Mayo reach the magic six as Rossies fade in second half

Mayo ........... 0-15

Roscommon ...0-9

By John Melvin

SIX was the magic number at a bitterly cold Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar which attracted just under 10,000 supporters as Mayo bagged their third win to secure their Division One status.

The victory puts Mayo in a strong position with two games remaining, Derry at home on St. Patrick’s day and their final game away to Monaghan.

Roscommon, on the other hand, are now in relegation trouble but they looked like a team in the first half that was equipped to go the distance, coming back from being behind by four points on two occasions to trail by just a point at the break- 0-7 to 0-6 - Diarmuid Murtagh having a huge influence in that first half.

However, Mayo took control of this game in the opening 20 minutes of the second half when they hit seven points without reply, the Mayo half-back line having a share in those points as Roscommon faded out of the game their first point of that second half not arriving until 58th minute.

Speed merchant Eoghan McLaughlin was finding avenues that were blocked in the first half now suddenly opening 0p while Ryan O’Donoghue, Fergal Boland, Stephen Coen, Rory Brickenden, Sam Callinan, Donnacha McHugh and Enda Hession were among the other players who stepped forward.

Mayo’s more direct style of football reaped the rewards and was in total contrast to what unfolded in Omagh where they crashed to Tyrone.

Mayo started the game on the front foot, with two points on the board inside the opening four minutes.

Fergal Boland and the wandering Colm Reape both picking off excellent scores from distance and when Mayo kicked four clear by the 19th minute (0-6 to 0-2), it did look like the home side were about to atone for the sins committed in Tyrone.

However, there were a lot of twist and turns in that opening half with Diarmuid Murtagh stepping up for Roscommon with three exceptional points from play, his first, which opened Roscommon’s account, possibly the point of the match.

If Murtagh was the main man for Roscommon, Ryan O’Donoghue was in fine form for Mayo with two points from play plus a free bring his first half contribution to three points, the Belmullet man adding another three in the second half.

However, when it came to goals it was Roscommon who posed the biggest threat, Colm Reape producing a superb save when he was caught outfield, the Knockmore man getting back just in time to prevent Enda Smith from finding the empty net.

The resultant ’45 was guided straight between the post by Roscommon goalkeeper Conor Carroll to leave Roscommon trailing by just a point at the break, 0-6 to 0-7.

As he had done in the first half, Fergal Boland had an early point for Mayo before O’Donoghue nailing back-to-back frees.

Hession and McHugh were also in point-scoring form while and O’Donoghue put the game to bed (0-14 to 0-6) with a fine point from play with 15 minutes still remaining.

Mayo: Colm Reape (0-1), Jack Coyne, Rory Brickenden, Sam Callinan, Donnacha McHugh (0-2), Stephen Coen (0-1) Enda Hession (0-1, mark), Jack Carney, Eoghan McLoughlin, Bob Tuohy, Fergal Boland (0-2) Jordan, Flynn, Aiden O’Shea (0-1), Paul Towey, Ryan O’Donoghue (0-6, 3f).

Subs used: D. McHale for Tuohy, T. Conroy for Towey, M. Ruane for Flynn, C O'Connor (0-1 for A. O Shea, C. Loftus for McLaughlin (inj)

Roscommon: Conor Carroll (0-1, ’45). David Murray. Brian Stack, Niall Higgins, Tadgh O’Rourke, Eoin McCormack, Dylan Ruan. Enda Smith (0-1), Shane Cunnane, Robbie Dolan, Diarmuid Murtagh (0-3), Ruaidhrí Fallon, Donie Smith (0-1), Daire Cregg (0-1), James Fitzpatrick

Subs used: N. Daly for E. McCormack, R. Daly for Fallon, A. Glennon for D. Smith, C. Cox (0-2, 1f) for J. Fitzpatrick,

Referee: J. McQuillan (Cavan).