Boland in inspirational form as Mayo reach Christy Ring Cup final
Shane Boland turned in a stunning performance at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park this afternoon, scoring 12 points to help Mayo reach the final of the Christy Ring Cup at the expense of Derry with a 2-23 to 2-18 victory, writes John Melvin.
They will now meet Kildare in the final next week, and it is no more than Mayo deserve – although for a brief moment it looked as if Derry just might snatch a draw which would see them reach the final instead.
Just a point separated the sides as injury time approached but Mayo held firm, none more so than Boland and Joe Mooney whose late points in injury time sealed the deal.
Mayo were good value for their four-point interval lead (1-12 to 1-8) having led at one stage by six, Mooney finding the net with an excellent goal on 15 minutes.
But Derry also struck for a goal of their own from John Mullan followed by a point from Gerald Bradley to make it a one point game but it was Mayo who finished the half the stronger, Eoin Delaney, Shane Boland (free) and Mooney nailing three on the bounce.
A Kenny Feeney goal 15 minutes into the second half seemed to have settled the argument as Mayo took a commanding 2-19 to 1-17 lead but three minutes from the end of normal time Odhran McKeever struck for a Derry goal, and when Mullan followed with a point the margin was down to one – 2-19 to 2-18.
However, Mayo kept their nerve, a brilliant point from Mooney followed by a superb effort from Boland followed by a free from the same player putting the home side back in control – but it took two brilliant saves from goalkeeper Bobby Douglas to ensure their place in the final, in which they will face Kildare.
Mayo scorers: Shane Boland 0-12 (8f), Joe Mooney 1-3, Kenney Feeney 1-1, Joseph McManus 0-2, David Kenny, Keith Higgins, Daniel Huane, Sean Keney (free) 0-1 each.
Derry scorers: John Mullan 1-3, Cormack O’Doherty 0-6f, Richie McKeever 1-2, Darragh Gilligan, Daragh Foley 0-2 each, Richie Mullan, Paddy Kelly, Ger Bradley 0-1 each.
*See Tuesday's print edition for a full match report