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All Ireland SFC Q-F: Dramatic draw at Croke Park

Fintan Cregg, Roscommon, and Andy Moran, Mayo, following the game at Croke Park.

Fintan Cregg, Roscommon, and Andy Moran, Mayo, following the game at Croke Park.

All Ireland SFC Quarter-Final


By Paul Keane at Croke Park

Mayo and Roscommon must do it all again after a remarkable All-Ireland quarter-final tie ended in stalemate at Croke Park.

Substitute Donie Smith's 74th minute point from a free levelled a memorable game for the sixth time in front of 65,746 ensuring a replay will be necessary.

Both sides will kick themselves for letting victory slip from their grasp, though, perhaps Roscommon more so as they led by seven points after a brilliant start.

Kevin McStay's side fired in early goals through Fintan Cregg and Ciarain Murtagh, but were reeled in by half-time by the 2016 All-Ireland finalists who led by two at that stage.

Yet Connacht champions Roscommon simply refused to throw in the towel and picked off a series of points in the second-half to leave the game tied on five occasions.

Patrick Durcan had hoped his long range 68th minute point for Mayo might win it for them, but Smith popped up with that free from the right wing to ensure a rematch.

It's the last thing Mayo need having already played out extra-time time epics with Derry and Cork in the qualifier series and managing their fatigue levels will be a big issue now.

Donie Smith kicked a late free for Roscommon.

Donie Smith kicked a late free for Roscommon.

As for Roscommon, their hopes of clinching a first ever All-Ireland quarter-final win remain intact after losing their three previous ties at this stage.

Mayo, in turn, came into the contest with an enviable record of six quarter-final wins on the spin since 2011.

History seemed to count for little in a blitzkrieg opening period as Roscommon ripped up the script and showed exactly why they're provincial champions.

Cregg opened the scoring for them with a point before Enda Smith boomed one over from long range to inspire the team.

Cregg then did brilliantly in the ninth minute to spin away from his man on the right of goals and arch a shot over Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke into the far corner of the net.

It was a terrific goal and Roscommon supporters were in dreamland just three minutes later when Murtagh slammed in a second goal as they suddenly led 2-2 to 0-1.

Within seconds Lee Keegan had clawed back a goal for Mayo and the 2016 All-Ireland finalists were back level by the 25th minute at 1-5 to 2-2.

The reigning Footballer of the Year cut straight through the centre of Roscommon's defence for his 12th minute goal before unleashing a shot that ricocheted in off Niall McInerney.

The Westport man added two more points, taking his first-half tally to 1-3 in total, and there were points too from Colm Boyle and Andy Moran as Mayo moved two clear approaching the break.

Lee Keegan impressed for Mayo at Croke Park.

Lee Keegan impressed for Mayo at Croke Park.

It was an impressive fightback from Mayo, but hugely worrying for Roscommon who conceded 1-6 without reply and trailed by 1-8 to 2-3 at the break.

Roscommon hadn't scored from play since Murtagh's goal but restarted with gusto and tied the game up again with points from Conor Devaney and Diarmuid Murtagh.

Keegan dropped deep into Mayo's full-back line in the second-half as his intriguing head to head with Enda Smith continued.

They were level again on numerous occasions as a tense game of cat and mouse ensued, though, two late Mayo points from Cillian O'Connor and Durcan put them ahead and looked like they might decide the contest.

Roscommon refused to give in though and Smith conjured that late point as O'Connor failed to convert three separate point opportunities for Mayo deep into injury-time.

Scorers for Mayo: Lee Keegan 1-3, Cillian O'Connor 0-3 (2fs), Andy Moran 0-2, Patrick Durcan 0-2, Colm Boyle 0-1, Jason Doherty 0-1.

**Scorers for Roscommon: **Ciarain Murtagh 1-2 (2fs), Fintan Cregg 1-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-2 (1f), Donie Smith 0-2 (1f), Enda Smith 0-1, Conor Devaney 0-1.

**MAYO: **David Clarke; Brendan Harrison, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Patrick Durcan, Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle; Seamus O'Shea, Lee Keegan; Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O'Shea, Diarmuid O'Connor; Jason Doherty, Cillian O'Connor, Andy Moran.

**Subs: **Donal Vaughan for Boyle (51), Conor Loftus for Moran (58), Tom Parsons for S O'Shea (62), Stephen Coen for D O'Connor (65), David Drake for Doherty (71).

ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Niall McInerney, Sean McDermott; John McManus, Sean Mullooly, Conor Devaney; Fintan Cregg, Enda Smith; Tadhg O'Rourke, Ciarain Murtagh, Brian Stack; Niall Kilroy, Cian Connolly, Diarmuid Murtagh.

Subs: Ian Kilbride for O'Rourke (18-23, blood), Donie Smith for Connolly (51), Colin Compton for C Murtagh (58), Cathal Compton for D Murtagh (62), Ian Kilbride for McDermott (64), Ronan Stack for Devaney (71).

REFEREE: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

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