All Ireland SFC Qualifier: Mayo finish strongly
All Ireland SFC Round 2 Qualifier
MAYO 1-19 TIPPERARY 1-11
By John Fallon at Semple Stadium
Tipperary came close to a shock victory in Thurles, but in the end Mayo’s guile and experience saw them negotiate another tough test before booking their place in the third round of the All-Ireland qualifiers.
It was a close call for Mayo, who appeared to be in trouble when they trailed by three points going into the final quarter against a Tipperary side growing in confidence.
However, Mayo struck for a fortuitous goal from James Durcan which levelled the match and they never looked back after that.
Durcan’s goal was the breakthrough Mayo needed when his shot for a point dipped into the top corner of the net.
That tied the sides at 1-11 each after 52 minutes and Kevin McLoughlin them edged them in front shortly after to lead for the first time since the sixth minute.
Tipp’s challenge faded and they failed to score in the final quarter as Mayo pushed for home with eight unanswered points in a devastating finish.
But they were in trouble when they trailed by 1-7 to 0-8 at the interval, with Michael Quinlivan flicking home a super goal after 10 minutes to wipe out Mayo’s early burst which yielded four points in the opening six minutes.
Tipperary were good value for their interval lead with Mayo suffering a double blow when Seamus O’Shea went off injured and Colm Boyle was black-carded on his 100th appearance for the county.
Tipp were superb after the restart and points from Quinlivan, Liam McGrath and Conor Sweeney looked set to fashion a shock victory but Mayo, with Jason Doherty effective, came storming back to book their place in the third round.
Doherty kicked two excellent efforts as Mayo took control throughout the field and surged forward at every opportunity.
Paddy Durcan burst through to put four between them before Andy Moran had a shot for a goal deflected over to lead by 1-16 to 1-11 after 60 minutes.
Lee Keegan, Moran’s predecessor as Footballer of the Year, landed a point and substitute Conor Loftus became their tenth player to score when he landed a late free to seal the win.
Tipperary just could not find a way back and while their interest in the 2018 championship was brought to an end, manager Liam Kearns will be proud of this effort and feel there is a lot to build on next year.
Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 0-5 (5fs), J Durcan 1-2, J Doherty 0-3, K McLoughlin 0-3, A O’Shea 0-1, S O’Shea 0-1, P Durcan 0-1, A Moran 0-1, L Keegan 0-1, C Loftus 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: M Quinlivan 1-2, L McGrath 0-4 (2fs), P Austin 0-2, C Sweeney 0-2, J Kennedy 0-1
MAYO: David Clarke; Keith Higgins, Ger Cafferkey, Patrick Durcan; Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle, Stephen Coen; Seamus O’Shea, Lee Keegan; Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea, James Durcan; Jason Doherty, Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran.
Subs: Diarmuid O’Connor for Seamus O’Shea (30), Cian Hanley for Colm Boyle (41, bc), Evan Regan for Kevin McLoughlin (38-46), Eoin O’Donoghue for Chris Barrett (56), Evan Regan for Cillian O’Connor (68), Conor Loftus for Andy Moran (69), Danny Kirby for Diarmuid O’Connor (70+2).
TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Shane O’Connell, John Meagher, Alan Campbell; Bill Maher, Robbie Kiely, Jimmy Feehan; Jack Kennedy, Steven O’Brien; Josh Keane, Brian Fox, Philip Austin; Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan, Liam McGrath.
Subs: Liam Boland for Philip Austin (58), Liam Casey for Jack Kennedy (60), Kevin O’Halloran for Liam McGrath (64), Kevin Fahey for Jimmy Feehan (65), Jason Lonergan for Josh Keane (68), George Hannigan for Steven O’Brien (70+2).
REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Laois).