Minors quell lively Leitrim to book semi-final slot

It was a gloriously sunny evening at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon, perfect conditions for this Connacht MFC Round 4 meeting of Mayo and Leitrim. After a well-contested match our lads prevailed over a lively Leitrim outfit on a scoreline of 1-17 to 1-13, a win that guarantees us a semi-final slot where we’ll meet up again with Roscommon.

Leitrim were arguably the best team in the opening half. They certainly were a bit unlucky to find themselves two points in arrears at the break.

The tone was set from the throw-in, which the home side won and they swept upfield, with Joshua Maye bagging their opening point. Leitrim won the first three restarts, with Colm McLoughlin already establishing his presence as a dominant force around the middle.

We broke out for the first time on two minutes and James Lavelle notched our opening point, palmed over by the Leitrim ‘keeper. Tom Lydon then put us in front, tapping over a 14-yard free after the ref spotted some off-the-ball holding.

We edged two in front, Darragh Beirne finishing a well-worked score, and the same player got our next point too, collecting the ball after Tiernan Egan’s goal effort was saved.

They remained well in it, though, with Paul Honeyman a real handful up top. It was a holding offence on him, after he’d collected a long ball in, that resulted in the penalty award to the home team. Honeyman sent ‘keeper Conor Meaney the wrong way but the ball hit the butt of the upright and bobbled wide.

That was a let-off for us and within sixty seconds we’d grabbed the initiative, bagging a goal at the other end. It was a wonderful solo effort from Colm Lynch who drove through the Leitrim backline and smashed it to the net.

We led by two at the break and we eased clear early in the second half. James Lavelle banged over a second point, Tom Lydon started to find his range, booming over a great score, and by the mid-point in the second half, we were seven clear and looking comfortable.

Leitrim proved sticky opponents, though, and a goal, palmed to the net by Paul Honeyman after a well-worked attack, gave them renewed hope. Four down with ten to play, they knew they weren’t out of it yet.

We finished well, however, with points from Tom Lydon, Josh Carey (a mark) and sub Thomas Tuffy pushing us six clear as the game went into injury time. Leitrim bagged the last two scores of the evening, both from frees, but we’d done enough to seal a four-point win and, with it, our place in the Connacht semi-final.

Next up for the lads is a Round 5 meeting with Sligo next Friday evening back at Castlebar. This game is now a dead-rubber, as Roscommon’s win this evening over Sligo means they can’t now progress. This, perhaps gives us a chance to give a few lads a run before our thoughts turn to the Connacht semi-final the weekend after.

Mayo: Conor Meaney; James Lavelle (0-2), Eoin McGreal, Yousif Coghill; James Clarke (0-1), Rio Mortimer, Fionan O’Reilly; Tiernan Egan, Shane Cunningham; Colm Lynch (1-2), Tom Lydon (0-5, one free), Senan Guilfoyle (0-1, a free); Darragh Beirne (0-4, two frees), Josh Carey (0-1, mark), Gavin Forry. Subs: Dara Neary for McGreal, Fionan Burke for Forry, Thomas Tuffy (0-1) for O’Reilly, Conor Ryder for Cunningham, Cormac Moran for Guilfoyle.

Our Final Whistle pod from Páirc Seán is now online for club members on Patreon. Mike, Nigel Reape and I are on it, chatting about the game as well as the draw for the All-Ireland group stage and looking ahead to the Connacht LGFA final between Mayo and Galway on Sunday. Listen to it here.

10 thoughts on “Minors quell lively Leitrim to book semi-final slot

  1. Hard to figure how Jamie Clarke 1 of the top forwards at this level is playing half back. Maybe we have very good forwards

  2. Our Final Whistle podcast show is up on Patreon. Mike and I are on it along with Nigel Reape and there’s also post-match reaction from Seán Deane.

  3. Took the lads a fair while to get up to speed in that one. Leitrim’s intensity was a few orders of magnitude ahead of our own early game. With the changes in setup of the full back bringing back the sweeper, Rio looked noticeably more comfortable back there than he has so far in the half back line having much more of an impact on the game, and us getting up to pace around the middle third around 20 minutes in it started to look much better (until taking the foot off the gas late on).

    Shocking number of head high challenges let go, not even fouls given where at least two were straight red in my books, and a sickening number of late hits going in unpunished (predominantly on Rio, oddly enough) but outside that the Leitrim setup looked impressive. Honeyman looks an amazing prospect for them. Looking forward to seeing him lighting up senior games in the near future and a few others there with lots of potential to step up through the grades too. Some nice underage work going on there if they can keep the lads involved long term.

    Meaney (long kickouts aside, which look tactical rather than individual player choice so can’t fault him for those), McGreal, Lynch, Lydon and Beirne all looked impressive yet again. Huge consistency there. O’Reilly and Lavelle’s pace caused Leitrim a lot of problems (a little more work to be done on the final pass/shot when they do break free but that’s easily coached where the pace itself isn’t). In a game where Beirne and Lydon were being swarmed frequently Carey stood up nicely with his most impressive display so far by a distance. Great to see Neary back again, looks a real talent, and young Burke made a big impact too off the bench with fantastic fielding, something we’re a little light on at times.

    Not a great performance, I took more positives from the Galway game, but winning when you don’t play especially well is always great and more than enough positive to keep things chugging along heading for the free hit against Sligo and a semi final.

  4. Huge effort by Sligo U20s, no fear and very confident in what they are doing. Delighted for them, this is there first all ireland final at U20 level, and possibly their first ever! Fair achievement so far to beat the Rossies, ourselves, Galway and now Kerry. This would be a well deserved success.

  5. Delighted for Sligo, brilliant achievement , total respect with what theyre doing at underage development . Great belief they have in their gameplan , never panic and grind it out . To get a team to buy into that is great management too.

  6. This was excellent from Sligo.very good structure to their play.beating a kerry team at any level is an achievement but Sligo seemed in a fair degree of control in second half.Paul Henry has certainly made his mark in management over the last 3 years

  7. Jamie Clarke got a point there for Mayo and Josh Carey got one point ,not two .

  8. Thanks, Eamon. That’s what I had in the match report originally (which was what I thought I saw with my own eyes) but Mike’s match report in the Mayo News credited the first one to Josh Carey. I’ll check through the various match reports again on it.

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