Aidan O'Shea scoring the first of his two goals against Sligo this afternoon. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo ease into provincial semi-final with impressive display

A scintillating first-half display saw Mayo easily overcome the challenge of Sligo in the semi-final of the Connacht senior football championship at Markievicz Park this afternoon, winning by 3-23 to 0-12.

Mayo settled well into the contest and enjoyed a commanding 14-point lead at the break (3-13 to 0-8), the goals coming courtesy of Aidan O'Shea (two) and Darren McHale, whose first start in a Connacht championship match was certainly memorable as he scored 1-4 in that first half alone, including the Green and Red's first three points of the day.

The full-forward line of Tommy Conroy, O'Shea and Ryan O'Donoghue gave Sligo a problem they didn't know how to deal with, the Breaffy man adding two points to his two goals, Conroy popping two over the bar from play and O'Donoghue replacing Cillian O'Connor on free-taking duties with aplomb, scoring from two placed balls and landing one from play in between for good measure.

Seán Carrabine was Sligo's main driver and he scored two fine points in the opening half, no more than his overall effort deserved, while Niall Murphy was their biggest scoring threat, landing three of their first-half total.

The second half rather fizzed out, as might be expected with the outcome no longer in doubt.

Mayo tacked on 10 points to Sligo's four, the impressive Murphy continuing to lead the way for the Yeats men with three points, while the visitors had a greater spread of scores, with substitutes Stephen Coen, Fergal Boland and James Carr all dissecting the posts.

Eoghan McLaughlin scored two and was unlucky not to add a goal late on, his piledriver touched on to the bar expertly by Sligo 'keeper Eamonn Kilgannon, while the most impressive points of that second half were two scored by Conor Loftus from distance.

So job done by Mayo, who march on to a Connacht semi-final date with Leitrim in two weeks' time knowing that a similar display should be enough to secure a place in the provincial final at the end of July.

Mayo: Rob Hennelly; Enda Hession, Oisin Mullin, Lee Keegan; Michael Plunkett Paddy Durcan (0-1), Eoghan McLaughlin (0-2); Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus (0-2); Kevin McLoughlin, Darren McHale (1-5), Jordan Flynn (0-1); Tommy Conroy (0-2), Aidan O'Shea (2-2), Ryan O'Donoghue (0-5, 0-3f). Subs: Fergal Boland (0-1), Padraig O'Hora, Stephen Coen (0-1), Paul Towey, James Carr (0-1).

Sligo: Eamonn Kilgallon; Ryan Feehily, Eddie McGuinness, Karl McKenna; Sean O'Carroll, Paul McNamara, Peter Laffey; Patrick O’Connor (0-1), Paul Kilcoyne; David Quinn, Liam Gaughan (0-1), Mikey Gordon (0-1); Barry Gorman, Niall Murphy (0-6, 0-1f), Seán Carrabine (0-2). Subs: Evan Lyons, Keelan Cawley (0-1), Red Óg Murphy, Conor Griffin, Cian Lally.