Mayo scored a hard-earned 1-12 to 1-11 victory over Sligo in the semi-final of the Connacht Senior Football Championship in Castlebar this afternoon. Sligo failed to capitalise on a number of goal-scoring opportunities and suffered when Mayo finally settled in the second half.
Mayo were fortunate to be down by only two points by the end of the first half following terrible defending. Sligo got off to a dream start when David Durkin produced a penetrating run through the Mayo defence, passed to Sean Davey who put it into the back of the net in the second minute. Two minutes later Eamonn O'Hara added a point for Sligo but Mayo responded when Marty McNicholas converted a 45 to get Mayo's first point on the scoreboard.
McNicholas scored another point from play before Sligo scored three points without reply from Dessie Sloyan, John McPartland and Paul Taylor. Mayo's lifeline back into the game came from corner-back Tom Nallon when he scored a goal in the 31st minute to come within one point of Sligo. Sloyne scored his second point before Sligo missed another goal opportunity when Paul Taylor failed to convert a penalty just before the break to leave Sligo with 1-5 to 1-3 advantage at the break.
In the second half, substitute Maurice Sheridan brought back the deficit to one point with a converted free before Sligo captain Taylor converted two frees to open up a three-point gap. Mayo counter-attached with two further converted frees from Sheridan to reduce the gap to one point. Taylor scored another free on the 49th minute before McNicholas scored the first point from play three minutes later. Sheridan levelled the match for the first time before a free from Kieren McDonald put Mayo a point ahead in the 56th minute.
Mayo's lead did not last long when Sloyan scored two points without reply to put Sligo back ahead 1-10 to 1-9. Sheridan and McNicholas scored points before McPartland levelled the score again for Sligo. Stephen Carolan scored the last point of the game in the 65th minute to give Mayo a one-point lead which they maintained to the end.