Cillian O'Connor on his way to scoring Mayo's fifth goal, and his fourth, against Tipperary this afternoon. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Mayo set up an All-Ireland showdown with Dublin

A phenomenal first-half performance saw Mayo lay down a marker as they qualified for the 2020 All-Ireland senior football championship final with a comprehensive victory over Tipperary this afternoon. It finished Mayo 5-20, Tipperary 3-13.

In a mist-shrouded Croke Park, Dublin, Mayo recovered from a shaky start in which they coughed up a couple of goal chances to completely turn the tide and rattle in four goals and 12 points – and not one wide – in the first half as Tipperary were hit with the full force of the Connaught champions.

Cillian O'Connor was Tipp's main tormentor, scoring three goals and six points (five frees) in that first half as well delivering the 45' from which his brother Diarmuid scored Mayo's fourth goal in the one minute of added time played.

Tipp were reeling and the break arrived just in time for them, but the contest might have taken on a completely different hue had Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney availed of glorious goal chances inside the opening nine minutes. Goalkeeper David Clarke came to Mayo's rescue on both occasions.

Sweeney's miss from the clearer of the two chances was compounded moments later when Mayo goaled at the other end, Cillian O'Connor palming the ball to the net after intricate set-up play from his full-forward line colleagues Aidan O'Shea and Tommy Conroy.

Tipp hit back swiftly with a goal of their own courtesy of Brian Fox, a low shot that crept past Clarke and into the net despite the best efforts of Diarmuid O'Connor to keep it out.

That left it 1-2 to 1-1 in Mayo's favour after 10 minutes but from there until half-time Tipp could only get forward sporadically as the Connaught champions piled on the scores, Cillian O'Connor's frees buttressed by points from Paddy Durcan, Matty Ruane, Kevin McLoughlin, Tommy Conroy, Aidan O'Shea and Diarmuid O'Connor.

At half-time Mayo were well in command, leading 4-12 to 1-5.

The second half wasn't nearly as impressive from a Mayo point of view as they allowed the Munster champions in for a number of goal chances. Or, on occasion, they didn't allow them in, and for his part in taking down Quinlivan on his way towards goal, Lee Keegan was shown a black card just two minutes into the new half. Eoghan McLaughlin similarly checked an opponent going through, without sanction this time, but from frees following both transgressions Conor Sweeney split the posts.

Cillian O'Connor, Tommy Conroy and Conor Loftus were on target inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half, and Mayo killed the game with their fifth goal, and Cillian O'Connor's fourth, on the 45-minute mark.

That left it 5-15 to 1-7 but from there until the end Tipp outscored Mayo by 2-6 to 0-5, Sweeney popping over frees regularly and firing in a fabulous late goal, while Kevin Fahey split the posts and substitute Paudie Feehan slipped a shot underneath Clarke and into the net as well.

For Mayo, who went 14 minutes without a score either side of the second-half water break, the scoring was rounded off by Cillian O'Connor (two, one free), his replacement Darren Coen (two), and Tommy Conroy, who ended the scoreless period with an excellent effort from distance.

Mayo's accuracy was something to note – they didn't kick a wide until the 59th minute of the game – but the worrying aspect from manager James Horan's point of view was the number of goal chances they yielded against the strong-running Tipp team.

On the other hand, they scored 5-20, a tally that will win a huge number of games. It's hard to see them getting in for that number of scores against Dublin but at least they're in the final and in with a chance of winning a first All-Ireland since 1951. The decider will be played on the evening of Saturday, December 19.

The Mayo team was: David Clarke; Oisín Mullin, Chris Barrett, Lee Keegan; Patrick Durcan (0-1), Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin; Conor Loftus (0-1), Matthew Ruane (0-1); Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Ryan O'Donoghue, Diarmuid O’Connor (1-1); Tommy Conroy (0-3), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Cillian O’Connor (4-9). Subs used were: Jordan Flynn, Padraig O'Hora, Michael Plunkett, Tom Parsons and Darren Coen (0-2).

The Tipperary starting 15 was: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, Jimmy Feehan, Colm O’Shaughnessy; Bill Maher, Kevin Fahey (0-1), Robbie Kiely; Steven O’Brien (0-1), Liam Casey; Colin O’Riordan (0-2), Michael Quinlivan, Conal Kennedy; Brian Fox (1-0), Conor Sweeney (1-9), Colman Kennedy. The subs used were: Emmet Moloney, Philip Austin, Paudie Feehan (1-0), Dáire Brennan and Liam Boland.