Thursday, 24 March 2011 12:54
Mayo and Roscommon shared the spoils in this opening round of the Connaught minor league in Ballinlough on Saturday.
In a game which never reached any great heights, a draw was a fair result. However, both teams have plenty of work and improvement to do for the remainder of the league before they can set their sights on having a successful championship campaign.
Roscommon had the better of the exchanges in the opening half but still found themselves only a point in front at the break after
Mayo finished strongly scoring three unanswered points.
Mayo showed improvement after the break but although taking a three-point lead, were unable to finish off their opponents and allowed them back into the game in the closing stages.
But it is early days for both teams and now that they have their first competitive game out of the way we can expect much better performances from them over the rest of the league campaign.
Both sides took time to settle into their first competitive game. However, it was Mayo who had to play second fiddle to their opponents for most of the first half. That said, they opened the scoring when Kevin Gibbons pointed a free in the sixth minute.
Mayo also had a goal chance in these opening minutes when an attempted James Shaughnessy shot for a point came back off the crossbar. Shane Irwin was first to react to the breaking ball but his shot for goal was brilliantly saved by Roscommon 'keeper Niall Cawley.
Once Roscommon settled they began to dominate in most areas of the field and after opening their account with a Fintan Kelly point in the 11th minute, they went on to make their dominance pay where it mattered most, on the scoreboard. Three points from Donal Smyth and one from Shane Jordan had them four in front by the 22nd minute. But despite some good scoring chances they failed to add to their tally for the remainder of the half.
It was Mayo who finished the half strongly. A magnificent point from midfielder Gareth O'Donnell in the 27th minute and two pointed frees by Evan Regan in the closing moments cut the deficit to the minimum as the sides went in for the half time break.
On the resumption, Mayo, who were now favoured by the breeze, were fast out of the traps and within two minutes had turned the one-point deficit into a one-point lead after Shaughnessy and Conor O'Shea landed great points.
Although Shane Jordan levelled matters 60 seconds later, Mayo were back in front when Adam Gallagher scored their third point of the half in the 35th minute.
For the remainder of the game both sides missed several good scoring chances. Mayo had to rely on the accuracy of centre-back Ryan Quirke from frees to keep them in contention. Indeed, it was the Claremorris clubman who scored Mayo's final three points, two frees and one from a '45.
Quirke's two pointed frees in the 39th and 49th minutes had put Mayo three in front and it looked as if they were going to go on and win the game. However, Roscommon hit back in style with three unanswered points from Smyth (two) and Conor Daly to level matters with five minutes remaining.
But Quirke, who landed a great point from a '45 in the 60th minute, looked to have secured victory for Mayo. However, one final assault by Roscommon saw substitute Tadgh McKenna fire over a great point one minute into stoppage time and earn his side a share of the spoils.
In the end a draw was a fair result but both management teams will be expecting plenty of improvement from their charges in their forthcoming league outings.
Scorers for Mayo: R. Quirke 0-3, E. Regan 0-2, C. O'Shea, G. O'Donnell, A. Gallagher, J. Shaughnessy, K. Gibbons 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: D. Smyth 0-5, S. Jordan 0-2, F. Kelly, C. Daly, T. McKenna 0-1 each.
Mayo: S. Strogen, P. O'Hora, A. Stutt, E. Collins, C. Horan, R. Quirke, J. Rice, C. O'Shea, G. O'Donnell, A. Gallagher, J. Shaughnessy, S. Irwin, E. Regan, O. Sweeney, K. Gibbons.
Subs used: B. Leonard, P. Collins, C. Keane, B. Murphy and K. Kelly.
Roscommon: N. Cawley, T. Fetherstown, J. McManus, D. O'Dowd, S. O'Malley, R. Timothy, D. Brandon, L. Conlon, C. Casserly, F. Kelly, D. Smyth, C. Daly, F. Sweeney, A. Glennon, S. Jordan.
Subs used: K. Finn, M. Gunning, T. Corcoran, T. McKenna.
Referee: R. Chapman (Sligo).