A pulsating Connacht minor football championship contest between Mayo and Roscommon went the way of the Green and Red in Castlebar yesterday evening. Photo: David Farrell

Late point secures Mayo a place in provincial decider

Mayo secured their place in this year's Connacht MFC final with a 2-13 to 2-12 victory over Roscommon at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park yesterday evening.

It took a point from Tom Lydon deep into injury to secure the victory after a pulsating semi-final at the Castlebar venue.

This contest was in marked contrast to the opening game of the round robin series, when Mayo cruised a 12-point victory over the same opposition.

In the six weeks since, however, Roscommon regrouped to finish third in the group behind Galway and Mayo, and their level of improvement was apparent throughout this knockout game.

The Rossies were ahead at half-time by the most slender of margins, 1-5 to 0-7, the goal coming from the towering Ruairi Kilcline on 19 minutes.

Mayo, who had enjoyed a good start, responded well to the concession of the goal and might have found the net themselves, Roscommon goalkeeper Aaron Cox doing well to parry an effort by Darragh Beirne.

Early second-half points by Seán McDonnell and Jamie Betts pushed Roscommon further ahead but then Mayo hit a purple patch, scoring two goals and a point without reply.

Tom Lydon split the posts from play before Shane Cunningham placed Beirne for Mayo's opening goal. Cunningham was again involved in the second goal, as Roscommon failed to clear and he pounced to set up Josh Carey for the finish.

Far from deflated, Roscommon responded with a scoring burst of their own that included a goal by Eoghan Carthy, and the sides were level with six minutes remaining.

Lydon kicked two points for Mayo but Liam Naughten and McDonnell responded in kind, and it looked like extra time would be needed to decide the outcome.

However, Tom Lydon had other ideas and his late point left Mayo ecstatic and Roscommon crestfallen when referee Ronan Hynes blew the final whistle.

Mayo: C. Meaney; J. Lavelle, S. O'Reilly, Y. Coghill; J. Clarke, R. Mortimer, F. O'Reilly; T. Egan, S. Cunningham; C. Lynch (0-1), T. Lydon (0-7), D. Neary; D. Beirne (1-1), J. Carey (1-3), S. Guilfoyle.

Subs used: E. McGreal, G. Forry (0-1), S. Walsh, T. Tuffy, R. Gibbons.

Roscommon: A. Cox; C. Murray, N. Berzins, R. Hanley (0-1); C. Morris, E. Carthy (1-1), R. Henry; J. Betts (0-1), D. Higgins; L. Taylor, E. Murray, J. McGuinness; S. McDonnell (0-6), R. Kilcline (1-1), J. Curran (0-1).

Subs used: R. Coyle, L. Naughten (0-1), S. Tighe.

Referee: R. Hynes (Sligo).