Saturday 15 December 2018

Mayo finish with a flourish to snuff out Tipp threat

Mayo 1-19 Tipperary 1-11

Mayo’s Andy Moran gets a shot off under pressure from Tipperary’s Brian Fox yesterday. Photo: Ray McManus
Mayo’s Andy Moran gets a shot off under pressure from Tipperary’s Brian Fox yesterday. Photo: Ray McManus

John Fallon

Mayo don't do things in half measures. Three-quarters of the way into this dramatic clash in Thurles they looked like making a shock exit from the championship but by the end they appeared like a side destined for another long run through the qualifiers.

Tipperary seemed poised for a sensational victory when they pushed a goal clear after 52 minutes and had Mayo in all sorts of bother. But Mayo got a lucky break when a James Durcan shot for a point dipped into the top corner of the net to level the match and they didn't need a second invitation.

Tipperary's Michael Quinlivan keeps possession from Mayo's Paddy Durcan. Photo: Sportsfile
Tipperary's Michael Quinlivan keeps possession from Mayo's Paddy Durcan. Photo: Sportsfile

They pushed on to outscore Tipperary by 0-8 to 0-0 in the closing quarter as the game challenge from Liam Kearns's men was finally snuffed out.

It looked like it would be a stroll in the sunshine for Mayo when they raced into a four-point lead in the opening six minutes. Cillian O'Connor landed a couple of frees and the O'Shea brothers Aidan and Seamus burst through for good scores; a long evening seemed on the cards for Tipperary,

But the home side got stuck in. The return of Philip Austin gave their attack penetration and the Borrisokane man raced through for a fine point to get them off the mark after eight minutes.

The big break came two minutes later when Josh Keane lofted in a high ball and Michael Quinlivan got a hand to it over Paddy Durcan to flick it past David Clarke to the net..

Tipperary's Robbie Kiely of Tipperary in action against Mayo's Colm Boyle. Photo: Sportsfile
Tipperary's Robbie Kiely of Tipperary in action against Mayo's Colm Boyle. Photo: Sportsfile

A minute later Tipp hit the front when Austin fisted a point and the home following sensed this could yet be a memorable evening. Kevin McLoughlin steadied Mayo with a good point from the right before Liam McGrath and Conor Sweeney pointed for Tipp to lead by 1-4 to 0-5 after 20 minutes.

Mayo responded well and efforts from James Durcan and another O'Connor free tied the match at 1-4 to 0-7 ten minutes from the break. Clarke had to produce a good save to deny Quinlivan a second goal but McGrath pointed another free to edge Tipperary back in front.

Mayo suffered a blow when Seamus O'Shea went off with a shoulder injury after 28 minutes, with Cian Hanley replacing him. Jack Kennedy then burst through to extend Tipp's lead before another O'Connor free cut the gap to the minimum.

Quinlivan continued to be a handful for the Mayo rearguard and he kicked a point from an acute angle - with the assistance of Hawk-Eye - to leave Tipp 1-7 to 0-8 in front at the interval. There was a further blow for Mayo just before the break when Colm Boyle, playing his 100th match for the county, was black-carded for a foul on Robbie Kiely.

Mayo's Evan Regan of Mayo is tracked by Tipperary's Robbie Kiely. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo's Evan Regan of Mayo is tracked by Tipperary's Robbie Kiely. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo made the better start to the second-half with Jason Doherty pointing inside two minutes and then a fifth free from O'Connor levelled the sides for the fourth time on 39 minutes.

But then Tipp took control again and landed three superb points in succession from Quinlivan, McGrath and Conor Sweeney to lead by 1-10 to 0-10, and the home fans in the crowd of 11,257 sensed a shock result.

But the joy didn't last long. James Durcan kicked a point from a goal chance for Mayo and while McGrath cancelled it at the other end, the visitors got a huge breakthrough when a shot for a point from James Durcan from the right dipped into the far top corner of the net to level the match withn18 minutes remaining.

Mayo, spurred on by that break, quickly turned the screw. Kevin McLoughlin pointed to put them ahead for the first time since the sixth minute and then Doherty kicked two excellent efforts.

Mayo's Aidan (right) and Seamus O'Shea in conversation. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo's Aidan (right) and Seamus O'Shea in conversation. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Durcan went forward and put four between them before Andy Moran had a shot deflected over to stretch the lead to 1-16 to 1-11 after 60 minutes.

His predecessor as Footballer of the Year, Lee Keegan, then went forward to score and substitute Conor Loftus became Mayo's tenth player to score when he landed a late free to seal the win.

Scorers - Mayo: C O'Connor 0-5 (5f), J Durcan 1-2; J Doherty, K McLoughlin 0-3 each, A O'Shea, S O'Shea, P Durcan, A Moran, L Keegan, C Loftus 0-1 each. Tipperary: M Quinlivan 1-2; L McGrath 0-4 (2f); P Austin, C Sweeney 0-2 each, J Kennedy 0-1.

Mayo: D Clarke; K Higgins, G Cafferkey, P Durcan; C Barrett, C Boyle, S Coen; S O'Shea, L Keegan; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, J Durcan; J Doherty, C O'Connor, A Moran. Subs: D O'Connor for S O'Shea (30), C Hanley for Boyle (41, bc), E Regan for McLoughlin (38-46), E O'Donoghue for Barrett (56), E Regan for C O'Connor (68), C Loftus for Moran (69), D Kirby for D O'Connor (72).

Tipperary: E Comerford; S O'Connell, J Meagher, A Campbell; B Maher, R Kiely, J Feehan; J Kennedy, S O'Brien; J Keane, B Fox, P Austin; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, L McGrath. Subs: L Boland for Austin (58), L Casey for Kennedy (60), K O'Halloran for McGrath (64), K Fahey for Feehan (65), J Lonergan for Keane (68), G Hannigan for O'Brien (72).

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)

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