Tyrone and Mayo march into semi-finals in style
Mayo and Tyrone took their places in the last four of this year's All-Ireland senior football championship after surprisingly comfortable quarter-final wins in Croke Park yesterday.
In the day's main event, Mayo scored a goal either side of half-time to build an unassailable lead against Donegal, finishing 2-13 to 0-11 winners, having led by four points at the break. They face Dublin in three weeks.
Tyrone caused a minor upset in the curtain-raiser with a 0-18 to 0-14 defeat of Monaghan, the Ulster champions and slight favourites. Monaghan never reached their form of earlier in the season and the loss is a severe setback for Malachy O'Rourke's side, who won their second Ulster title in three years only four weeks ago. They were also beaten by Tyrone while Ulster champions at the quarter-final stage two years ago.
The match ended controversially with two Monaghan players, Darren Hughes and Paul Finlay, red-carded - while Ronan McNamee was also dismissed late on for a second yellow card.
Hughes' dismissal involved a theatrical dive by Tyrone player Tiernan McCann after the Monaghan man ran his fingers through his hair, leading to a dramatic collapse by McCann.
But Tyrone, who navigated their way through the qualifiers after losing in Ulster to Donegal, were full value for their win and bossed the game throughout. They face Kerry in a fortnight, reviving memories of the rivalry which was centre-stage for much of the last decade.
Mayo handed Donegal their heaviest championship defeat since the 1940s when they won by 16 points two years ago in the quarter-finals and, at times in the second half of yesterday's rematch, they might have repeated it. But they seemed happy to settle for what they had. A score from Keith Higgins ten minutes after half-time had them nine points clear and the match was safe.
Donegal's chance died just before, and immediately after, half-time. In injury time of the first half Aidan O'Shea scored a brilliant goal, fielding over Neil McGee and then skipping between two players before planting a low show to the corner of the net. That left Mayo ahead 1-7 to 0-6, and they went into the interval on a high.
Three minutes into the second half the gap went out to seven points and Donegal were doomed. Lee Keegan, who finished Mayo's top scorer, looked to be attempting a point but the ball dropped over Paul Durcan and into the net.
Michael Murphy, with eight points, did his utmost - but he hadn't enough support from the rest of Donegal's attacking cast. Mayo defended impressively, playing a sweeper in Colm Boyle and bringing extra players back as cover. The mouth waters ahead of their meeting with Dublin later in the month.
Sunday Indo Sport