Oates sews up rousing Rossies fightback
Connacht champions Roscommon pulled out three massive scores in the last five minutes of this preliminary-round tie at McHale Park on a chilly Saturday evening to send a fancied Mayo team packing for the second successive year.
Mayo appeared to be on course to avenge last year's result when substitute Darren Coen kicked his side into the lead for the first time with the winning post in sight.
However, Roscommon dug deepest and found plenty in reserve when they had to. Cathal Shine levelled the game with three minutes remaining, centre-back Niall Daly fired them into the lead with an inspirational point a minute from time and Scott Oates sealed it with a free deep into injury-time.
Mayo can have few complaints, particularly on their first-half performance as Roscommon were out of the blocks early with their excellent free-taker Shane Regan hitting two scores inside nine minutes.
Cillian O'Connor had Mayo off the mark with a free on 11 minutes but by the 24th minute Roscommon had gone four clear. O'Connor and Aiden O'Shea had Mayo within two at the interval, 0-6 to 0-4, and back on track as a virus seem to hit Roscommon's free-taking with two easy chances going abegging.
Inside three minutes of the restart Mayo were on level terms, substitute Coen and O'Connor (free) on target, but Roscommon kicked two clear again thanks to the unerring Regan.
Going into the last quarter Mayo hit their best spell, O'Connor and substitute Ger Cafferty hauling them level once more, before Coen put them into the lead for the first time with five minutes remaining.
However, Mayo had nothing else left in the tank and three late unanswered Rossies points produced a fair result.
SCORES -- Roscommon: S Regan 0-4 (4f), D McDermott, S Oates (1f) 0-2 each, C Shine, N Daly, P Brogan 0-1 each. Mayo: C O'Connor 0-4 (2f), A O'Shea, D Coen 0-2 each, G Cafferty 0-1.
ROSCOMMON -- N Connaughton, N Byrne, C Duignan, C Cafferkey, E Bannon, N Daly, P Brogan, U Stritch, A Feehily, B Murtagh, S Oates, S Regan, C Compton, C Shine, D McDermott. Subs: M Higgins for Beirne (38), N Kilroy for Compton (46), D Clabby for Feehily (51), N Collins for Murtagh (51).
MAYO -- R Hennelly, S McHale, K Keane, K Rodgers, C Crowe, D Kirby, E Reilly, S Nally, D Kirby, E Reilly, S Nally, D Geraghty, M Forde, C Freeman, A Farrell, C Dempsey, A O'Shea, C O Connor. Subs: A Walsh for K Keane (20), D Coen for Farrell (h-t) J Cafferty for Geraghty (49), Durkan for Freeman (50).
Ref -- E O'Grady (Leitrim).