2nd half performance helps Mayo to victory

Second half performance helps Mayo to Victory


TG4 Connacht Senior Championship Mayo 2 – 17 Sligo 3
– 7

A fruitful second half which yielded a total of 1 – 11
helped Mayo recover from an early shock of being 8 points
down at one stage to record this 7 point victory over
last years All Junior Champions Sligo in Tourlestrane
on Saturday evening last.

Given the status in the past few years an outsider looking
in would be forgiven for thinking that this fixture would
be a simple stroll for the current NFL winners Mayo. Their
record quiet simply is as good a reading as most. In the
past 8 years they have won 4 All Ireland Titles and 3
National League Titles. Add to that the fact that the
years they didn’t win the title, the team that knocked
them out of the championship went on to win the crown
and a number of folk outside of Sligo would be forgiven
for thinking that it was just a matter of Mayo turning
up to fulfill a fixture against the Junior All Ireland
Champions of 2006.

How wrong they were! True Mayo did win and by 7 points.
Yes! The record books will show a 2 – 17 to 3 – 7 scoreline,
but what it won’t show is the fact that the Red and Green
were pushed to the pin of their collar for long periods
in this rip roaring encounter by the Black and White of
the Yeats County. Oh! To be a fly on the wall of the Mayo
Dressing Room at Half Time as Mayo Manager Frank Brown
started to look at statistic’s! Trailing by 5 points –
the gap was 8 at one stage – as Sligo tore them asunder,
plan to repair the damage and preserve their chances of
reaching the Connacht Final. Quiet simply Mayo had to
win this encounter to retain any chance of remaining in
the Connacht Championship.

A quarter of this game over and the scoreline had Sligo
folk dancing jigs and reels as the home County raced into
a 2 – 3 to 0 – 1 lead – the goals coming in the 4th and
15th minutes from Noelle Gormley and Marion O’ Donnell
respectively -. A breeze blew from the town end goals
with Sligo having the advantage in the opening period.
The opening score arrived in the 3rd minute as Noelle
Gormley converted a free. The same player added 2 more
points in the 11th and 14th minutes as the Yeats County
enjoyed a purple patch. Mayo’s only response was an effort
from the ever dependable Cora Staunton in the 12th minute.
In the same quarter Sligo would lose one of the stars
in the County Stephanie O’Reilly with a hand injury –
an injury that could see the Geevagh player sidelined
for a number of weeks -. Things could have been much different
though as Katrina Connolly proved why she was the Number
one goalkeeper in the country in 2006 with a number of
top class saves.

Over the course of the next quarter, the National League
Champions would make inroads on the Sligo lead, reducing
it back to 2 points as half time neared only for Marion
O’Donnell to strike for her second and her side’s third
goal as the clock ticked into the 38th minute of the opening
period. Sligo’s points coming via Therese Marren and Noelle
Gormley. Points from Lisa Cafferkey (2), Cora Staunton
(2) and Diane O’ Hora narrowed the gap for the visitors.
The Mayo goal – questions could be asked over the amount
of steps – in the 4th minute of injury time from Cora
Staunton reduced the gap back to 2 points.

Into the second half and Mayo would begin to eat into
the Sligo lead and try and recover from the bashing their
ears would have got at the break. Eight minute in and
the sides were level as a brace of points from Cora Staunton
and Clare Egan and an single effort from corner back Sharon
Mc Ging had them all square. Sixty seconds later the winners
hit the front for the first time as Sharon Mc Ging who
had followed Sligo’s Elaine O’Reilly up field was on hand
to blast the ball to the net and give the visitors a lead
they would never lose.

Lisa Cafferkey, Cora Staunton and Diane O’Hora would all
add points as Mayo raced into a 2 – 14 to 3 – 5 lead by
the 22nd minute. it could have been worse as Katrina Connolly
prevented O’Hora from scoring a goal, wile minutes earlier
Angela Doohan blocked Staunton’s goal route. Therese Marren
and Imelda Mc Nulty restored life in Sligo as they both
sent over in the 23rd and 28th minutes but that was as
good as it was to get for the home side. In injury time
Cora Staunton (twice) and Marcella Heffernan recorded
points for Mayo to leave them winners by 7 points (2 –
17 to 3 – 7).

Next up for both counties is the final round of games
in the Connacht Senior Championship, Mayo entertain Roscommon
and Sligo welcome defending Connacht Champions Galway.
Both games go ahead this weekend. Elsewhere over the weekend
Galway recorded their second victory in the current campaign
when they defeated Roscommon 5 – 14 to 0 – 4 on Sunday.
The ECC timber player of the game from Saturday’s game
was Sligo Goalkeeper Katrina Connolly.

Scorers Sligo: Noelle Gormley 1 – 4, Therese Marren 0
– 2 and Imelda McNulty 0 – 1.

Scorers Mayo: Cora Staunton 1 – 8, Sharon McGing 1 – 1,
Lisa Cafferkey 0 – 3, Clare Egan 0 – 2, Diane O’Hora 0
– 2, and Marcella Heffernan 0 – 1.

Sligo: Katrina Connolly, Fiona Maye, Angela Doohan, Martina
Keane, Tracy O’Hara, Cammie Kennedy, Ruth Goodwin, Bernice
Byrne, Louise Smith, Stephanie O’Reilly, Marion O’Donnell,
Karen Maloney, Imelda McNulty, Noelle Gormley, Therese
Marren. Subs used were Elaine O’Reilly & Ciara Doyle.

Mayo: Yvonne Byrne, Sharon Mc Ging, Nuala O’Shea, Michelle
Kelly, Caroline Mc Ging, Martha Carter, Marcella Heffernan,
Claire Egan, Jackie Moran, Ciara Mc Dermott, Cora Staunton,
Fiona Mc Hale, Lisa Cafferkey, Diane O’Hora, Christina
Heffernan. Subs used were Helena Lohan and Aoife Herbert.

Referee: Vivian Hardiman (Roscommon)


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