/ GAA

Mayo 0-12 Sligo 0-10

Updated: Monday, 16 Jul 2012 11:10 | Comments

Mayo are Connacht champions once again Kevin Walsh's side failed to respond as Mayo kicked on in the second half
Mayo are Connacht champions once again Kevin Walsh's side failed to respond as Mayo kicked on in the second half

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Mayo won the Connacht Senior Football Championship title with a narrow 0-12 to 0-10 victory over Sligo in a scrappy decider at Dr Hyde Park.

The defending champions struggled for fluency against the wind in the opening half, but finished strongly to shake off the brave challenge of a Sligo side that had looked capable for long spells of causing a shock.

The introduction of a raft of subs, particularly midfielder Aidan O’Shea, helped swing a tight, scrappy game in favour of James Horan’s side in the closing stages in front of a crowd of 23,257.

Danny Geraghty kicked the opener, but former Mayo player Alan Costello had Sligo level with a massive free kick from all of 55 metres.

Mayo had the ball in the net in the ninth minute through Andy Moran, but the goal was disallowed for Cillian O’Connor’s carelessly and illegally executed handpass.

The Yeatsmen adopted a direct approach with the wind in their backs, and it paid off when Costello knocked over another free, before David Kelly slotted a neat point from a difficult angle.

Adrian Marren hit the target to ease them into a 0-04 to 0-01 lead by the 16th minute, and it was looking good for the underdogs.

Mayo’s finishing let them down badly, with Andy Moran and Keith Higgins both fisting wide from just a few yards out, and they went 22 minutes without scoring until Enda Varley converted a free

Barry Moran also had a crack at goal charged down by Johnny Martyn, leaving Mayo trailing by 0-05 to 0-03 at the break.

But the defending champions, once they got the gusting wind in their backs, started to move more fluently, and they were level by the ninth minute of the second half.

Andy Moran, Cillian O’Connor (free) and Barry Moran all hit the target to tie it up at 0-06 apiece, but two massive ground kicks into the wind - one a ’45 and the other a 50-metre free - from Davie Maye had the Yeatsmen back in front

But Mayo stepped it up once again, with O’Shea making an impact off the bench and slicing over a point to bring the sides level for the fourth time.

Scores from wing-backs Colm Boyle and Lee Keegan pushed Mayo back in front, and despite losing midfielder Barry Moran to a second yellow card, they held on to win by two points.

Mayo scorers: C O’Connor 0-03 (2f, 1 ’45), A Dillon 0-02, A Moran, B Moran, L Keegan, C Boyle, A O’Shea, D Geraghty, E Varley (0-01f) 0-01 each.

Sligo scorers: A Marren 0-03 (0-02f), D Maye (0-01f, 0-01 ’45), A Costello (0-02f), M Breheny (0-01f) 0-02 each, D Kelly 0-01.

Mayo: D Clarke, K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins, L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle, B Moran, D Geraghty, L Mc Loughlin, C O’Connor, A Dillon, E Varley, A Moran, J Doherty.

Subs used: A O’Shea for Geraghty, M Conroy for Varley, A Freeman for Doherty.

Sligo: P Greene, N Ewing, J Martyn, R Donovan, C Harrison, M Quinn, P McGovern, S McManus, T Taylor, A Costello, D Maye, B Egan, M Breheny, A Marren, D Kelly.

Subs used: E O’Hara for McManus, E Mullen for Taylor, S Coen for Costello, J Davey for McGovern, D Rooney for Quinn.

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).

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