Conor O'Shea celebrates his goal against Tipperary. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo make it to All-Ireland final after less than impressive display

A GOAL in either half helped Mayo get past Tipperary in Croke Park in today's All-Ireland senior football championship final, the westerners winning on a scoreline of 2-13 to 0-14.

Consistent with their displays thus far in the championship, Mayo only played in fits and starts as they struggled to shake off the challenge of the beaten Munster finalists, who were playing a first All-Ireland semi-final in 81 years.

Mayo made one change to the starting 15, deploying Barry Moran to the defence in place of Kevin Keane in an attempt to cover the threat of Conor Sweeney and Michael Quinlivan, with Lee Keegan taking on a man-to-man marking job on the latter.

It was Tipperary who started better and despite losing Robbie Kiely to a harsh looking black card, they powered into a 0-6 to 0-3 lead by the 25-minute mark. However, Mayo enjoyed their best period over the remainder of the first half, scoring 1-7 to just one point in reply.

The goal resulted following a lung-busting run by Keith Higgins from deep. After a quick one-two with Aidan O'Shea, Higgins played in Jason Doherty and the Burrishoole man found the Tipperary net to level the game at 1-3 to 0-6.

The points flowed thereafter from Diarmuid O'Connor, Kevin McLoughlin, Lee Keegan, Aidan O'Shea and Andy Moran (three), many of them quite delightful.

Tipperary, whose only reply during that blitz was a Conor Sweeney point, were far from a beaten docket, however, and they took the game to Mayo on the resumption. Trailing 1-10 to 0-7 at the start of the second half, they had reduced that to just two points by the 57th minute, Michael Quinlivan punishing Mayo's indiscipline with deadly accuracy from the placed ball. It took a great save from David Clarke to deny Tipperary a goal during this period of dominance too.

When Mayo needed something, up stepped Colm Boyle to land a fantastic point, and better was to follow when substitutes Conor O'Shea and Evan Regan combined for a second goal. This was rather fortuitous, however, as Regan slipped and scuffed a shot for a point but the ball slid into O'Shea's path, and he finished superbly past Evan Comerford.

Credit to Tipperary, they never wilted, even when Bill Maher was shown a straight red card five minutes from the end. However, they were never able to get in for the goal that they needed and in the end Mayo won by five, 2-13 to 0-14.

Mayo will play either Dublin or Kerry in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park on Sunday, September 18.