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Team begins to move forward

Mayo’s Mickey Mullins goes past Roscommon’s Martin Guilford
TAKING THE MICKEY Mayo’s Mickey Mullins goes past Roscommon’s Martin Guilford during last Sunday’s FBD Connacht League game in Ballyhaunis. Pic: Michael Donnelly

Team begins to move forward

Mayo 0-15
Roscommon 0-9

Mike Finnerty

THOSE that travelled to the well-presented grounds in Ballyhaunis last Sunday hoping to see fire, brimstone, and any semblance of real competitiveness will have been disappointed.
This was a match that will not linger long in the memory of the 1,500 people present, although it did provide a cluster of players with their first game of the new season and doubled as John O’Mahony’s first victory of his second coming.
Nine changes were made to the team that lost to IT Sligo last week and the alterations, particularly in attack, meant that Mayo looked far more purposeful and potent.
Trevor Mortimer played the centre-forward role to perfection and around him, Aidan Campbell and Aidan Kilcoyne worked hard and linked play neatly. Inside, Michael Conroy and Austin O’Malley kicked five points from play between them.
Kilcoyne’s prowess from the dead-ball will also be  a welcome addition this season. His six points (four frees, a ’45 and a good score from play) were instrumental in the final analysis.
David Heaney and David Brady are too long on the road to be investing too much energy and thought into these kind of occasions but both held the middle and did the small things well.
It was a strange sort of the day for the defence. Such were Roscommon’s limitations up front that only Liam O’Malley at full-back had his hands full with the lively Ger Heneghan.
Apart from the opening quarter, Roscommon’s resistance was limited to say the least. Too many of their players were off the pace, second to the ball, and ponderous in possession.
The story of the game itself is easily told. Roscommon started positively with points from Ger Heneghan (free) and Michael Finneran and deservedly led by 0-2 to 0-1 after four minutes.
A quarter of an hour had elapsed by the time Trevor Mortimer flew through to hammer over the equaliser but it was enough to snap Mayo into life.
The direct route was proving their most profitable mode of attack and a Gary Mullins pass started the move that led to Michael Conroy lofting the lead score on 17 minutes.
Swinford’s Aidan Campbell then clipped a fine point from distance to ease Mayo 0-4 to 0-2 in front.
Roscommon’s shortcomings were beginning to become apparent and despite another Ger Heneghan free, there was only team playing most of the good football.
Aidan Kilcoyne then stepped into the spotlight and kicked three memorable long-range scores; a couple were sweetly-struck frees and the last was a ’45 that sailed over gently. All were further evidence of Mayo’s territorial dominance.
It was left to the indefatigable Ger Heneghan to nick a point for the embattled visitors in the 34th minute (a score that turned out to be their final one from play in the match).
When Michael Duffy’s half-time whistle sounded, Mayo were 0-7 to 0-4 clear and in a good position to close the game out.
Roscommon emerged quickly from the dressing-rooms after the break and it looked like John Maughan had delivered one of his trademark ‘hair-dryer’ rollickings.
Gary Cox chipped a free over inside a minute to narrow the margin and the large crowd of travelling supporters roared their approval. Alas, this score was merely a false dawn.
The next fifteen minutes belonged entirely to Mayo. The defence closed ranks emphatically, midfield formed a stone-wall in front of them, and the attack moved and linked seamlessly.
Six points were reeled off in the midst of this purple patch, Michael Conroy showing admirable verve to kick a couple, Austin O’Malley skinning his marker to tag on two himself, and both Aidan Campbell and Aidan Kilcoyne landing frees to kill the game as a contest.
It was 0-13 to 0-5 when Mayo paused for breath and Trevor Mortimer had been withdrawn at that stage after a dynamic display.
The last quarter of an hour was academic in the extreme. Roscommon were a beaten docket at that juncture but, to their credit, they kept plugging away.
Ger Heneghan slotted over a hat-trick of frees and Gary Cox added another to gloss the final scoreline but there was no masking the gulf between the teams.
Late points from Austin O’Malley and the stylish Aidan Kilcoyne were the final confirmation of Mayo’s dominance but there will be nobody getting too carried away just yet.

D Clarke; A Higgins, L O’Malley, C Cafferkey; G Mullins, B Padden, P Gardiner; D Heaney, D Brady (0-1); A Campbell (0-2, 1f), T Mortimer (0-1), A Kilcoyne (0-6, 4fs, 1’45); M Conroy (0-3), M McNicholas, A O’Malley (0-2). Subs used: M Mullins for McNicholas; G Brady for Mortimer.
G Claffey; D Donnellan, A McDermott, M Guilford; R Dooner, J Nolan (Western Gaels), J Nolan (Roscommon Gaels); M Finneran (0-1), B Mullin; B Reynolds, G Cox (0-2, 2fs), J Callery; E Kenny, G Heneghan (0-6, 5fs), S O’Grady. Subs used: F Cregg for O’Grady; N Moran for B Reynolds.
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)

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