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Cillian the saviour as Mayo pip Rebels in Limerick thriller

Story by John Melvin

Saturday, 22nd July, 2017 8:46pm

Cillian the saviour as Mayo pip Rebels in Limerick thriller

Man-of-the-match Cillian O'Connor in action against Cork's Kevin Crowley. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo ............ 0-27

Cork ............. 2-20

(After extra time)

MAYO are through to the All-Ireland quarterfinals, but just by the skin of their teeth, after a thrilling encounter at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick where extra-time was needed to decide the issue.

A pointed free from Cork substitute Luke Connolly gave Cork the lifeline deep into injury-time in normal time as it finished 2-15 to 0-21, Cork scoring two goals in that second half. 

Mayo still looked on course to win when they led by three points but Connolly also struck for a cracking goal to tie the game at 2-14 to 0-20 with six minutes remaining.

Patrick Durcan looked to have scored the winner for Mayo deep in injury-time but Cork, who just never gave up the fight, came back with that levelling point all of seven minutes into injury time.

At the end of the first 10 minutes of extra-time Cork lead by a point (2-19 to 0-24), but it was in the second period of extra time that Mayo dug it out with Cillian O’Connor nailing a free and also added a 45 as Mayo led by two, Cork coming back to within one and spurning at least two chances of sending this game to a replay.

Mayo found it very difficult to break down the Cork defensive wall in the first half but they  finished the half with a flourish, three rapid points, two from Cillian O’Connor and one from Jason Doherty putting them 0-10 to 0-7 ahead at the break.

One of O’Connor’s point came at the cost of  black card for Cork’s Jamie O’Sullivan for an off-the-ball tackle on Aidan O’Shea. 

Donnacha O’Connor was the go-to man for Cork in that first half as he chipped in with four points but it was Mayo’s tackling, particularly in defence, which forced a number of Cork turnovers as Mayo fell behind by -04 to 0-1 after 14 minutes.

Lee Keegan, Tom Parsons and Aidan O’Shea each hit the target in that first half.

In the end, Mayo just about got there and will face Roscommon in next Sunday's quarter-final at Croke Park. 

But it was agonizing for fans of the green and red watching in the stadium and on television screens across the country and abroad.

Mayo: D Clarke; G Cafferkey, B Harrison, C Barrett; L Keegan (0-01), K Higgins (0-01), C Boyle; S O’Shea, T Parsons (0-01); K McLoughlin, A O’Shea (0-03), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-01); J Doherty (0-01), C O’Connor (0-11, 0-04 frees, 0-01 ‘45), A Moran (0-04).

Subs: P Durcan (0-02) for Barrett (44 mins), S Coen for S O’Shea (49 mins), D Vaughan for Boyle (53 mins), D Drake for Keegan (58 mins, black card), C Loftus (0-02) for Moran (63 mins), C Crowe for Cafferkey (80 mins), E Regan for McLoughlin (81 mins), A Dillon for Diarmuid O’Connor (87 mins).

Cork: R Price; J Loughrey, M Shields, J O’Sullivan; T Clancy (0-01), E Cadogan, C O’Driscoll; A Walsh, I Maguire; M Collins, S Powter (1-00), J O’Rourke (0-03); B O’Driscoll (0-01), P Kerrigan (0-03), Donncha O’Connor (0-06, 0-04 frees).

Subs: K Crowley for Loughrey (19 mins), S Cronin for O’Sullivan (35 mins, black card), R Deane for Walsh (37 mins), C O’Neill (0-03, 0-01 free) for Shields (46 mins), L Connolly (1-01, 0-01 free) for B O’Driscoll (53 mins), M Hurley (0-02) for Donnacha O’Connor (62 mins), S White for C O’Driscoll (71 mins), A O’Connor for Maguire (71 mins), K O’Driscoll for O’Rourke (71 mins), C Dorman for Crowley (75 mins), C O’Driscoll for Powter (80 mins).

Ref: C. Branagan (Down)

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