Gilvarry passes the mantle as Mayo win minor title
Mayo 2-13 Tyrone 1-13 All-Ireland MFC final
MAYO manager Enda Gilvarry lost his claim to fame, but he couldn't have been more pleased to fade back into relative obscurity.
Gilvarry was on the 1985 Mayo side that won the All-Ireland minor title, and now he has seen that 28-year wait for a follow-up finally end in glory.
Step forward the class of 2013, which justified their mantle as favourites – just – against a typically gritty Tyrone side that refused to quit when the game seemed all but over.
Conor McKenna's fisted goal in time added on by referee Conor Lane caused a serious ripple of concern to the Connacht champions, but it was too little, too late for Tyrone.
Overall, Mayo deserved their victory in a game that only came to life in the second half after a drab opening 30 minutes.
However, this was a day for winners, and in that respect the Mayo boss couldn't fault his players. Asked about the link between 1985 and 2013, including his personal involvement, Gilvarry replied: "This group of young men have been spectacular all season and they've really stood up to the plate all year.
"1985 was a long time ago, and well before they were born. A few of us have been waiting for someone to take the throne and now my claim to fame is gone. That's fine by me. This win is a huge boost.
"There's been huge work gone in and we hadn't got the rewards over the last few years, but a lot of hard work has to be done to make sure we don't wait another 28 years for a minor win."
The free-taking accuracy of full-forward Liam Irwin was the centrepiece of Mayo's first half, in which Tyrone owned the bulk of the possession.
But with the score at 0-5 to 0-4 in Tyrone's favour, the game was turned on its head by Tommy Conroy's 31st-minute goal.
Conroy took a pass from midfielder Val Roughneen and powered towards the Tyrone goal. He looked to be fouled, but referee Conor Lane kept cool and gave the advantage – and Conroy lashed the ball to the net.
Conor McKenna got a late point for Tyrone to make the score 1-4 to 0-6 in Mayo's favour at the interval.
Within three minutes of the restart, a Mayo surge yielded points by Conor Loftus from a free, one by Conroy, and two by Darragh Doherty. "We've been doing that in quite a few matches, getting that early run of scores in the second half," said Gilvarry.
On 38 minutes, the roof fell in on the Ulster side when Doherty scored Mayo's second goal. Again, the ref played a part. He could have held the play and booked Ronan Nugent for a free inside Tyrone's half, but quick-thinking Loftus took the free and passed it to Stephen Coen.
Coen moved the ball sharply to Doherty, who slotted the ball home to give Mayo an eight-point lead – and then the ref went back to book the Tyrone player.
Tyrone set up camp in the Mayo half for long periods and steadily picked off point after point until they trailed by four with three minutes to play. Then came McKenna's goal in the dying minutes, but Mayo finished with a brace of scores by sub Conor Byrne and Conroy to cement the county's seventh minor championship.
A strong defensive effort was required by Mayo, but they shaded matters in the forwards, with 2-9 coming from their full-forward line of Doherty, Irwin, and Conroy.
Tyrone's Frank Burns did sterling work as a sweeper in the first half but when he was drawn further out the pitch, especially in the second half, Mayo made the most of the available space.
David Mulgrew belied his 15 years, while McKenna, Lee Brennan and Shea Hamill were to the fore for the Tyrone side. Mickey Donnelly, manager of the Ulster representatives, was very disappointed but had no complaints afterwards.
"That first goal came against the run of play. It was a real kick in the teeth, but we saw the character the lads have shown all year, That spell at the start of the second half killed us," said Donnelly.
Scorers – Mayo: T Conroy 1-3, D Doherty 1-2, L Irwin 0-4 (4fs), C Loftus 0-3 (1f), C Byrne 0-1. Tyrone: L Brennan 0-4 (3fs), C McKenna 1-1, R Nugent 0-2, D Mulgrew, C McKenna, R McGlone, D Gallagher (f), P Donnelly, C McShane 0-1 each.
Mayo – M Mulligan; E Doran, S Cunniffe, D Kenny; M Hall, S Coen, S Conlon; V Roughneen, D O'Connor; C Loftus, M Plunkett, P Prendergast; D Doherty, L Irwin, T Conroy. Subs: C Byrne for D Doherty (52), H Cafferty for M Plunkett (59), F Duffy for L Irwin (62).
Tyrone – S Fox; C Byrne, R Quinn, C McCann; S Hamill, F Burns, C Morris; R Nugent, C McKenna; D Mulgrew, R McGlone, P McGirr; L Brennan, D Gallagher, S McGrath. Subs: C McShane for R McGlone (40), P Donnelly for S McGrath (40), M Lynn for P McGirr (48), C O'Donnell for D Gallagher (56).
Ref – C Lane (Cork)