Connacht SFC: Roscommon stun Mayo
Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
ROSCOMMON 2-12 MAYO 0-17
By Declan Rooney at Elverys MacHale Park
Roscommon won their first competitive game at MacHale Park since 1986 as Fintan Cregg kicked an injury-time winner for Anthony Cunningham’s side.
First-half goals from Cathal Cregg and Ultan Harney put Roscommon in control at the break, but Mayo charged back in the second half to reclaim the lead, but points from Enda Smith and Cregg and Mayo’s 15 wides proved crucial in the end.
Roscommon will now face Galway in the Connacht final on 16 June – the fourth final in a row between the teams.
Playing with the aid of the wind in the first-half Mayo tore into this game with real zip to their game and the first two points of the game were scored by James Horan’s team.
In the second minute Matthew Ruane scored a point on the run after Robert Hennelly picked him out from a kick-out over the top, while Darren Coen landed the first of two scores in the first quarter in the fifth minute.
While Mayo were well on top at that point, they were not making the most of their dominance at midfield – particularly as they won three of Roscommon’s first four kick-outs. By the fourth minute they had accumulated three wides, and by the 25th minute they had seven to their name.
In between though, Roscommon found their feet. Cathal Cregg showed excellent pace out race clear of Keith Higgins and find the top corner of Hennelly’s goal in the fifth minute, and although Mayo reclaimed the lead thanks to points from Jason Doherty and Paddy Durcan, an Andrew Glennon point was quickly followed by a second goal for Roscommon.
Harney was on his toes to intercept a short Hennelly kick-out, and after an exchange of passes with Glennon, Harney palmed the ball to the net to put Roscommon 2-1 to 0-4 ahead after a hectic 11 minutes.
Mayo had their goal chances too, though. After eight minutes Doherty lost his footing just as the goal opened up for him, while 15 minutes Diarmuid O’Connor blazed an excellent goal chance wide.
At the other end Conor Cox added a couple of points as his influence in general play began to increase, but Mayo finished the half strongly by moving the ball quickly into the forward line, which saw them score four of the last five points to cut Roscommon’s lead at half-time to 2-6 to 0-10.
Mayo started the second half with the first point – an Evan Regan free after a foul on Doherty – but Roscommon hit back straight way when O’Malley landed his second 45 of the game for Roscommon. Cox clipped over a great score from the left to put Roscommon three clear in the 45th minute, but Mayo hit back again with two points in a row, both of which came from the outstanding Coen.
Cox linked up well with Niall Kilroy to push Roscommon back into a two point lead, but sub Andy Moran and Durcan found the target at the other end to level the game in the 51st minute. Enda Smith put Roscommon back into the lead with a long range point, but two in a row from Fergal Boland gave Mayo the lead for the first time since the 11th minute.
O’Malley missed a long rage free to level the game again with seven minutes remaining, but Cox converted from the left shortly after – 2-11 to 0-17 – with six minute left.
The loss of David Murray on a black card with three minutes to go was a big blow – Roscommon had already brought on their six subs – but three minutes into added time substitute Fintan Cregg kicked the winner.
Mayo had the chance to force extra-time, but Kevin McLoughlin free from the right with the last kick of the game crept wide, which triggered the Roscommon pitch invasion.
Scorers for Roscommon: Conor Cox 0-5 (2fs), Darren O’Malley 0-3 (2f, 1’45), Ultan Harney 1-0, Cathal Cregg 1-0, Conor Daly 0-1, Andrew Glennon 0-1, Enda Smith 0-1, Fintan Cregg 0-1
Scorers for Mayo: Darren Coen 0-5, Evan Regan 0-3 (2fs), Fergal Boland 0-2, Matthew Ruane 0-2, Paddy Durcan 0-2, Lee Keegan 0-1, Andy Moran 0-1, Jason Doherty 0-1 (f)
ROSCOMMON: Darren O'Malley; Conor Daly, Sean Mullooly, David Murray; Conor Hussey, Niall Daly, Ronan Daly; Tadhg O'Rourke, Shane Killoran; Hubert Darcy, Cathal Cregg (c), Niall Kilroy; Andrew Glennon, Conor Cox, Ultan Harney.
Subs: Diarmuid Murtagh for Glennon (half-time), Donie Smith for Cregg (36-40 blood), Brian Stack for R Daly (45), Conor Devaney for Darcy (48), Enda Smith for Cregg (50), Donie Smith for Harney (55), Fintan Cregg for Killoran (61)
MAYO: Robert Hennelly; Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins; Patrick Durcan, Michael Plunkett, Lee Keegan; Matthew Ruane, Aidan O’Shea; Fergal Boland, Jason Doherty, Diarmuid O'Connor (c); Evan Regan, Darren Coen, Kevin McLoughlin.
Subs: Andy Moran for Coen (20-23 blood), Andy Moran for Regan (45), Conor Diskin for D Coen (61), Conor Loftus for Doherty (70), Ciaran Treacy for Moran (75, black).
REFEREE: David Gough (Meath).