Enda Gilvarry’s minors rounded off a spectacular weekend for the county this afternoon as they skated to an easy 2-13 to 0-8 win over Westmeath in their All-Ireland quarter-final played at O’Connor Park in Tullamore. The win sees the minors join the seniors on the card at Croke Park in three weeks time where, in that day’s curtain raiser, they’ll be paired with Ulster U18 champions Monaghan who edged out Tipperary by 0-12 to 0-9 in their quarter-final meeting today.
I wasn’t at O’Connor Park today and so there’s not a huge amount I can say about the minors’ win. According to the scores updates from @MayoGAA, it looks as if we took charge of this contest from the off, racing into a three-point lead with points from Conor Loftus, Cian Hanley and Michael Plunkett. That was the margin we led by at the break but it sounds as if it was still an open enough contest at that stage, with Westmeath giving almost as good as they were getting as we went in 0-9 to 0-6 in front.
Things changed on the resumption, though, when – after a Tommy Conroy point put us four ahead – Cian Hanley was hauled down in the square and the same player goaled from the resultant penalty. Liam Irwin added a point and then we broke through for a second goal, this one from Darragh Doherty who then added a point.
A further point from Cian Hanley
put us a full thirteen points clear but this score was our final one of the day, with seventeen minutes still left to play. Any hopes the Lake County lads may have had about mounting a comeback were pretty much extinguished when their centre-forward Alan Hughes got a straight red for a striking incident. Westmeath had the final say on the scoreboard but the two points they managed to get weren’t enough to avoid a double-digit defeat.
Well done to Enda and the lads on another great win, one that moves them to within one step of an All-Ireland final appearance. So not only will the aim be to have a big Mayo crowd at Croke Park on August 25th, it’ll need to be a crowd that arrives on time as well so that the minors have plenty of support in their All-Ireland semi-final before the day’s main event gets going later that afternoon.
Mayo: Mark Mulligan; Eddie Doran, David Kenny, Michael Hall; Ronan Finn, Stephen Coen, Sean Conlon; Val Roughneen (0-1, free), Diarmuid O’Connor; Conor Loftus (0-2), Michael Plunkett (0-2), Cian Hanley (1-2, penalty goal); Darragh Doherty (1-1), Liam Irwin (0-3, frees), Tommy Conroy (0-2). Subs: Conor Byrne for Doherty, Padraig Prendergast for Hanley, Hugh Cafferty for Conlon, Brian Walsh for Plunkett, Kevin Jordan for Finn.