Colm Lynch scored 1-2 for Mayo in their Connacht MFC victory over Leitrim. Photo: David Farrell

Hard-fought victory for Mayo in Carrick-on-Shannon

Mayo secured their second win of this year's Connacht minor football championship with a 1-17 to 1-13 victory over Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon.

They had to survive a scare against a home side that needed to win to maintain an interest in the chase for the provincial title.

As such, Leitrim put in an admirable effort but Mayo had a little bit too firepower much for them, a purple patch after half-time going a long way to ensuring the Green and Red of the two points on offer as the round robin phase heads towards the final round.

In a first half that ebbed and flowed, Mayo were guilty of a few missed goal chances but did stick one away, Colm Lynch with a lovely run followed by a confident finish in the 19th minute.

That score restored the lead for Mayo – 1-5 to 0-6 – after they had fallen behind by a point to a Paul Honeyman-inspired Leitrim. The corner forward accounted for three of the home side's scores in that first half and also missed a penalty that was awarded after he himself had been fouled.

With Colm McLoughlin doing well around the middle and Dara Greanan impressing in the half-back line, Leitrim weren't going away. Two points late in the half by Joshua Maye and Brian Keaney left them just two in arrears at the break, 0-8 to 1-7, and it was little more than they deserved.

Mayo roared out of the blocks on the turnaround, however, outscoring their opponents by seven points to one in the opening 20 minutes.

Among the scorers were James Lavelle (a very impressive performer all evening), Lynch (two) and Tom Lydon (two), with frees landed by Darragh Beirne and Senan Guilfoyle, the latter's from a long way out.

With Thomas Tuffy, Dara Neary and Fionnan Burke all making telling contributions off the bench, it looked as though Mayo were on course for a convincing win having opened up an eight-point lead (1-14 to 0-9).

However, a point from substitute Ruairi O'Rourke followed by goal from Honeyman had the gap back to four with still eight minutes plus injury time to come.

The young Mayo lads, to their credit, steadied the ship and three points in succession from Lydon, Josh Carey (mark) and Tuffy stretched the gap again before Leitrim scored three points of their own in injury time to leave four between the sides at the full-time whistle.

Mayo face Sligo next Friday evening with nothing hanging on the outcome. Galway will qualify for the Connacht decider to face either Mayo or Roscommon, who will meet in a semi-final for the right to contest the final.

Mayo: Conor Meaney; James Lavelle (0-2), Eoin McGreal, Yousif Coghill; Jamie Clarke, Rio Mortimer, Fionan O'Reilly; Tiernan Egan, Shane Cunningham; Colm Lynch (1-2), Tommy Lydon (0-5), Senan Guilfoyle (0-1); Darragh Beirne (0-4), Josh Carey (0-2), Gavin Forry.

Subs used: Conor Ryder, Sean Walsh, Dara Neary, Thomas Tuffy (0-1), Fionnan Burke.

Leitrim: Sean Carolan (0-1); Oran Foley, Eanna McNamara, Kyle Russell; Dara Greanan, Daire Gardiner, Josh McNamee; Colm McLoughlin, James Gilheaney (0-1); Brian Keaney (0-1), Fionn Curley, Adam Gethins; Dessie Wisley, Joshua Maye (0-3), Paul Honeyman (1-6).

Subs used: Bailey McBride, Ruairi O'Rourke (0-2), Aaron Gardiner, Frankie Cullen, Cormac Moran.

Referee: Brendan Healy (Roscommon).