NFL Division Two North: Mayo ease past Meath
By Darragh Walsh
Mayo finished the group stage of this year’s league with a perfect record after comfortably beating Meath in McHale Park on Sunday afternoon. The Westerners showed their great scoring ability as they topped their group setting up a semi-final with Clare in the process. Meath meanwhile will face off against Kildare in the other semi-final in the division following the outcome of today’s game.
Mayo opened the scoring after a single minute through a Darren McHale point and Cillian O’Connor quickly added a couple of frees to stretch the home side’s lead to three. Jack O’Connor put Meath on the scoring board after seven minutes with a point before the sides exchanged frees. O’Connor curled over his first before Jack Flynn replied for Meath with a fine strike off the ground. Michael Plunkett added another single for Mayo before Meath fired in their first goal of the game. Bryan McMahon tapped the ball into an empty net, following Rob Hennelly’s strong save on Jason Scully’s shot, to level the game with fourteen minutes played. Mathew Ruane and Fergal Boland both added singles for Mayo before the water break to leave the home side ahead by two at the water break.
Within five minutes of the re-start Mayo extended their lead to nine. Cillian O’Connor converted a penalty while James Carr scored a goal and a point. Eamon Wallace replied with a point for Meath only for O’Connor to go straight down the other end to add another point to his personal tally. James Conlon chipped in with a couple of frees for the away side before the break but it was Mayo who finished the half stronger, hitting 1-2 in the last five minutes of the half. McHale and Bryan Walsh raised white flags and Carr found the net for the second time with a fine solo effort to leave twelve points between the sides.
Meath were fast out of the blocks in the second half with Wallace adding a point from the throw in and Conlon converting another free soon after. Paul Towey converted a free for Mayo before the visitors, fighting to make a game of the contest, found the net again. Bryan Menton riffled the ball into the roof of Rob Hennelly’s net and Conlon added another single. Aidan O’Shea and Ruane added further singles for Mayo while Michael Newman converted a free for the visitors to end the third quarter.
A single from Walsh along with a couple of points from Towey would see the end of Mayo’s scoring for the day while Newman would score Meath’s final three points of the game in the last quarter. As the final whistle sounded eight points separated the sides in favour of the home side.
Mayo: Robert Hennelly, Eoin O’Donoghue, Oisin Mullin, Lee Keegan, Michael Plunkett, Stephen Coen, Fergal Boland, Mathew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Carney, Darren McHale, Bryan Walsh, Ryan O’Donoghue, Cillian O’Connor, James Carr. Subs Used: Colm Boyle for Lee Keegan, Paul Towey for C. O’Connor, Eoghan McLaughlin for Boland, Aidan O’Shea for Carney, Jordan Flynn for McHale, Tommy Conroy for Carr.
Meath: Harry Hogan, Eoin Harkin, Conor McGill, Seamus Lavin, Jack Flynn, David Dillon, Cathal Hickey, Brian Conlon, Bryan Menton, Jack O’Connor, Darragh Campion, Eamon Wallace, Jason Scully, James Conlon, Joey Wallace. Subs Used: Shane McEntee for B. Conlon, Donal Keogan for Hickey, Padraic Harnan for Dillon, Danny Dixon for Campion, Michael Newman for Scully, Keith Curtis for J. Conlon, Liam Byrne for Hogan.
Mayo: James Carr 2-1, Cillian O’Connor 1-4(1-3F), Paul Towey 0-3(0-2F), Mathew Ruane, Bryan Walsh 0-2 each, Michael Plunkett, Fergal Boland, Aidan O’Shea 0-1 each.
Meath: James Conlon 0-4(0-3F), Michael Newman 0-4(0-3F), Bryan Menton, Brian Conlon 1-0, Eamon Wallace 0-2, Jack O’Connor, Jack Flynn 0-1 each.