Mayo ........ 1-21
IT Sligo ......1-15
LEADING at one stage by nine points, it looked as if Mayo would pull away to a comfortable win in this FBD Connacht League second round tie at James Stephen Park, Ballina.
However, the students from IT Sligo were determined to redeem themselves after taking a battering from Roscommon last week and came within three points of Mayo as this game entered the last five minutes.
But Mayo produced three big scores in the closing stages from substitutes Cian Costello, James Durcan and the impressive Fergal Boland to finally close out the game.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford retained eight of the side which lost to NUIG last week, while he also drafted in six from the senior panel for the start of this game including David Clarke, who captained the side having just returned with the Mayo from South Africa 48 hours before the game
But the man who left his calling card was Alan Freeman, who finished with 1-7, his goal in the first half keeping Mayo ahead at the interval by 1-12 to 1-6.
The other player to catch the eye was IT Sligo's James Shaughnessey from Claremorris who fired home for the penalty spot to level this game after 10 minutes and end up with 1-8 for his college .
Mayo kicked on in the second half with Freeman hitting four points on the bounce, including three frees, as Cillian O’Connor and Donal Vaughan were drafted in.
But it was the college boys who hit six points without reply to pare the lead back to three before Mayo finally pulled away and set up an intriguing third and final round clash with Roscommon next Sunday in Kiltoom.
Donal Vaughan won’t be featuring in that game as he picked up black card followed by straight red in injury time after what appeared to be dissent.
Rochford will be happy to get his first win of 2017 under his belt while he will also be encouraged by the efforts of a good few of his new players who are starting to impress as he plans for the first round of the National League, which opens at Elverys MacHale against Monaghan in early February.
Mayo: D. Clarke, D. Kenny, R. O’Malley, D. Newcombe, D. Drake, E. O’Reilly, M. Plunkett (0-1), S. Nally, D. Kirby (0-1), F. Boland (0-3), C. Carolan (0-1), J. Doherty, E. Regan (0-2), L. Irwin (0-4, 3f), A. Freeman (1-7, 6f).
Subs used: J. Durcan (0-1) for Doherty (inj, 10), C. Costello (0-1) for Irwin (50), C. O’Connor for Freeman (57), C. Crowe for O’Reilly (58).
IT Sligo: S. Kilker, R. Gallagher, E. Gallagher, F. Neilan, R. Gorman E. McGrath, D. Curran, R. Connolly (0-1), K. McBrearty (0-1), A. McClean (0-1), C. Reape (0-1), J. Brennan (0-2), B. Walsh (0-1), J. Shaughnessey (1-8, 6f), C. McGettigan.
Subs used: S. Meehan for Curran (inj, 20), A. Wharton for Meehan (54), C. Surlis for Walsh (56), E. Broderick for Reape (58).
Referee: S Hehir (Galway).