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Roscommon leave it behind as tired Mayo get second chance

Story by John Melvin

Sunday, 30th July, 2017 6:25pm

Roscommon leave it behind as tired Mayo get second chance

Fintan Cregg and Andy Moran after the match.

NOT many saw this draw coming down the line as Mayo were stunned by a tenacious Roscommon side who came with seconds of producing one of the biggest shocks of the championship in Croke Park.

Kerry won’t know for another week who they will be facing in the semi-final after they dispatched Galway but not with the commanding performance we expect from the Kingdom.

Mayo and Roscommon's replay has been fixed for bank holiday Monday in Croke Park (time to be confirmed).

Mayo had chances to win the game in seven minutes of injury-time but they strayed perilously close to the edge as Roscommon’s lack of experience at times was to prove costly, but they balanced that with some ferocious tackling at times.

However, it took an injury-time free from 50 yards from Donie Smith to earn a draw for Roscommon, Patrick Durcan having shot Mayo into the lead two minutes from the end of normal time but Mayo just couldn’t put the Rossies away.

In a tense and gripping seven minutes of injury-time it really could have gone either way and while a draw may have been the fairest result, this is one Kevin McStay will feel slipped from his grasp but there were enough encouraging signs to suggest Roscommon have arrived.

Mayo will hope to sort out a few problems ahead of the replay but they struggled at times to handle the intensity Roscommon brought to this game. The problem for Mayo is those extra games that are now mounting up and a fresher looking Roscommon side will feel they are not out of the 2017 championship, not by a long shot.

Mayo were hit by an early Roscommon blitz, with goals from Fintan Cregg and Ciaran Murtagh putting the Connaught champions firmly in the driving seat, but a brilliant goal from Lee Keegan, who scored 1-3 in the first half, finally sparked Mayo to life on 12 minutes.

It took until the 31st minute for Mayo to get their nose in front when Cillian O’Connor landed a free but Roscommon will look back on some horrible misses in that first half as their lack of experience at headquarters began to show.

Roscommon manger Kevin McStay concentrated on Mayo’s troubled full-back line and that high ball worked in the early stages but Mayo’s defence was soon on top, with Ger Cafferkey finally putting the shackles on Diarmuid Murtagh as Roscommon were held scoreless for 23 minutes after that early blitz of 2-2 after just 11 minutes.

By the break, Mayo had hit the front to lead by two - 1-8 to 2-3 - Jason Doherty, Colm Boyle and Andy Moran all hitting the target.

Final score: Mayo 1-12, Roscommon 2-9

Mayo: D. Clarke, B. Harrison, G. Cafferkey, K. Higgins, L. Keegan (1-3), C. Barrett, P. Durcan (0-2), C. Boyle (0-1), S. O’Shea, K. McLoughlin, A. O’Shea, D. O’Connor, J. Doherty (0-1), C. O’Connor (0-3, 2f), A. Moran (0-2).

Subs used: D. Vaughan for Boyle (55), T. Parsons for S.O’Shea (60), C. Loftus for A. Moran (62), D. Drake for Doherty (71).

Roscommon: C. Lavin, S. McDermott, J. McManus, D. Murray, N. McInerney, S. Mullooly, B. Stack, F. Cregg (1-1), E. Smith (0-1), T. O’Rourke, C. Connolly, C. Devaney (0-1), D. Murtagh (1-4, 3f ), D. Murtagh, N. Kilroy.

Subs used: D. Smith (0-2, 1f) for Connolly (55), C. Compton for D. Murtagh (62), R. Stacks for C. Devaney (69).

Referee: J. McQuillan (Cavan).

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