Westport 1-12 Maigh Cuilinn 3-18
There was no stopping Galway champions Maigh Cuilinn as they stormed into the Connacht senior club football championship semi-finals in style at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar.
Captain Dessie Conneely stole the headlines with a man of the match display, landing ten brilliant points, but this was a very impressive team performance from Don Connellan's charges.
Maigh Cuilinn dominated the second quarter, outscoring Westport by 1-08 to 0-02, and they powered on to victory thanks to third quarter goals from Michael O’Reilly and substitute Aidan Claffey.
First-time Mayo winners Westport did score a sensational early goal from Brian McDermott to take the lead, but once Maigh Cuilinn got into their stride there only looked like being one winner.
The only blot on the Maigh Cuilinn copy-book on the day was a red card for defender David Wynne in the dying seconds from referee Paddy Neilan.
The Galway representatives built up their match-winning lead in the opening half, with their attacking raids and all-action style leaving Westport chasing shadows at times.
Playing with the aid of a strong breeze, and with Galway attacker Dessie Conneely proving unmarkable, Maigh Cuilinn racked up a string of impressive scores to open up some daylight.
Eight points from the aforementioned Conneely (four from play), along with well-worked efforts from Neil Walsh and David Wynne had Maigh Cuilinn in the driving seat approaching the interval.
Then a typical sweeping move from the Galway men ended with Donal Cox firing past Westport goalkeeper, Paddy O’Malley, from close-range on the stroke of half-time.That green flag left Maigh Cuilinn ahead by 1-11 to 1-04 and out of sight.
Don Connellan’s men had also hit the ground running and were 0-3 to 0-1 up after seven minutes.
But Westport then produced their most impressive move of the game when Mark Moran and Kevin Keane combined to set Brian McDermott up for a terrific goal in the ninth minute.
McDermott’s fine finish propelled the Mayo champions ahead for the first time, and when Oisín McLaughlin raced through to hit the target moments later, the outsiders looked set to make a game of it.
Instead, Maigh Cuilinn stuck to the game-plan that has delivered two Galway championships in the space of three seasons and Westport were unable to match the pace and running power that came their way.
Maigh Cuilinn laid siege to the Westport goal, hitting 1-08 in response before half-time, holding Lee Keegan and company to just two points down at the other end.
By the break, Maigh Cuilinn had the Mayo men right where they wanted them.
The second half played out along expected lines, with Westport continuing to take the game to the leaders without ever looking like causing an upset.
They were left to rue a few missed goal opportunities; Lee Keegan denied by a fine save from Andrew Power while the impressive Killian Kilkelly saw his effort flash wide of the target.
Palmed goals from Michael O’Reilly and substitute Aidan Claffey in the 50th and 59th minutes put the seal on a facile Maigh Cuilinn victory as they continued to put scores on the board.
Down at the other end, Mayo county final hero, Killian Kilkelly, chipped in with five points in the second period for Westport with Rory Brickenden, Mark Moran and Oisin McLaughlin also on target.
On this evidence, Maigh Cuilinnwill take some beating and take on Roscommon champions Strokestown in the provincial semi-final next Sunday in Tuam.
Maigh Cuilinn: A Power; C Corcoran, N Mulcahy, D Wynne (0-01); M O’Reilly (1-00), E Kelly, M Moughan; P Kelly (0-02), T Clarke; G Davoren, N Walsh (0-04, 2fs), S Kelly; D Cox (1-00), O Gallagher (0-01), Dessie Conneely (0-10, 5fs).
Subs used: C Bohan for Cox (37); A Claffey (1-0) for Moughan (45); M Lydon for D Wynne (57); E Kenny for O’Reilly (59); C Deane for S Kelly (60).
Westport: P O’Malley; L Tunney, R Brickenden (0-01), N McManamon; L Shevlin, B McDermott (1-00), Paul Lambert; L Keegan, B O’Malley; C Dawson, F McDonagh (0-01), O McLaughlin (0-02); K Keane, M Moran (0-01), K Kilkelly (0-06, 4f).
Subs used: E McLaughlin for B O’Malley (17, inj); S Scott for Shevlin (HT); Pat Lambert for Dawson (HT); F McLaughlin for McManamon (45, inj); R Geraghty for E McLaughlin (53).