How time away seems to have served Mayo well. A devastating first 35 minutes in Tuam Stadium full of vigour and creativity was as good as they have produced at any stage in recent years, flooring a Galway team that appeared to have raised the white flag long before referee Maurice Deegan blew for half-time.
n any assessment of what Mayo did, that has to be factored in. But to lead by 16 points at the break in an Allianz Division One match of this standard against one of the early season pacesetters was quite some statement from Mayo who had struggled in the opening five games of the league before the suspension and were in the relegation zone with just three points.
They won just about every battle and squeezed the Galway kick-out so hard that with was with trepidation that manager Padraic Joyce must have watched each one being despatched in that first half
Inevitably, they couldn’t keep their foot to the floor at that pace for the second half and Galway did get some bite into their game.
But it was chastening experience for the home side irrespective of where their preparations were and was made worse by the sight of Damien Comer, drafted into the team late, pulling up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury after only three minutes.
Afterwards, Joyce described the first half as the most embarrassing he has seen in his involvement with Galway football, taking full responsibility as manager.
Mayo debutant Mark Moran was among their brightest, causing trouble from centre-forward until Gary O’Donnell, a replacement for the injured Johnny Duane, eventually got to grips with him.
At full-forward Aidan O’Shea was a destructive force, setting up the first two goals and adding three points himself while the driving runs of Oisin Mullin, Paddy Durcan and Eoghan McLoughlin from the back was just too much for Galway to handle.
By the break goals from Moran and Durcan had them 2-17 to 0-7 and their long run in the top flight, 23 years, has been preserved for at least another week.
Galway, chiefly through Paul Conroy, Rob Finnerty and Cillian McDaid did regain some ground but a third Mayo goal from Conor Loftus, a lively presence around the middle, kept Mayo’s distance.
Mayo: C O’Connor 0-10 (8fs), P Durcan, M Moran C Loftus (0-1m) all 1-2 each A O’Shea, T Conroy 0-3 each, S Coen 0-1 (m)
Galway: R Finnerty 0-7 (6fs) P Conroy 0-3, L Silke 0-2, M Barrett, G O’Donnell, C McDaid, A Varley, C D’Arcy all 0-1 each.
Mayo – D Clarke; O Mullin, D McBrien, L Keegan; P Durcan, S Coen, E McLoughlin; M Ruane, C Loftus; F McDonagh, M Moran, D O’Connor; T Conroy, A O’Shea, C O’Connor. Subs: B Walsh for McDonagh (45), P O’Hora for McBrien (50), R O’Donoghue for D O’Connor (56), D Coen for C O’Connor (56), J Flynn for Ruane (66)
Galway – C Gleeson; C Campbell, S A O’Ceallaigh, J Heaney; L Silke, J Duane, C McDaid; C D’Arcy, D Comer; E Brannigan, J Maher, J Leonard; R Finnerty, P Conroy, I Burke; Subs: M Daly for Comer inj (3), G O’Donnell for Duane (9), A Varley for Brannigan (30), T Flynn for Maher (h-t), M Barrett for D’Arcy (57).
Referee – M Deegan (Laois)