Mayo ease through the gears to make Nicky Rackard Cup final

Mayo proved to be cut above Leitrim as they cut loose in the second half to ease their way into the final of the Nicky Rackard Cup, winning an entertaining semi-final at Elverys MacHale Park today by 3-23 to 1-11, writes John Melvin.

Leitrim put up a great show in the first half and had tied with Mayo at the break on 1-8 apiece, and it was the visitors to Castlebar who were doing all the pressing early in the second half too.

However, a goalkeeping error allowed Mayo in for their second goal after a long delivery from Cathal Freeman was dropped, and from there on Mayo took control, top scorer Shane Boland – who finished on 1-10 – scoring Mayo’s third goal in the 50th minute.

A point from Leitrim’s Cian French deep into first-half injury time ensured the sides were level at the break.

Leitrim had led twice in the half, Colm Moreton’s goal edging them in front after 10 minutes, but Mayo struck with a Brian Morley goal on 14 minutes only for Leitrim to hit three points on the bounce in the closing stages to go two ahead for the second time, Mayo hitting back with three unanswered points of their own in what was a lively opening period.

Mayo will meet Donegal in the final after the Ulster county's 3-25 to 1-21 victory over neighbours Tyrone earlier this afternoon.

Among Mayo's scorers on the day were: S. Boland 1-10 (0-9f), S. Kenny 0-4 (0-1 65', 0-1f), C. Freeman 1-0, E. Delaney 0-2, A. Phillips (0-2), L. Lavin and B. Hunt 0-1 each.

Leitrim's scorers were: C. Moreton 1-0, K. McDermott 0-4 (0-1f), G. O’Hagan 0-2f, C. French 0-2, B. Murray, C. Beirne, Z. Moradi 0-1 each.