Facile win over GMIT gets us back on track

Mayo v GMIT full-time

Photo: @MayoGAA

It’s still only mid-January, still just pre-season knockabout stuff and even after last Sunday’s loss to Leitrim up in Ballinamore there was no real imperative about winning tonight. But seeing as tonight’s match was against GMIT – traditionally the weakest of all teams taking part in the FBD – a win was nonetheless the default expectation. And a win was what we got at Flanagan Park in Ballinrobe, a fairly facile one at that as GMIT were as poor as they always are and we were a good bit sharper than we were on Sunday.

Tonight’s team showed five changes from the one that had come unstuck against Leitrim last Sunday, with David Clarke, Cathal Hallinan, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrett and Barry Moran all coming into the starting fifteen while Kenneth O’Malley, Shane McHale, Seamus O’Shea, Enda Varley and Darren Coen dropped out. An interesting feature of tonight’s line-up was the placing of both Lee Keegan and Richie Feeney in the forwards.

Alan Freeman lets fly

Photo: Mayo Mick

Right from the throw-in it was obvious that the lads were in the mood to atone for that unexpected defeat to Leitrim and before the first quarter was out they had raced into a six-point lead. Alan Freeman got us going with a free and then Lee Keegan – seemingly revelling in his new-found position at wing forward – knocked over two from play before Freeman added a fourth from a ’45. Chris Barrett followed up with a fisted effort for our fifth of the night.

Chris Barrett point

Photo: Mayo Mick

Freeman was clearly enjoying his evening, the Aghamore man adding three further points in quick succession, two from the play with the second one of these scraping the bar before flying over. GMIT’s night soon got worse when another one of our backs-cum-forwards, Richie Feeney, blasted home to take our lead into double figures.

Richie Feeney goal

Photo: Mayo Mick

Conor O’Shea added a point soon after to stretch the lead to twelve and there was almost half an hour on the clock before John Ryan finally got the students’ first point of the evening. He followed up with another one soon after to cut the gap to ten points, 1-9 to 0-2, at the break.

With the spoils already in the bag at half-time, James Horan sensibly opted for a few changes before the second half got underway. Off came Tom Cunniffe, Chris Barrett and Michael Conroy with this trio replaced by Keith Higgins and debutants Brendan Harrison and James Shaughnessy.

We continued to pile on the pain after the break, with points from Alan Freeman, Lee Keegan – his third from play – and Richie Feeney pulling us further clear. James was obviously happy enough by then with Richie’s 1-1 contribution as he called the Mitchels man ashore soon after in order to let Darren Coen stretch his legs.

Conor O’Shea then brought his night’s tally level with Richie’s when he was left with the simple task of palming the ball into an empty net from a Lee Keegan pass as our lead stretched to a yawning chasm of 17 points.

Conor O'Shea goal

Photo: Mayo Mick

Points for GMIT from Eric Monaghan, John Ryan and our own Fergal Durcan cut the gap somewhat as James continued to ring the changes, with Mark Duffy coming on between the sticks for his Ballina clubmate David Clarke.  One of the night’s earlier substitutes, James Shaughnessy, then knocked over his first ever point at senior level for the county before Alan Freeman got our final score of the evening, his seventh point of the game coming from play. Castlebar’s Aidan Walsh got the game’s final score with a well-taken pointed free for GMIT as we ran out comfortable winners on a 2-14 to 0-6 scoreline.

Final score

Photo: Mayo Mick

I spoke with PJ after the final whistle and he was impressed with Keith Rogers, Jason Gibbons, Alan Freeman (whom he reckoned has rediscovered that great fetching ability he had when he first broke into the senior ranks a few years back), Lee Keegan (for his link play as well as his scores), Conor O’Shea, Darren Coen and Donal Vaughan (especially in the first half).

As an antidote to Ballinamore, tonight’s performance seems to have fitted the bill fairly well. Sure, GMIT are never a tough proposition in the FBD – we beat them by six points two years ago, by twelve points last year and fourteen points tonight – but tonight’s win was still an assured one. A similar display against the Rossies on Sunday would set us up nicely for the start of the league two weeks after that.

PS: Thanks to @MayoGAA and @MaigheoforSam for their frequent, up-to-the-minute updates from Flanagan Park tonight and thanks too to Mayo Mick for his photos taken at the game.

Mayo: David Clarke; Michael Walsh, Cathal Hallinan, Keith Rogers; Tom Cunniffe, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrett (0-1); Jason Gibbons, Barry Moran; Lee Keegan (0-3), Richie Feeney (1-1), Cathal Carolan; Conor O’Shea (1-1), Alan Freeman (0-7, two frees, one ’45), Michael Conroy. Subs: Brendan Harrison for Cunniffe, Keith Higgins for Barrett, James Shaughnessy (0-1) for Conroy, Darren Coen for Feeney, Mark Duffy for Clarke.

2 thoughts on “Facile win over GMIT gets us back on track

  1. I didn’t expect to learn much about tonight but for me Lee Keegan, alan freeman & Jason gibbons really stood out. Keegan at no 10 was top class. 3 really good scores from play and hard work. Freeman was kicking scores for fun. He looked really comfortable on the ball. Gibbons had a fine game in the middle. His workrate and all round game was very good.

    There is no point in getting carried away because GMIT aren’t great at all, But new guys like rogers, Hallinan, Conor o Se, carolan & shaughnessy worked hard, linked well and made a big impression. With Ritchie feeney & Keegan looking sharp in the forwards it’s good to see new players coming into the side and performing well giving more options for the season ahead.

  2. Agree Patriot…….Keegan looked a class act. If this is a true reflection of his ability as a forward…….happy days!

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