Mayo 4-18 New York 0-8
The Connacht Championship continues to be a place where New York takes the brunt of the beating following the common theme from the last three years. In this year’s case, Mayo followed in the footsteps of Leitrim and dealt out a 22 point pounding to the locals on Sunday, a day when the crowd was the largest Gaelic Park has seen in more than a decade.
It was a pro-Mayo audience that cheered every score for the winners. With a wind blowing across the field the elements did nothing to favor either side, and the slight drizzle just about softened a sweat.
As the game unfolded, Mayo easily dealt with anything the home side could muster up, and but for a seven minute period early in the second half the winners dominated completely.
While New York did their warm-ups and then headed for the dressing rooms to return for a kick around and then parade, Mayo went from warm-ups to parade and then game. It showed as they had the first point of the game within 25 seconds of the start when Aiden O’Shea won the ball and moved it forward.
Donal Vaughan who immediately joined the attack fired over from 40 yards out. Kevin McLoughlin followed with a fisted score, but it came after Gavin Joyce had to make a brave save at the feet of Andy Moran.
New York’s first chance was from a free after Jason Kelly set Gary O’Driscoll free and he was fouled. Johnny McGeeney hit the right post from the 30 yarder, but New York created another chance immediately. Again the post denied them, this time the left one from O’Driscoll.
Moran had Mayo’s third score when a defensive slip gave the ball away, and then finally New York got on the board. The kickout broke to Brendan Quigley and he carried to the 50 before launching a towering drive over the bar.
The home side then cancelled out a second Vaughan point with a Kelly score from a free. He had been fouled, and then the ball was moved forward by referee O’Sullivan for some inappropriate chit chat to make the Offaly native’s shot a little easier.
It was, however, New York’s last score in the first 35 as they found the Mayo defense, which constantly had an extra man in its area, a hard block to break.
New York were pulling a man back. It was Paddy Boyle for the first half, which created the extra numbers in the rearguard.
Mayo methodically fired over a further seven points over the next 25 minutes, but a number were created by defensive or midfield giveaways by New York more than their own dominance. Granted when Mayo they did win the ball they moved it quickly up the field, time and again in a two-kick pass pace.
Cillian O’Connor had made it 0-5 to 0-2, and this was followed by a cracking Aiden O’Shea coming back of the upright when he ghosted inside the defense.
Extended pressure by New York ended with naught, and Mayo went further ahead with a long drive from Gibbons on the quarter hour mark.
Shortly after the ref had to halt proceedings when Keith Quinn and Colm Boyle were the most prominent in a mini-skirmish, with both receiving yellows for their part.
O’Connor made it 0-7 to 0-2 with a free when Seamus O’Shea was fouled, and the dominance that the half back line was exerting was the foundation for continuous attack after attack.
Full forward partners McLoughlin and Moran added to the lead, but Mayo was also guilty of a number of wides that may have been punished far more against more seasoned opponents.
O’Connor added to Mayo’s advantage with a free with three minutes left in the half, but they lost Kevin McLoughlin to injury and Ronan McGinley was booked in the incident. McLoughlin had to leave the field while the corner back received a yellow for his endeavors.
It was O’Connor’s second free and third score with Mayo now on a 0-11 to 0-2 interval lead. New York did have two opportunities before the break, but Quinn dropped his effort into the keeper’s hands while Kelly hit the outside of the post from play.
New York was on the field first for the second half, but akin to last season they were left to wait by their opponents. When they did arrive Diarmuid O’Connor took a Seamus O’Shea pass and had the first goal of the game within 40 seconds. There is a moral to that story for the future when you’re on your own sod.
Moran followed within two minutes with a point from play and the lead was 1-12 to 0-2. New York then enjoyed their best period as they fired over three of the next four scores.
It began with a 50-yard McGeeney score with Kelly following with a free a minute later. In between, New York had a let off when a four player move ended with Tom Parsons, who had just arrived on the scene off the bench, blasting a right footed shot at goal that Ger McCartan did well to stop.
Enda Varley, who was getting into lots of space, had a point in the mix when he punished a Kelly turnover, but then Alan Raftery had a long range effort over the lathe to take the bad look of the scoreboard.
After an O’Connor free, another long-range effort from Raftery dropped in the square and Ross Wherity got a fist to it punching over, but expressions showed that he was thinking of something far more.
It narrowed the gap to 11 but then the skill that can be Mayo showed, granted in spasms -- 2-2 in the next 14 minutes, with both goals coming from the penalty spot smothering a Jason Kelly long-range free.
The first peno was the result of what appeared to be a foul on Varley. O’Connor drove low to the right of a wrong way diving Joyce.
The second was the result of a foul on sub Brendan Harrison who raced in on the right side of goal but was fouled in the act of kicking. Hundreds will swear that it was outside the box including some at TnaG, but Mr. O’Sullivan in black said inside.
Joyce guessed correct this time again to the right, but again O’Connor found net. O’Driscoll did have the last New York score with five minutes left, but Mayo responded by closing the game out with 1-2 , the fourth and final goal coming from super-sub Varley.
It also meant they had covered the spread from a bookie standpoint, and New York had lost by more than 20 points for the third year in a row.