Aidan O'Shea celebrates after scoring a late goal against Westmeath. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo book date with Tyrone despite poor performance

MAYO let a 12-point lead shrink to three at one stage as Westmeath rallied in the second half of a disappointing round four qualifier at Croke Park this evening.

While the 3-15 to 1-14 win seals a place in the All-Ireland quarterfinal against Tyrone next Saturday at 4 p.m., Mayo manager Stephen Rochford will have to question why his charges failed to put Westmeath away in a game Mayo were so dominant in, particularly in the first half.

In the end it took a goal in the 73rd minute from Aidan O’Shea to put a better gloss on Mayo’s victory, but the seven-point margin can’t hide the fact that a similar performance would see them crash to Tyrone.

In fairness to Mayo, they hit the woodwork twice and were certainly not helped by some baffling refereeing decisions by Rory Hickey.

That said, they failed to build on their interval lead of 2-10 to 1-5 as Westmeath came storming back into the game, their top man, John Heslin, causing Mayo all sorts of problems.

Mayo’s opening goal on 23 minutes was created by the excellent work of Donal Vaughan, who put Jason Doherty through for a cracking finish.

Their second goal shortly afterwards came from the penalty spot after the Westmeath goalkeeper was adjudged to have over-carried the ball in the square and Cillian O’Connor duly dispatched the spot-kick to the roof of the net as Mayo led by 2-9 to 0-4 after 29 minutes.

But Mayo were then hit on the break as wing-back James Dolan drilled low to the net from 25 yards and they were fortunate not to concede a second when a stray pass from Kevin McLoughlin went to Kieran Martin, who should have found the net.

In game that struggled to come to life, Westmeath kept plugging away and had it down to a three-point game before Mayo, who once again got a good return from their bench players, notably Conor O’Shea, Barry Moran and Chris Barrett, finally saw it out, but it took that goal from the Breaffy man to finally seal the deal.

A win is a win, but Mayo’s failure to close out a limited Westmeath team is a worry ahead of their meeting with the Ulster champions.

Mayo: D. Clarke, B. Harrison, K. Keane, K. Higgins (0-1), L. Keegan, C. Boyle, P. Durcan (0-1), S. O'Shea, D. Vaughan (0-1), K. McLoughlin (0-1), A. O'Shea (1-0), J. Doherty (1-1), E. Regan (0-3), A. Moran (0-2), C. O’Connor (1-6). Subs used: B. Moran for Boyle (52), A. Dillon for Regan (54), C. O’Shea for Doherty (58), A. Freeman for A. Moran (65), C. Barrett for Keegan (67), T. Parsons for S. O’Shea (70).

Westmeath: D. Quinn, K. McGuire, F. Boyle (0-1), K. Daly J. Gonoud, D. Lynch J. Dolan (1-1), D. Daly, A. Stone, J. Egan, P. Sharry, K. Martin (0-2), C. McCormack, J. Heslin (0-10), J. Connellan. Subs used: D. Corroon for Stone (21), D. Bryan for Quinn (h-t), S. Corcoran for J. Egan (44), D. McNicholas for J. Connellan (53), D. Conway for McCormack (65).