Goals rain down at sunny Limerick as Mayo move through the gears
THE goals poured down from the heavens at glorious Gaelic Ground in Limerick where Mayo took Limerick apart with a blistering second half display in the first round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
Andy Moran came off the bench to score two goals but the man of the moment was Cillian O’Connor, who bagged a hat-trick and finished the game on 3-9 as he broke his county's all-time scoring record in memorable fashion.
Mayo led by 1-10 to 1-1 at the break, conceding an early penalty but they turned up the heat in an already hot stadium in the second half with some slick movements and five stunning goals, three in a space of two minutes.
The one blemish on a fine display was conceding three goals, two from the penalty spot, but Mayo will be confidently in the mix for the round two draw.
And, on this form ,not many teams will like forward to meeting them
Leading at half-time by nine points, Mayo had, in fact, fallen behind after just four minutes when a pull on a Limerick jersey by a Mayo defender gave Sean McSweeney the chance to score from the penalty spot and he fired low to the corner past David Clarke.
By the 16th minute Mayo had overturned the deficit and went into a lead they were never going to lose as Cillian O’Connor got into his stride with three points on the bounce from play followed by a '45.
It was the Ballintubber ace who finished an excellent move on 30 minutes, Evan Regan setting him up for a close range finish to the net.
James Durcan, who was named instead of Andy Moran on the starting 15, Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle and Aiden O’Shea all found the target for Mayo in that first half.
And it was more of less plain sailing after that and a further bonus was the return from injury of Lee Keegan.
Mayo: D Clarke, E. O’Donoghue, G Cafferkey, K. Higgins, C. Boyle (0-1), C Barrett (0-1), P Durcan (0-2), S. O’Shea, S. Coen (0-1), K. McLoughlin, A. O’Shea (0-2), C. Hanley (0-1), E. Regan (0-1), C. O’Connor (3-9, 2f, 1’45), J. Durcan (0-1).
Subs: L. Keegan for Boyle (45) J. Doherty for McLoughlin (46), C. Loftus for S O’Shea (53), A. Moran (2-0) for Higgins (55), C. Crowe for Hanley (64), S. Nally for Donoghue (65).
Limerick: D. O’Sullivan, G. Noonan, S. O’Dea, P. Maher, P. White, I. Corbette (0-2), C. Fahy, D Treacy, M. Fitzgibbon, P. Nash, S. McSweeney (1-0, 1 pen), J. Liston, D. Neville (0-1), J. Ryan (0-2, 2f), J. Lee (0-1).
Subs: S. Carroll (2-1, 1 pen) for McSweeney (ht), P. Scanlon for Lee (54), G. Browne for Fitzgibbon (60). D. Lyons for Neville (65)
Referee: N. Cullan (Fermanagh).