Mayo players celebrate after the Nicky Rackard Cup final victory Tyrone at Croke Park this afternoon. Photo: Harry Murphy / Sportsfile

Mayo win Nicky Rackard Cup after powerful display

Mayo won the All-Ireland Nicky Rackard Cup with a richly deserved 2-27 to 1-14 victory over Tyrone in the final at Croke Park this afternoon, writes Aiden Henry.

It was a superb performance from Derek Walsh’s charges. From the opening minute to the final whistle, they played with great confidence and skill, and they simply overpowered opponents Tyrone.

Mayo started like an express train. Shane Boland pointed two frees in opening two minutes before Keith Higgins fired over a magnificent point from play. Although Tyrone replied with a pointed free from Damien Casey, Mayo struck for a goal in the fourth minute when Sean Regan intercepted a short pass before firing home a cracking goal.

While Tyrone hit back with two points of their, Mayo continued to dominate and increased their lead with further points from Boland, Adrian Phillips and Higgins (two) to leave them leading by 1-7 to 0-4 at the first water break.

Just after that water break Mayo increased their lead with a fine point from Boland before they conceded a penalty after full-back Michael Morley pulled back Tyrone’s C.J. McGouty, for which the Mayo man was sent to the sin bin. However Mayo’s goalkeeper Bobby Douglas came to the rescue by pulling off a truly magnificent save from Casey’s powerful penalty strike.

Although a player down, Mayo didn’t let up and outscored their opponents by seven points to one for the remainder of the half, with Cathal Freeman (two), Adrian Phillips (two), Regan, Higgins and Cormac Phillips all registering scores to leave them in a very comfortable position at the interval, 1-15 to 0-5.

There was no let-up from Mayo after the resumption. After early points were exchanged, the Ulster side were thrown a lifeline in the 41st minute when Conor Grogan got through for a goal. However, within two minutes it was cancelled out at the other end of the field when Cathal Freeman cut inside the Tyrone defence before crashing the ball to the net.

From that moment onwards it was nearly all one-way traffic as Mayo dominated in every sector. They went on to add a further 10 points, with Sean Kenny, Keith Higgins, Freeman, Sean Regan, Shane Boland, Brian Morley (two) and Oisin Greally all raising white flags.

In the end it was a much-deserved victory for Mayo, who can now look to playing in the higher grade next year with plenty of confidence.

Mayo: B. Douglas, S. Coyne, M. Morley, C. Daly, G. Nolan, D. Kenny, C. Henry, J. Cassidy, S. Kenny (0-1), C. Phillips (0-1), C. Freeman (1-4), S. Boland (0-5), K. Higgins (0-7), A. Phillips (0-3), S. Regan (1-2). Subs used: B. Hunt, P. McCrann, J. Coyne (0-1), B. Morley (0-2), O. Greally (0-1).

Tyrone: C. McElhatton, D. Rafferty, S. McKernan, C. McNally, J. Kerr, C. Kearns (0-3), L. Devlin, C. Lagan, M. Little, C. Grogan (1-0), CJ McGourty, D. Casey (0-9), R. Weir, C. Ferguson, B. McGurk (0-1). Subs used: T. Morgan (0-1), D. Begley, P. McHugh, S. Óg Grogan, S. Donaghy.

*See Tuesday's print edition for comprehensive match coverage