By Mike Fitzpatrick
This senior football tie clearly demonstrated the point that Celtics mean business this season. Manager Donie Sullivan continued his knack for picking up impressive players in this performance that witnessed some great attacking play on behalf of his side, and some defensive play that refused to allow the Mayo side seep through in order to score any much needed goals.
The first half had Mayo on the ropes with Celtics pummeling away thanks to two Paul McElroy goals and points from Kenny Cox, Aidan O’Connor, Alan Molloy and David O’Sullivan. Mayo’s attacking, however, left much to be desired, with only three points from Colm Fallon, John Browne and Alan Ryan registering in the first 30 minutes. Mayo came off the worst in the first half going into the interval losing by eight points. Despite rearranging their lineup by bringing on Niall Coogan and Tom Maher, they could not find their way past the Celtics backline.
Celtics midfielder Alan Molloy had a good game in the center of the park, refusing to allow the Mayo attack to blossom and regularly intercepting on passes in order to set up his own side on counter attacking missions.
The second half was a more evensided affair with both sides scoring five points, but the damage had really been inflicted on Mayo in the first half. Celtics clearly took their foot off the proverbial pedal, allowing their opponents to gather some momentum, and in doing so, Mayo were allowed to attack far more than they had done in the first thirty minutes.
Mayo forward John Browne inspired his side toward a far superior second half performance, but it was much in vain. Despite his scoring four second period points, his fellow forwards found the going tough versus the Celtics backline. Going for goal, he unluckily hit the post and diving in for the rebound, Coogan was disappointed to see his effort saved thanks to some great goalkeeping from Pat Donaghue between the Celtics posts.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
Hyland hit another point for Mayo, but Celtics performance in the first period had really placed a death knell on the Connaught side. The two killer goals from McElroy were never equaled and throughout the latter stages of the game, despite attacking far more often, Mayo finished a below par second best to this Celtics side. Donie O’Sullivan will be pleased with this complete team performance where they were rarely in danger of going behind.
Mayo: Declan Fearon, Niall McMahon, David Hyland (0-1), Tom Burke, Seamus Burke, David McHale, Gary Noone, James Prenty, Mickey McGahon, Alan Ryan, John Browne (0-5), Christy Fallon (0-1), Colm Burke, John Burke, Declan Caulfield. Subs: Niall Coogan, Tom Maher, Eamon Duffy.
Celtics: Pat Donohue, Jimmy Dwyer, John Walsh, Mark Kelly, Liam Murray, Noel Cronin, Brian Montgomery, Alan Molloy (0-2), Aidan Traynor, David O’Sullivan, Danny O’Sullivan (0-2), Eddie Kelly (0-1), Paul McElroy (2-0), Kenny Cox (0-2), Aidan O’Connor (0-3).