EirGrid Connacht U21 Final: Mayo edge it in the west
EIRGRID CONNACHT UNDER 21 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
MAYO 1-11 ROSCOMMON 1-10
By John Fallon at Markievicz Park
Mayo, the most prolific winners of the Connacht U-21 football title, but without a crown since 2009, came with a late rally to snatch victory in the dying moments of an exciting final at Markievicz Park.
Roscommon, bidding for their third title in a row, seemed poised for victory when they raced into a six points lead after just eight minutes.
But while they led by five points at the break, they were unable to close out the deal and left themselves vulnerable to a late onslaught.
And Mayo duly obliged to snatch their 24th title in the grade and leave Roscommon to rue several missed chances to make the game safe.
Liam Irwin was the hero for Mayo when he struck a late goal to put them in front for the first time in the game three minutes from time.
The Breaffy clubman connected superbly with a cross from the left by James Carr to stun the champions.
Man of the match Diarmuid Murtagh hit back and levelled for Roscommon as the game slipped into stoppage time.
But Mayo, who hadn’t been in the final since they won in 2009, finished in style and Michael Plunkett struck the winner in the second minute of stoppage time.
The score broke Roscommon’s hearts as their hopes of a first ever underage three in a row were dashed in dramatic circumstances.
They looked to be on their way when Murtagh shot to the net in the third minute as the champions raced into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead after just eight minutes.
Roscommon led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval, but Mayo cut the gap after the restart and managed to stay in touching distance before coming with their late surge to set up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Dublin in two weeks.
*Scorers for Mayo: *L Irwin 1-3 (2fs, 145), C Loftus 0-3 (3fs), F Duffy 0-2, F Boland 0-1, B Reape 0-1, M Plunkett 0-1.
Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh 1-4 (2fs), R Daly 0-3, B Stack 0-1,U Harney 0-1, H Walsh 0-1.
Mayo: M Flanagan; D Kenny, S Cunniffe, E Doran; M Hall, S Coen, S Akram; D O’Connor, M Ruane; M Plunkett, C Loftus, F Boland; L Irwin, B Reape, F Duffy.
Subs: E O’Donoghue for Doran (18), J Carr for Loftus (45).
Roscommon: R Fahy; J Connaughton, S Mullolly, K Beirne; F Lennon, U Harney, B Stack; T O’Rourke, C Compton; K Farrell, H Walsh, B Kelly; D Murtagh, H Darcy, R Daly.
Subs: M Daly for Mullolly (30), R Raftery for Compton (36), C Callinan for Kelly (46), K Smith for Walsh (58).
Referee: J Molloy (Galway).