/ GAA

Mayo 2-19 New York 0-10

Updated: Wednesday, 13 May 2009 22:22

Mayo players gather before throw-in The New York team were not content to just make up the numbers Mayo fans watch on in the New York sunshine
Mayo players gather before throw-in The New York team were not content to just make up the numbers Mayo fans watch on in the New York sunshine

It was a case of job done as Mayo overcame a shaky start to ease past New York in this Connacht SFC opener at Gaelic Park on Sunday evening.

The hosts scored the game’s opening four points, but Mayo soon recovered and goals from Pat Harte and Aidan O’Shea – who hit 1-03 on his Championship debut – had the Westerners 2-10 to 0-05 ahead at the break.

The margin of victory would have been greater than 15 points had it not been for some excellent second-half saves from New York goalkeeper Evan Byrne.

There was no hint of a landslide in the early stages, however, with Mayo natives Robert Moran and John McNicholas, along with Cavan man Paddy Smith, getting their names on the scoresheet to get the Exiles off to an excellent start.

However, Mayo didn’t panic and soon gained control of the midfield sector with some excellent high fielding from both Ronan McGarrity and Tom Parsons.

Eight minutes had elapsed before Andy Moran opened Mayo’s account with a point, but that heralded the start of a Mayo onslaught that would see them lead by 11 points at the interval.

New York couldn’t cope with Mayo’s support play, with wing-back Peadar Gardiner particularly effective with his forays forward.

Man of the Match Harte scored the first goal before O’Shea marked his first outing at this level with a three-pointer of his own.

The Breaffy clubman was giving New York full-back Aidan Downes such a torrid time that the former Dublin minor and U-21 player was replaced before the half-time whistle.

The pick of Mayo’s ten first-half points came when wing-forward Alan Dillon took aim with precision from beyond the 45 metre line out on the right sideline.

The second half turned out to be little more than a procession towards a Mayo victory, but Cork native Byrne excelled in the New York goal with his stops drawing applause from the 3,000 or so spectators who had made their way to the Bronx venue.

Mayo manager John O’Mahony took the opportunity to give some of his substitutes a run out, including veteran James Nallen, whose introduction was greeted warmly by the Mayo supporters.

The score was also kept down by the wayward shooting of Mayo captain Trevor Mortimer, who could have bagged far more than his personal tally of two points.

But Mayo will have been relieved to get out of the Big Apple unscathed, and should have Conor Mortimer and Keith Higgins back in the fold for the provincial semi-final clash with either Leitrim or Roscommon on 20 June.

Mayo: D Clarke; L O'Malley, G Cafferkey, K McLoughlin; P Gardiner 0-01, T Howley, D Vaughan; T Parsons 0-01, R McGarrity 0-01; P Harte 1-00, T Mortimer 0-02, A Dillon 0-03; A Moran 0-04, A O'Shea 1-03, B Moran 0-1.
Subs: J Nallen for Howley, BJ Padden for Parsons, A Kilcoyne 0-03 for A Moran, D Heaney for McLoughlin, M Sweeney for Dillon.

New York: E Byrne; J Bell, A Downes, C Hunter; D Kane, A Raftery, B O'Reilly; R Moran 0-02, R Garvey; J McNicholas 0-01, P Smith 0-04, K McGeeney, J Goldrick, D Reilly, F Cleary 0-01.
Subs: G Dowd for Reilly, A Carolan for Downes, R Caffrey 0-01 for O'Reilly, S Carthy for McNicholas, T McGovern 0-01 for McGeeney.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).