Sinead Walsh scores Mayo's sixth goal despite the attention of Aoife Ní Cheallaigh of Galway at Tuam Stadium this afternoon. Photo: Ben McShane / Sportsfile

Mayo advance to semi-final after big win over Galway

Mayo booked their place in the Lidl Ladies National League Division 1 semi-finals following a comprehensive 6-6 to 2-8 victory over neighbours and arch rivals Galway in Tuam Stadium this afternoon.

While the 10-point victory might give one the notion of an easy afternoon for Michael Moyles' charges, this was not the case as Galway made them fight all the way on a day when the very breezy conditions made it very difficult for both sides.

Playing with the aid of the strong wind to their backs in the first half, Mayo were slow to settle and although Sinead Walsh blasted home a great goal in the fifth minute, the game's opening score, Galway hit back in style.

Within 30 seconds they had Mayo goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey picking the ball from the back of the net after Mairead Seoighe ended a swift upfield attack to shoot past Tarpey. This was followed by an Aoife O’Rourke point (free) to leave the home side in front after by one after eight minutes.

But once Mayo fully settled down, they upped the ante and before the first water break they scored 2-2 to Galway’s one point.

Mayo’s second goal came from a Ciara Whyte palmed effort, while Walsh became provider for the third when she passed to Lisa Cafferky who in turn gave Galway ‘keeper Alanna Griffin no chance with her powerful drive.

In the second quarter the scores dried up, with both sides adding only a point to their respective tallies. Shauna Howley pointed a free for Mayo while Ailbhe Davoran was Galway’s scorer, leaving Mayo leading by 3-3 to 1-3 at the interval.

This game was really settled in the opening six minutes of the second half as Mayo scored an unanswered 3-1, despite playing into the teeth of the strong wind.

After Howley converted a free in the first minute, Sinead Cafferky, Lisa Cafferky and Sinead Walsh all found the back of net. All three goals were brilliantly taken and all of a sudden, Mayo's half-time lead of six points was now 16.

While it was really all over for Galway at this early stage in the second half, they refused to throw in the towel.

The introduction of Irish national soccer player Kate Slevin helped Galway’s cause as she scored 1-4, her goal coming from the penalty spot.

However, much as Galway tried, they were never able to claw Mayo’s big lead back. Indeed, Mayo manager Moyles could afford to bring 12 players off the bench before the game ended.

Mayo’s final group game will be against Donegal next Sunday. However, the result of this matters little as both teams have already qualified for the league semi-finals along with Dublin and Meath.