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Crossbar saves Mayo as early Sweeney strike proves vital

The width of a crossbar saved Mayo in the Cadbury's Connacht U-21 football championship final at St Brigid's Park, Kiltoom, last evening.

Roscommon senior Cathal Cregg tore through the Mayo defence in the fourth minute of injury-time only to see his powerful shot canon off the crossbar and ref Pat McGovern blew the final whistle after Mayo had tidied up the rebound.

Although Mayo march onto the All-Ireland series, Roscommon lost no face in defeat after battling back from a seven-point deficit. There was intense disappointment among the home fans anxious for a morale-boosting title in the light of recent dismal senior performances in the NFL.

A lucky goal by Mikie Sweeney after 15 minutes put Mayo on the road to their third consecutive provincial title, this score helped them to healthy 1-6 to 0-4 lead at the break.

Roscommon's courageous second-half fightback was dealt a major blow in the 52nd minute when Donie Shine could only manage a point from a penalty.

Scorers -- Mayo: A Campbell 0-7 (4f), M Sweeney 1-1 (1f), J Doherty 0-2, P O'Connor, T Parsons, D Vaughan, J Burke 0-1 each. Roscommon: D Shine 0-6 (4f, 1 pen.), R Gaynor 0-3, P Garvey, K Higgins 0-2 each, C Cregg 0-1.

Mayo -- S Nallen; D Vaughan, G Cafferkey, C English; C Barrett, T Cunniffe, J Burke; S O'Shea, T Parsons; A Campbell, B Gallagher, K Sweeney; M Sweeney, J Doherty, M Rafter. Subs: P O'Connor for M Rafter (23), D O'Connor for C English (43), N Douglas for B Gallagher (51), T Gavin for P O'Connor (60).

Roscommon -- J Martin; S Ormsby, P Domican, R Brady; N Carthy, D Keenan, C Garvey; M Killalea, J McDermott; D O'Gara, C Cregg, K Higgins; R Gaynor, E Kenny, D Shine. Sub: J McKeague for C Garvey ( h-t), P Garvey for D O'Gara (39), D Flynn for J McDermott (42), C McHugh for E Kenny (55).

Ref -- P McGovern (Galway).

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