charges on the August Bank Holiday weekend but, for now, all they can do is deal with the teams that are lying down in front of them.
Unfortunately, for all concerned, Roscommon failed to raise a gallop last Sunday and filled the role of cannon-fodder a little too willingly for anyone’s liking.
For the sixth time in a row Mayo extinguished their championship ambitions and, in the process kept their own aim of winning three Nestor Cups in-a-row firmly on track.
Now only Leitrim or London stand in their way.
Mayo also gave us another reminder of their current rude state of health; 12 different players getting on the scoresheet as they clocked up 15 points from play.
James Horan also watched his team keep their second consecutive clean sheet of the campaign, although he did claim to be disappointed with the team’s efforts late on.
“We didn’t get everything out of that game. We got sloppy and dropped our standards so we need to look at that,” he said, referring to Mayo’s one point in the last 18 minutes.
“But we’ll keep plugging away. We just need to up our levels and our standards all the time. We let them drop a bit in the second half so we’ll be working hard to lift them again.”
In truth, apart from a period during the first quarter when the visitors won more than their fair share of breaking ball around midfield, and managed to pick off well-worked points from Karol Mannion and Conor Devaney, this was one-way traffic.
Man of the match Seamus O’Shea and his colleagues around the middle overpowered their Roscommon opponents for the majority of the afternoon, and Mayo’s power, pace and experience was far too hot for John Evans’ team to handle.
Mayo were out of sight at half-time, ahead by by 0-13 to 0-4, and they kept the challengers at arm’s length throughout an uneventful second half.
The only surprise really was that Mayo didn’t fill their boots with goals on the day that was in it.
Alan Dillon’s stylish flick was denied by the crossbar in the first half while Roscommon ‘keeper Darren O’Malley made an excellent save to deny Richie Feeney near the end.
In between, Mayo bossed the match, treating the crowd of 19,867 people to an exhibition of pass-and-move football.
Their tackling, which was as disciplined as it was intense and relentless, was also a major feature of this tour de force.
Early on it looked like Roscommon might make a game of it as Donie Smith and Karol Mannion kicked points and the visitors loaded the middle of the field with bodies.
However, Mayo soon got their second wind and ten points in the twenty minutes before half-time saw the tide turn completely.
Their half-back line of Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan and Colm Boyle, along with captain Keith Higgins, caused most of the problems for Roscommon while Alan Dillon, Kevin McLoughlin and Alan Freeman all had the beating of their men.
Mayo outscored Roscommon by 0-7 to 0-2 during the third quarter and by that stage some fans began leaving to try and beat the traffic.
A point from impressive substitute Enda Smith and two frees from Senan Kilbride was all Roscommon could manage in the home straight while Mayo added just one score from replacement Darren Coen in the last quarter as the contest petered out.
D Clarke; T Cunniffe, G Cafferkey, K Higgins (0-1); L Keegan (0-1), D Vaughan (0-1), C Boyle (0-2); A O’Shea (0-1), S O’Shea; K McLoughlin (0-6, 5fs), R Feeney (0-1), C Carolan; E Varley (0-1), A Freeman (0-3, 1f), A Dillon (0-1).
Subs used: K O’Malley for Clarke; A Moran (0-1) for Carolan; S McHale for Cafferkey; D Coen (0-2) for Varley; K Keane for Higgins.
D O’Malley; N Collins, N Carty, S McDermott; D Keenan, N Daly, C Daly; K Higgins (0-1), M Finneran; C Devaney (0-1), K Mannion (0-1); C Cregg; D Smith (0-1, 1f), S Kilbride (0-3, 3fs), D O’Gara.
Subs used: C Shine for D Smith; E Smith (0-2) for O’Gara; D Shine for Cregg; D Ward for Keenan; C Compton for Devaney.
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)