Friday 20 July 2018

Mayo come through but injuries are mounting

Mayo 1-19 Tipperary 1-11

Andy Moran fires a shot on goal despite the attention of Tipperary’s Brian Fox. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Andy Moran fires a shot on goal despite the attention of Tipperary’s Brian Fox. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Mayo are showing the same appetite which took them to the All-Ireland through the backdoor in each of the last two seasons, but once again it looks as if they will be doing it the hard way with resources stretched to the limit.

This was their eighth consecutive qualifier win, only one of them has been by less than five points. And yet, it would seem that they need to dabble with danger before something instinctive kicks in and they pull away.

Seamus O’Shea is helped from the field after suffering an arm injury. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Seamus O’Shea is helped from the field after suffering an arm injury. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

They trailed by three points going into the final quarter at Semple Stadium on Saturday evening and a fired-up Tipperary side looked set to deliver a killer blow and complete the shock of the summer.

But a fortuitous goal was all Mayo needed to turn it around. That score, a shot for a point from James Durcan which dipped into the top corner of the net, was the start of a haul of 1-8 in the final quarter, while also holding Tipperary scoreless in the process.

Also in a whim they went from a side looking set for a championship exit to one with the swagger which suggests another long road to Croke Park in September might be unfolding.

But, worryingly, the injuries are starting to mount and it looks as if Seamus O'Shea is going to be out for some time after going off in severe pain with a shoulder injury.

Evan Regan of Mayo in action against Robbie Kiely of Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Evan Regan of Mayo in action against Robbie Kiely of Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

His loss would leave Mayo without their midfield pairing from the last two All-Ireland finals with Tom Parsons already ruled out until next season with a serious knee injury.

"It doesn't look good. He's gone to hospital, minimum it's a dislocation, we will have to wait and see," said Mayo manager Stephen Rochford, who was pleased with the way his side held their nerve.

"I felt that even without the goal we were creating the chances and you'll take the bit of luck when it comes your way as well.

"But that's what the qualifiers do - they tend to test not just your physical resolve, but your metal resolve as well.

John Meagher of Tipperary and Aidan O'Shea of Mayo jump highest in an effort to win possession. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
John Meagher of Tipperary and Aidan O'Shea of Mayo jump highest in an effort to win possession. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

"We know the coaching, the strength and conditioning and all that to have the guys in really good shape. And they need to be, we are into another game in seven days after playing in that heat. Crucial for the next period.

"There's definitely things to work on there, something's with our tackling, especially in the first half whereby we weren't getting our skill execution and our first touch as crisp and clean as we needed it to be.

"That'll be the case, that's what happens through the qualifiers. You're going to have games and moments that not just test your physical but mental resolve."

Tipperary were full value for their 1-7 to 0-8 interval lead thanks to a flicked goal from Michael Quinlivan after ten minutes, and they looked set for a famous win when points from Quinlivan, Liam McGrath and Conor Sweeney pushed them three clear midway through the half, but they lost their way after Durcan's shot dipped into the top left corner of the net.

Aidan O'Shea of Mayo in action against Jimmy Feehan of Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Aidan O'Shea of Mayo in action against Jimmy Feehan of Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Jason Doherty, James Durcan and Kevin McLoughlin got the scores as last year's All-Ireland finalists finished strongly to power their way into the third round, much to the delight of the large travelling support in the crowd of 11,257.

Tipperary manager Liam Kearns rued the soft goal which allowed Mayo get back into contention.

"We were playing well in a lot of places for fifty-plus minutes, but, in fairness to Mayo, they are around a long time, they know how to win and they know to get out of tight spots,'" said Kearns.

"That'll stand to them now. They are still on the road. You have got to give credit to Mayo as well.

"The age profile of their team is more than ours. They would be older. They finished very strong. That is a testament to their conditioning. In fairness to them, they were going really strong at the finish, but I thought we had them in big trouble around the 50th minute.

"If they hadn't got the goal, it would have been interesting to see how it ended up but at least we performed here. That is more like what we are," added Kearns.

Their journey has ended for 2018 but Mayo will hope they have enough in the tank to survive taking the scenic route to Croke Park for the third year in a row.

Irish Independent

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