After a competitive and keenly contested first half that saw Leitrim trail by just a point at the break in the U-16 Ladies Connacht Championship in Leitrim Village on Saturday afternoon last, Mayo increased the intensity in their play in the second half to emerge comfortable winners.
Leitrim 1-4 Mayo 8-11
While Leitrim deserve credit for keeping in touch with Mayo during the opening half, Mayo had the chances to be further in front but nine wides helped keep Leitrim in contention. Whatever was said by the Mayo management to their players during the interval certainly did the trick as two goals inside the opening two minutes of the second half all put Mayo back in the driving seat.
From a Leitrim point of view, the second half didn’t make for comfortable viewing as Mayo dominated the game and rarely allowed Leitrim out of their own half.
That was in stark contrast to the opening half where Leitrim enjoyed more than their fair share of possession and looked as though they would be in contention right until the end.
Leitrim’s Carmel McGovern opened the scoring with a second minute point after good defensive play from Sadhbh Sweeney. Having made a slow start to the game Mayo responded impressively with three points in quick succession. A further point from Mayo full-forward Kate Grogan helped establish a three point lead for Mayo and although Emma Guckian replied with a point for Leitrim, Mayo were beginning to look very dangerous when on the attack.
The visitors attacking play was rewarded with a Marissa Brett goal. With the first half less than 15 minutes old it was beginning to look ominous for Leitrim but to their credit they maintained their composure and began the process of clawing back the deficit. Ailbhe Clancy benefited from Carmel McGovern’s good work to point and shortly afterwards the same player pointed after Roisin McHugh surged out of defence with the ball.
Three minutes before the break, Leitrim reduced the deficit to just a point when Niamh Maguire’s shot from 20 metres nestled in the top corner of the net.
Trailing by 1-4 to 1-5, Leitrim would have been hoping to play with the same intensity that saw them get back in contention but straight from the throw-in at the beginning of the second half Mayo took control and never looked in any danger from that point on. However, the fact that Aoibheann Flynn, who had been one of Leitrim’s best performers, was forced to leave the pitch injured meant Leitrim’s job would be even more difficult.
Doireann Hughes and Kate Grogan both found the Leitrim goal inside two minutes of the restart and as the half continued, Mayo extended their lead by 2-2. With both sides making numerous substitutions, Mayo could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal but they continued to drive forward as they terrorised the Leitrim defencem adding two further goals from Kate Grogan and Lisa Needham to complete an emphatic win that their second half showing deserved.