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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Mike Finnerty

Mayo survive late Monaghan rally to march on in qualifiers

Mayo 1-13 Monaghan 0-12

Championship specialists Mayo booked their ticket to the second round of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers with a workmanlike win over Monaghan in the summer sunshine in Castlebar.

A first half goal from the penalty spot by Cillian O’Connor turned out to the decisive score as the Oriel Men bowed out of the championship in disappointing fashion.

Mayo had led at the break by three points and despite failing to score for 20 minutes at one stage in the second half, they finished strongly with points from Lee Keegan, Darren McHale and Cillian O’Connor seeing them home in front.

Mayo led after an intriguing first half by 1-7 to 0-7 thanks to the aforementioned spot-kick that was tucked away beautifully by their talisman Cillian O’Connor.

Monaghan had come flying out of the blocks and raced into an early two points lead thanks to two efforts from their flamboyant full-forward Gary Mohan.

But Mayo came roaring back into contention with points from Cillian O’Connor (free) and flying defender Eoghan McLaughlin levelling the match.

The Westerners then hit the front for the first time on 12 minutes when O’Connor smashed a penalty past Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan.

Another free from O’Connor and a long-range effort from Rob Hennelly left Mayo 1-4 to 0-2 ahead at the end of the first quarter and in complete control.

The homeside were still five points ahead after 25 minutes, after Jack Carney and Mattie Ruane traded well-taken scores with Jack McCarron (mark) and Conor McManus, but Monaghan gradually started to reduce the margin.

The crafty McCarron nicked a couple of points in a row to give the Farney Army something to shout about, and a free from Conor McManus on the stroke of half-time meant that it was all to play for in the second half.

The Westerners extended their lead after the restart when Cillian O’Connor pounced, but the visitors replied with points from Kieran Hughes and Micheál Bannigan to keep the pressure on.

A long scoreless spell then followed as the warm conditions started to take their toll, before Mayo hit a purple patch and a string of points from veterans Lee Keegan and Cillian O’Connor, along with one from Darren McHale, settled the nerves.

That burst left the homeside ahead by 1-12 to 0-10, and despite a late Monaghan rally which yielded scores from Conor Leonard and Shane Carey (free), it was too little, too late.

Mayo: R Hennelly (0-1, 1f); L Keegan (0-1), O Mullin, E Hession; P Durcan (0-1), S Coen, E McLaughlin (0-1); M Ruane (0-1), A O’Shea; B Walsh, A Orme, D O’Connor; J Carr, J Carney (0-1), C O’Connor (1-6, 1-0pen, 5fs).

Subs used: K McLoughlin for Carr (51); D McHale (0-1) for Orme (59); C Loftus for Walsh (66).

Monaghan: R Beggan; K Duffy (0-1), C Boyle, R Wylie; K O’Connell, D Ward, R McAnespie; D Hughes, N Kearns; C McCarthy, K Hughes, M Bannigan (0-1); J McCarron (0-3, 1 mark), G Mohan (0-2), C McManus (0-2, 1f).

Subs used: A Woods for Hughes (46); C Leonard (0-1) for McCarthy (53); S Carey (0-2, 2fs) for McManus (62); S Jones for Bannigan (64).

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