Rousing Roscommon rally punishes Mayo's 'crazy stuff'
Roscommon 1-10 Mayo 1-8
Roscommon grabbed a rare victory against Mayo by scoring five unanswered points in the final 17 minutes at Ballinlough.
The home side, trailing by three points at the break, hauled themselves back into contention courtesy of Ciaran Murtagh's 37th-minute goal.
But Mayo responded almost immediately when Adam Gallagher's shot was initially brilliantly saved by Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O'Malley. The ball was grabbed on the line by Ronan Stack but the St Brigid's defender let it slip from his grasp and the goal was awarded.
Roscommon weren't ruffled by the setback and they responded magnificently with points from Mark Nally, Cathal Shine (2), Ciaran Murtagh and Diarmuid Murtagh to set up a FBD League final against holders Leitrim on Sunday. The fightback left Rossies manager John Evans very pleased.
"When they got the goal, we responded magnificently. It's a work in progress. We're not the finished article but we have a few fellas to come back," he said.
"But it was great to see us move the ball with a bit of fluency. There was a lot of good tackling. There wasn't much space out there."
Mayo were the more enterprising team in the opening half, showing poise in front of goal. Andy Moran was dictating matters from centre-forward, meaning James Horan's men found scores easier to come by.
Two points from Moran alongside efforts from Gallagher, Jason Doherty and Alan Freeman (free) pushed the visitors 0-5 to 0-2 ahead by the 23rd minute.
Ciaran Murtagh and Conor Devaney registered Roscommon's first two scores but some good approach work was undone by players taking the wrong option. Defender Neil Collins received a black card in the 29th minute.
Kevin McLoughlin and Senan Kilbride swapped frees in the final five minutes of the half to leave Mayo 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the interval. Roscommon were full of energy at the start of the second half. Full-forward Cathal Cregg gave Ger Cafferkey a stern examination as Ciaran Murtagh fisted an early point.
Jason Doherty replied for Mayo before Devaney and Cregg combined for Murtagh to raise a green flag. The same player tagged on a score to level matters before Stack's misfortune seemed to hand Mayo the initiative.
But a fitter Roscommon team rose to the occasion and their late flurry of scores sealed the deal.
Mayo manager Horan admitted his side's rusty fitness levels hadn't helped their cause.
"It was a disappointing performance. Our decision making in the second half was poor. We just kept kicking it away and doing crazy stuff with the ball," he lamented.
"Our fitness came a little bit into it at the end as well when Roscommon started running through us. We've a lot of stuff to look at to get ready for two weeks' time against Kildare."
SCORERS -- Roscommon: C Murtagh 1-4 (0-1f), C Shine 0-2 (1f), S Kilbride (f), C Devaney, M Nally, D Murtagh (f) 0-1 each. Mayo: A Gallagher 1-2, A Moran, J Doherty 0-2 each, A Freeman (f), K McLoughlin (f) 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON -- D O'Malley; N Collins, N Carty, R Stack; S McDermott, N Daly, C Daly; C Shine, K Higgins; C Devaney, C Burns, D Keane; S Kilbride, C Cregg, C Murtagh. Subs: M Nally for Collins (BC, 29), M Finneran for Kilbride (36), D Murtagh for Devaney (43), D O'Gara for Burns (54), F Cregg for C Murtagh (59).
MAYO -- R Hennelly; K Keane, G Cafferkey, C Boyle; B Harrison, S McHale, D Drake; T Parsons, A O'Shea; D O'Connor, A Moran, A Gallagher; K McLoughlin, A Freeman, J Doherty. Subs: K Higgins for O'Connor (39), E Varley for McLoughlin (44), J Gibbons for Parsons (54), C Carolan for Moran (57).
REF -- E O'Grady (Leitrim).