Mayo's lot on the big day is defeat once more
We won't mention the 'C' word here but something always seems to go awry for Mayo in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day. This latest defeat was on a scoreline of 0-15 to 2-14 against an irrepressible Tyrone at headquarters this evening.
There can be no arguing against Tyrone as deserving winners; they were composed, after a slightly shaky start, had a game plan that they executed excellently, and took their chances when they were presented.
Mayo, by contrast, were wasteful. Two half-decent goal chances in the first half went unconverted but, worse, a penalty early in the second half, which would have put them back into a slender lead had it found the net, was struck against the outside of the post before it careered wide.
After Tyrone's first goal, scored by substitute Cathal McShane on 46 minutes to put them into a 1-10 to 0-9 lead, Mayo could have been level had they shown a bit more composure in front of the posts.
Nothing would come easy for Mayo on the day, however. Tyrone saw to that with ferocious tackling, with no Mayo man given a split second to dwell on the ball.
Mayo were boosted before throw-in by the announcement that Oisin Mullen was available to start. He took the place of Enda Hession in the half-back line.
The Connacht champions got off to a good start, with Tyrone, by contrast, a bit nervy. Tommy Conroy had the ball over the ball after just 15 seconds and when the resultant kick-out didn't go the requisite distance, they forced a 45' that Robbie Hennelly sent narrowly wide.
A Ryan O'Donoghue free on five minutes had Mayo two to the good but Tyrone finally settled and a free from Niall Morgan and a wonderful Padraig Hampsey score had it a tied game on eight minutes before the Ulster champions plundered the lead for the first time when Darren McCurry dissected the posts with a free.
Mayo engineered a good goal chance but efforts by Bryan Walsh and Conor Loftus were both blocked, the latter's by the flying Niall Sludden.
It was tit for tat for a while thereafter as O'Donoghue (two, one free), McCurry, Kieran McGeary, and Paddy Durcan all found the range, leaving it level at 0-5 apiece on 21 minutes.
Another Mayo goal chance went a-begging when Aidan O'Shea, found wonderfully by O'Donoghue, saw his shot blocked by Ronan McNamee.
That preceeded a purple patch for the Red Hand county, who landed three points in a row through Sludden, Mattie Donnelly and Morgan (45'), and it could had been worse but for Robbie Hennelly's great save to deny Darren McCurry with a goal-bound effort.
Ryan O'Donoghue stopped the malaise with a badly-needed free to narrow the gap to two. McCurry responded in kind before Stephen Coen scored Mayo's best point of the half.
Sludden and O'Donoghue (free) rounded out the first-half scoring, leaving it 0-10 to 0-8 in Tyrone's favour after a frenetic period of football.
And then came the second half! Tommy Conroy might have goaled after being put through but shot wide. Then referee Joe McQuillan awarded a penalty when Frank Burns infringed, presenting O'Donoghue with a chance to put Mayo back into the lead. But after a jinking run-up, the corner forward hit the ball high but wide of Morgan's upright, the ball clipping the outside of the woodwork on the way out.
A free by Robbie Hennelly had Mayo back to within a point (0-9 to 0-10) but substitute Cathal McShane quickly made his presence felt when he got a deft touch on Conor Meyler's lofted delivery to find the back of the net and give his team a 1-10 to 0-9 advantage.
O'Donoghue's free left just three points in it and Mayo had three decent chances either side of the water break to pull level but failed to convert any. Kevin McLoughlin finally found the range to make it a two-point game before Tyrone took a stanglehold on proceedings with a second goal, this one scored by Darren McCurry after Conor McKenna's pass following Conn Kilpatrick's excellent fetch in midfield.
With a 2-10 to 0-11 lead, Tyrone controlled proceedings until the end, sharing eight points with their opponents, Peter Harte (mark), Darragh Canavan, man of the match McCurry and Morgan (free) with their scores.
Lee Keegan, Conroy and O'Donoghue (two frees) got Mayo's points but there was no way through for the goals they needed and Mayo's lot was defeat once more, their misery compounded by a late red card for midfielder Matthew Ruane.
Mayo: Robbie Hennelly (0-1f); Padraig O'Hora, Lee Keegan (0-1), Michael Plunkett; Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen (0-1), Oisin Mullen; Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus; Diarmuid O'Connor; Aidan O'Shea, Bryan Walsh; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Tommy Conroy (0-2), Ryan O'Donoghue (0-8, 7f).
Subs used: Enda Hession, Jordan Flynn, Darren Coen, Aidan Orme, James Carr.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan (0-3, 2f, 1 45'); Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey (0-1); Frank Burns, Peter Harte (0-1m), Kieran McGeary (0-1); Brian Kennedy, Conn Kilpatrick; Conor Meyler, Michael O'Neill, Niall Sludden (0-2); Darren McCurry (1-4, 2f), Matthew Donnelly (0-1), Conor McKenna.
Subs used: Cathal McShane (1-0), Darragh Canavan (0-1), Ben McDonnell, Tiarnan McCann.
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).