(Mayo win 4-1 after Penalty Shoot-Out)
by Brían Mangan
There was a first today in the Quarter Final of the FBD League when Mayo and Leitrim took part in the first ever Penalty Shoot out in a Connacht Competition, with Evan Regan converting the winning kick for Mayo after a brilliant Leitrim comeback saw them claw back an 8 point deficit in the 2nd half to earn a 2-13 to 2-13 draw.
Leitrim came out of the blocks faster, with Dean McGovern causing problems on the edge of the square linking well with Pearce Dolan for 2 nice early scores, giving his team a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage. Mayo then woke up and struck for two brilliant goals in quick succession, Brian Reape weaving through the defence to blast to the top corner for the first before Fergal Boland got on the end of a trademark powerful surge by Donal Vaughan to smash t the net also. This was one of the first instances of the new rules being in effect in a competitive game, and they had very little impact, although perhaps encouragingly both teams showed more of an inclination to kick the ball, with Seamus O’ Shea in particular feeding quality kick passes through to the forward line at every opportunity. Mayo continued in the ascendency until the half time break where they led 2-9 to 0-8, Evan Regan and new comers Colm Moran and Fionn McDonagh landing nice scores for them in this period.
The second half started with Jack Heslin blazing through from the throw in only to see his fine effort well saved by Rob Hennelly. Indeed that was one of a number of golden goal opportunities that Leitrim spurned, and on reflection had they taken at least one of those it could be them preparing to travel to Tuam to play Galway next weekend. 10 minutes into the second half the game was flipped on its head with two scrappy Leitrim goals from the impressive Evan Sweeney and sub Ryan O’Rourke stunning Mayo. Domhnaill Flynn levelled the scores minutes later, and they would go on to trade points until the final whistle, with Damien Moran levelling the game and forcing the penalty shoot out with his last gasp score. Captain Jason Doherty, Brian Reape, Man of the match Fergal Boland and Evan regan all converted their kicks to win the shoot out 4-1 infront of a huge crowd at AvantCard Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada who very much enjoyed the novelty of the occasion, and indeed the cracker of a game that preceded it.
New Leitrim manager Terry Hyland will be absolutely delighted with the performance from his charges, in particular their rip roaring comeback in the second half. It perfectly sets up a good tilt at the national league in a few weeks for them, and for James Horan it gives him the opportunity to pit his charges against Galway next weekend in Tuam, who have had the upperhand in the last number of meetings between the teams.
LEITRIM: Diarmuid McKiernan, Paddy Maguire, Fergal McTague, Aidan Flynn, Conor Reynolds, Ray Mulvey, Shane Quinn (0-1), Dean McGovern (0-1), Shane Moran (0-1), Sean McWeeney, Cillian McGloin (0-1), Jack Heslin (0-2), Evan Sweeney (1-3, 0-2fs), Pearce Dolan (0-2), Domhnaill Flynn (0-1f) SUBS M Plunkett, R O’Rourke (1-0), G Plunkett, D Moran (0-1) D Rooney
MAYO: Rob Hennelly (0-1 ’45), Eoin O’Donoghue (0-1), Ger Cafferkey, Brendan Harrison, Lee Keegan, James McCormack, Donal Vaughan, Seamie O’Shea, Stephen Coen, Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Jason Doherty (0-3fs), Fergal Boland (1-3), Colm Moran (0-1), Brian Reape(1-1), Evan Regan (0-2, 0-1f).SUBS C Crowe, J Kelly, B Doyle, O McLaughlin, C Tracey