Mayo overcame the Sligo challenge with plenty to spare in the end in the first ever U17 Connacht Championship game in Castlebar today. Captain Pat Lambert led the charge for the Mayo men with 2-2 from wing forward, while classy corner forward James Jennings also caught the eye, chipping in with 7 points from all angles of the pitch.
Mayo played with the aid of the strong breeze and after an entertaining first half led by 1-9 to 0-6. It would have been more only for the heroic efforts of Alan Davey in goals for Sligo, who made two fantastic point blank saves to keep the game competitive. At the other end of the pitch the gifted Red Óg Murphy was giving an exhibition of free taking, unperturbed by the strong game blowing into his face.
Unfortunately for Sligo, their challenge fell away somewhat in the second half, with Mayo points coming from impressive sub Kuba Callaghan and wing backs Aarons McHale and McDonnell helping them to a comfortable victory. For Sligo, midfielders Markus Meehan and Gavin Gorman gave good performances, while aswell as those already mentioned Liam Burke and Paddy Goldrick shone for Mayo. Next up for Mayo will be rivals Galway on 11th June in the curtain raiser for the senior game on the same day in Pearse Stadium.
Mayo: P Lambert (2-2 ) J Jennings (0-7, 3f ), K Callaghan (0-2 ), T Morris (0-2 ), A McHale (0-2 ), A McDonnell (0-1 ), E Rowley (0-1 ), L Tunney (0-1 ), P Golderick (0-1 )
Sligo: R Og Murphy (0-8, 7f ), G Gorman (0-1 )
Mayo: J McNicholas; J Coyne, B McLeod, J Higgins; A McHale, R Brickenden, A McDonnell; P Golderick, J Gallagher; P Lambert, E Rowley, L Burke; J Jennings, T Morris, P Towey. Subs: K Callaghan, L Tunney, D Trench, D Corden, S Tracey, C Gavin
Sligo: A Davey; B O’Hanlon, J Stephenson, E Lyons; K Kennedy, E Hallinan, C Murray; M Meehan, G Gorman; S O’Hara, B Molloy, P Benson; C Stenson, R Og Murphy, A Kilcullen. Subs: T Taheny, S Hailstones, H Gilvary, K Cosgrove
Ref: B Healy (Roscommon )