Man of the match Diarmuid O'Connor

Mayo finally turn up the championship heat

MAYO upped the ante as they continued their journey through the backdoor with an emphatic, and indeed impressive, nine-points win over Kildare before a crowd of close to 15,000 yesterday evening at Elverys MacHale Park.

The game spun on a four-minute blinding spell just before the interval with Mayo leading by 0-7 to 0-5 and looking less than impressive.

But a burst of energy seemed to be released all over the pitch and they blitzed Kildare with 2-4, Evan Regan finishing the good work of Andy Moran for Mayo’s first goal on 29 minutes before the player of the year in 2015, Diarmuid O’Connor, who finished the game on 1-5, meandered through the Kildare defence to finish a spectacular goal.

It gave Mayo command of the half, and indeed the game, as they finished 2-9 to 0-5 ahead at the break.

In fairness, Kildare could have scored a goal themselves but a rocket from Emmet Bolton was brilliantly turned away by David Clarke, although Mayo will feel they should have had two penalties in that half, legitimate appeals by both Donie Vaughan and Diarmuid O’Connor turned down by the referee.

The didn’t need them on this occasion as they coasted for most of the second half.

Mayo posted two early points in the second half but they were really in command, Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan and Keith Higgins pouring pressure on that Kildare defence as both Andy Moran and Diarmuid O’Connor were giving standing ovations as they made room for the bench players.

Despite the freetaking of Neill Flynn, who finished on six points, five from dead-balls and three excellent points from play from substitute Fionan Dowling, Kildare never posed a serious threat in the second half as Mayo emptied the bench with Alan Freeman, Jason Doherty and Conor O’Shea all finding the target in a game which saw just two yellow cards and one black, the latter going to Mayo’s Colm Boyle, fifteen minutes from time.

In the final analysis, Mayo are finally turning up the champsionhip heat and can look forward to tomorrow's draw for the next round.

Mayo: D. Clarke, B. Harrison, K. Keane, K. Higgins (0-1), L. Keegan, C. Boyle, P. Durcan (0-1), S. O’Shea, D. Vaughan, K. McLoughlin, A. O’Shea, D. O’Connor (1-5), E. Regan (1-5, 1f), A. Moran, C. O’Connor (0-2, 2f).

Subs used: S. Coen for Keane (41), A. Dillon for A. Moran (49), B. Moran for C. Boyle (BC, 53), J. Doherty (0-2) for B. Harrison (63), A. Freeman (0-1) for E. Regan (65), C. O’Shea (0-1) for D. O’Connor (67).

Kildare: M. Donnellan, C. Fitzpatrick, D. Hyland, O .Lyons, J. Byrne (0-1), E. Doyle, E. Bolton, T. Moolick, K. Feely, M O’Flaherty (0-2), F. Conway, E. O’Flaherty, C. McNally (0-1), N. Kelly, N, Flynn (0-5).

Subs used: F. Dowling (0-3) for E. Bolton (35), K. Cribbin (0-1) for M. O’Flaherty (35), A. Smith for E. O’Flaherty (44), E. Callaghan for McNally (48), P. Kelly for Fitzpatrick (53), C. Healy for Flynn (59).

Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).