Mayo got the result they wanted against Sligo, but they only lead by 3pts with ten to play, they now play Galway in three weeks.
MAYO 2-14 SLIGO 0-11 (Sunday, 21st May – MacHale Park)
Goals at the end of both halves from Diarmuid and Cillian O’Connor ensured Mayo came through their opening joust.
Diarmuid’s goal on 35 minutes, after benefitting from the referee’s advantage, gave Stephen Rochford’s team a 1-6 to 0-5 interval lead following a first period where the teams were level five times.
Sligo competed well in the opening 11 minutes leading 0-4 to 0-3 but only added one more score with the wind. Stephen Coen put the Yeats men ahead before Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran overturned the deficit.
Coen from distance levelled at 0-2 apiece before Sligo’s Adrian Marren and Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin traded white flags. But when Mark Breheny found the target on 11 minutes, Sligo were one ahead.
But Sligo dropped players back attempting to contain Mayo but Paddy Durcan and Cillian O’Connor put Mayo back ahead. Marren did equalise again but the O’Connor brothers combined for a 1-6 to 0-5 interval lead – Cillian tapped over a free before Diarmuid found the net.
Sligo remained competitive with Aidan Devaney getting a free and were just three behind (1-10 to 0-10) with nine minutes left. Pat O’Connor, Breheny, Marren and Niall Murphy Sligo scores were matched by Fergal Boland (2), Moran and Cillian O’Connor.
Despite Durcan missing a Mayo sitter, the All-Ireland finalists put distance between the teams. Cillian O’Connor added two points before palming to the net on 70 minutes making it 2-12 to 0-10.
Marren got Sligo’s last in injury time but there was still time for Mayo to add a brace as Danny Kirby and Jason Doherty got on the scoreboard. Mayo will have much improving to do ahead of facing Galway on June 11th. Six days later, Sligo enter the qualifiers.
Mayo – Cillian O’Connor 1-6, Diarmuid O’Connor 1-0, Andy Moran 0-2, Fergal Boland 0-2, Kevin McLoughlin 0-1, Paddy Durcan 0-1, Danny Kirby 0-1, Jason Doherty 0-1.
Sligo – Adrian Marren 0-4, Stephen Coen 0-2, Mark Breheny 0-2, Aidan Devaney 0-1, Pat O’Connor 0-1, Niall Murphy 0-1.
Mayo – David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Patrick Durcan; Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons; Fergal Boland, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran.
Sligo – Aidan Devaney; Ross Donavan, Charlie Harrison, Eoin McHugh; Keelan Cawley, Brendan Egan, John Kelly; Paddy O’Connor, Adrian McIntyre; Neil Ewing, Mark Breheny, Kyle Cawley; Stephen Coen, Pat Hughes, Adrian Marren.
(Video: Eir Sport)
— eirSport (@eirSport) May 21, 2017