Mayo enjoy super Sunday
O'Connor injury only sour note as minors and seniors revel in double delight
A shoulder injury sustained by top scorer Cillian O'Connor was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect day for Mayo football in Croke Park yesterday as their seniors and minors booked in for All-Ireland final action on September 22.
O'Connor was taken to the Mater Hospital after being forced off after 11 minutes with a recurrence of the should injury first sustained shortly after last year's All-Ireland final. He damaged it again in late May but returned in the Connacht final where he scored 3-3 before adding 3-4 against Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
However, he is now doubtful for the final which is a worry for Mayo, even if they do have a very strong squad which was underlined yesterday by fine performances from subs Enda Varley, Michael Conroy, Cathal Carolan and Richie Feeney.
Tyrone suffered injury blows too, losing Peter Harte after just six minutes and captain Stephen O'Neill 20 minutes later, departures which seriously weakened them.
However, Tyrone still led by four points after 32 minutes before Mayo scored three points in five minutes to haul themselves back into contention. A controversial penalty awarded early in the second half yielded a Mayo goal from Alan Freeman and the Connacht champions powered on from there.
"We always fancy ourselves to get stronger as the game progresses. We saw that today," said Mayo manager James Horan.
Mayo are back in the final in successive seasons for the first time since 1996-97 and now await the winners of next Sunday's second semi-final between Dublin and Kerry as they attempt to end a 62-year wait for an All-Ireland crown.
Horan's men will be joined in the title pursuit by the Mayo minors, who easily beat Monaghan in the semi-final. That victory also came at a price as Mayo wing-forward Cian Hanley fractured a collarbone and, like O'Connor, was taken to the Mater Hospital.