The Mayo Juniors took the field as underdogs against reigning Connacht champions Sligo at Ballina this evening but they emerged from the contest as fairly convincing winners, dethroning the Magpies on a scoreline of 2-10 to 1-10.
The home side’s starting team showed two changes from that which was announced in advance, with Darren McHugh and Mícheál Forde (who have both lined out at senior level earlier this year) being replaced by Conor Horan and Darren Durcan respectively. They were soon to the fore on the pitch, though, when, after the teams had traded two opening points each, Eoin O’Donoghue latched onto a loose ball and found the net.
Sean McLoughlin’s men powered on from there, with two points from Andrew Farrell and one from Cathal Freeman to push them six clear. The Yeatsmen pulled one back but then our lads then banged in a second goal, this one from Andrew Farrell, to stretch the lead to eight points.
The home team went in at half-time seven points to the good – with the score standing at 2-6 to 0-5 at that stage – and they were still seven in front well into the second half. With time running out, though, a goal for the defending champions cut the gap to four and the Magpies added a point to leave just a goal between the sides.
That was as near as they got, however, as our lads held out for a spirited win. They now play Galway, who beat Leitrim in the evening’s other semi-final, in the Connacht JFC final on 17th May.
Thanks to @MayoGAA for the excellent updates from James Stephens Park this evening.