Keith Higgins an injury concern for Mayo as Kevin McStay's Roscommon earn bragging rights
Roscommon 0-13 Mayo 0-10
Published 17/01/2016 | 16:06
Roscommon were sharper and just more tuned in that their hosts in Elvery's MacHale Park as they kept the defence of their Connacht League title on track against Mayo.
With a difficult Division One campaign ahead Kevin McStay's side have clearly been busier in the off season and it told as they raced into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead, one that they didn't really allow Mayo to make any headway on subsequently before 3,845 spectators.
Admittedly Roscommon fielded what felt like a more regular team with Cathal Cregg featuring in attack after a spell at half-back and making a mark with three first half points.
Mayo didn't score until the 16th minute when Conor Loftus pointed a free and by then they were already without Keith Higgins who picked up an early knee injury that initially looked serious.A scan early this week will determine the extent of the damage.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford conceded that the captain will most likely miss the early part of the league.
They also lost full-back Kevin Keane through a shoulder injury but managed to stabilise with Jason Gibbons contributing well at midfield and by half-time they were just 0-6 to 0-4 behind.
A Ciaran Murtagh free and Enda Smith's point edged Roscommon further clear on the restart and they were always able to keep sufficient distance after that.
Fintan Cregg, Seanie McDermott, Niall McInerney and Niall Daly were all impressive as they twice built a five-point lead.
But Mayo upped the tempo in the final 10 minutes. Conor Loftus swung over a fine point from an acute angle with Jason Doherty asserting himself in the full-forward line to win two frees which he converted.
Roscommon will now play Galway in the final of the Connacht League next Sunday at a Galway venue, most likely Tuam Stadium.
Scorers - Roscommon: C Murtagh 0-4 (4fs), C Cregg 0-3, E Smith, N Collins, N Daly, F Cregg, S Kilbride, D Murtagh all 0-1 each
Mayo: C Loftus 0-5 (4fs), J Doherty 0-2 (2fs), M Ronaldson, K Ruttledge, J Gibbons all 0-1 each.
Roscommon: G Claffey; S McDermott, N Collins, R Stack; C Daly, N Daly, N McInerney; E Smith, I Kilbride; F Cregg, C Murtagh, R Daly; S Kilbride, C Cregg, D Murtagh. Subs: B Murtagh for N Daly (49), S Oates for D Murtagh (56), K Kilcline for F Cregg (56), G Patterson for Stack (58).
Mayo: R Hennelly; P O'Hora, K Keane, G Cafferkey; K Higgins, C Crowe, C Boyle; T Parsons, J Gibbons; J Doherty, M Ronaldson, D McHale; K Ruttledge, D Vaughan, C Loftus. Subs: L Keegan for Higgins inj (5), S McHale for Keane inj (18), D O'Connor for Ruttledge (44), S Nally for Boyle (50), B Harrison for O'Hora (52), B Reape for Loftus inj (56).
Referee: J Gilmartin (Sligo).