Connacht Junior Championship Semi Final
by Brían Mangan
Mayo followed up their dramatic late win over a strong Roscommon side in the Quarter Final with a routine victory over Leitrim in the semi final in Carrick-on-Shannon on Thursday evening. Mayo will now face Galway in the final of this competition in the curtain raiser to the Senior game between the same two counties in MacHale Park on Sunday.
Cathal McCrann opened the scoring with a fine free from 40metres for Leitrim before Mayo took over the game and rattled off scores from the likes of Ronan Carolan, Liam Moran and Ciaran Boylan from a variety of angles and distances. The Mayo dominance was built on the foothold gained at midfield by captain Brendan Carr and Sean Walsh, who won the majority of the kick outs. Leitrim had a brief glimmer of hope dashed when Robbie Cunningham shot a rasper for goal only to see his high effort come back from the post after 20 minutes of play. Neville O’Donnell came on early in the proceedings and steadied the ship for Leitrim at centre back, providing an eye catching score coming up to half time with the outside of his boot. At the long whistle Mayo were good value for their 0-10 to 0-3 lead, having played with the breeze.
Leitrim to their credit rallied in the second half and had cut the defecit to 0-13 to 0-7 with ten minutes to go, with Neville O’Donnell particularly influential in this period, kicking four fine points. Mayo were comfortably the best team however and with man of the match Ronan Carolan pulling the strings on the 40 they again extended their advantage, with classy midfielder Carr and Cian Bourke adding fine points in this period. For Leitrim, Cathal McCrann and Alan Armstrong had fine games aswell as O’Donnell after a fine open game played in very nice conditions in Páirc Seán
LEITRIM: G Hickey, A Armstrong, J Mitchell, J Cassidy, C Reynolds (0-1), D Feely, F Flynn, C Moreton, C McCrann (0-1f), N McWeeney, K Cox, J Reynolds, R Cunningham (0-1), C Dolan (0-1f), C McCauley SUBS: N O’Donnell (0-4, 0-2fs) S Harkin, E Harkin, S McMorrow, A Hoare, S Sweeney
MAYO: M Flanagan, E McGrath J O’ Dowd, E Doran, C Boylan (0-1), D Lydon, C Bourke (0-1), B Carr (0-2, 0-1fs), S Walsh (0-1), C Bohan, R Carolan (0-4, 0-1f)), L Moran (0-2), C Doohan (0-1), TJ Byrne (0-1), D Keavney (0-2) SUBS: T Fahey, J Kelly, K Hopkins, B Leonard, J Dowd (0-2, 0-1f) D McGowan