GAA: Mayo march on with 2-14 to 0-13 win over Clare
Last Updated: 08/07/17 9:42pm
A first ever championship meeting between these sides was turned in Mayo's favour with a couple of goals from the O'Connor brothers, Cillian and Diarmuid, which set them on their way to a 2-14 to 0-13 victory.
But at half-time, it seemed that Clare were poised for a famous win when they led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval having played against the stiff breeze.
However, Mayo's greater experience was evident in the way they dealt with the challenge in front of a crowd of 11,576 at Cusack Park.
Mayo never panicked, even when they trailed by double scores approaching half-time, and they had the composure after the restart to take control and fashion a deserved win to break Clare's brave challenge.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford will believe that there is plenty of room for improvement as they await the draw on Monday morning to see who their next opponents will be in a fortnight's time.
Andy Moran, one of two late changes for Mayo, needed just 15 seconds to shoot the opening score but it was all Clare after that in the opening half with Gary Brennan, Martin McMahon and Cathal O'Connor superb as they hit six points in a row.
They would have been further ahead had Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke, making his 100th appearance for the county, not produced a fine save to deny Jamie Malone after 15 minutes.
Malone pointed from the right shortly after and Keelan Sexton landed a '45 to lead by 0-6 to 0-1 after 20 minutes.
Mayo, with Aidan O'Shea winning some good ball, hit back and struck for points from Kevin McLoughlin, Diarmuid O'Connor and Lee Keegan.
However, Clare again responded in style with Sean Collins finishing off a good move with a point and Sexton made it 0-8 to 0-4 approaching the break with another fine shot.
Moran gave the huge travelling support some hope when he kicked two points in the closing stages of the opening half to leave it 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval.
But Mayo turned the game on its head after the restart. Kevin McLoughlin pointed just 21 seconds after the restart before Stephen Rochford's men struck for two goals in a three-minute spell from the O'Connor brothers.
Conor Loftus intercepted a free from goalkeeper Joe Hayes before setting up Cillian O'Connor for a goal after 42 minutes.
Then a good passing movement started by corner-back Chris Barrett was blasted to the net by Diarmuid O'Connor to make it 2-7 to 0-8.
David Tubridy pulled back a free for Clare but they struggled to cut the gap as Mayo controlled most areas of the field and Cillian O'Connor kept putting further distance between them with frees as Mayo advanced to the next round and Clare's 2017 championship campaign came to an end after a highly entertaining contest.
Clare: Joe Hayes; D Ryan, K Hartnett, G Kelly; M McMahon, J Malone (0-1), C O'Dea; G Brennan (0-1), C O'Connor; P Lillis, E Cleary (0-3, 0-2f), C Russell; D Tubridy (0-4, 0-4f), K Sexton (0-2, 0-1 '45), S Collins (0-1);
Subs: E Collins for Russell (41 mins BC), John Hayes for O'Connor (41 mins), G O'Brien (0-1) for O'Dea (52 mins), S Malone for Lillis (65 mins), D Nagle for Sexton (76 mins BC).
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, G Cafferkey, C Barrett; L Keegan (0-1), C Boyle, K Higgins (0-1); A O'Shea (0-1), S O'Shea; D O'Connor (1-1), D Vaughan, K McLoughlin (0-2); C Loftus, C O'Connor (1-5, 0-5f), A Moran (0-3).
Subs: S Coen for Vaughan (4 mins BC), E Regan for Loftus (48 mins), J Doherty for Moran (55 mins), T Parsons for S O'Shea (58 mins), F Boland for D O'Connor (65 mins), A Dillon for A O'Shea (67 mins).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)