HALF a loaf might be better than no bread but an experimental Mayo side were hit by a late Leitrim sucker punch to earn the visitors to MacHale Park tonight a well deserved share of the spoils in round 3 of the Connaught FBD League.
Featuring nine debutantes, Mayo had to call on the experience of Jason Gibbons and Kevin McLoughlin to dig them out in the second half, and they appeared to be on course for a win in this, their opening game of the competition, when Peter Naughton tied the game before they kicked three clears, Ciaran Treacy from play and from a free and James McCormack adding what appeared to be the insurance point.
But with literally the last play in the fourth minute of injury-time, Brendan Gallagher caught the Mayo defence cold when he ghosted in to deflect the ball to the net.
Mayo looked to be well in command when they led by 0-6 to 0-2 after 24 minutes, with some excellent points from play from Ciaran Treacy, Fionn McDonagh, Ross Egan and Neil Douglas, but it was Leitrim who hit the next seven scores to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time.
In fact, Leitrim could have been further ahead but for a fine save by debutante goalkeeper Paddy O’Malley, who denied Darragh Rooney from point-blank range.
Mayo were presented with an early penalty in the second half but Alan Freeman’s effort was saved by the Leitrim goalkeeper.
That late surge from Mayo looked to have been enough but this is one that slipped from their grasp as they face Galway now in the rescheduled game at the county grounds this Friday night before heading to Hyde Park to face the Rossies on Sunday.
Final score: Mayo 0-13, Leitrim 1-10.
Mayo: P. O’Malley, M. Park, G. McDonagh, A. Butler (0-1), J. Stretton, S. Nally, J. McCormack (0-1), B. Moran, J. Flynn, F. McDonagh (0-1), N. Douglas (0-1), N. Moran, R. Egan (0-1), A. Freeman (0-2, 2f)). C Treacy (0-3, 1f).
Subs used: J Gibbons (0-1) for B. Moran (ht), A. Gallagher for N. Moran (45), O. McLoughlin for Egan (55), P. Naughton (0-1) for Freeman (60), A Gallagher (0-1) for Flynn (64), K. McLoughlin for Nally (65).
Leitrim: D. McKiernan, L. Ryan, M. McWeeney, M. Murphy, J. O’Brien, J. Mitchell, S. Quinn, K. Keegan (0-1), D. Wrynn, C. Moreton (0-1), C. Gaffney, E. Ward (0-1), A. Flynn (0-1), D. Rooney, B. Gallagher (1-4).
Sub used D. Moran (0-1) for Moreton (25), N. McGovern (0-1) for Wrynn (HT), J. Mitchell for Ryan (40), N. Plunkett for O’Brien (40), D. Carberry (0-1) for Gaffney 50) C. Gallagher for Warde (66).
Referee: S. Hehir (Galway).