Rossies run champions close before Reape seals final victory
Mayo 2-16 Roscommon 0-14 - CONNACHT MFC FINAL
Mayo's attacking edge proved decisive in keeping the All-Ireland champions on track to retain their title after impressively fending off the challenge of Roscommon in the Connacht final at MacHale Park in Castlebar.
Brian Reape's goal, six minutes from time, eventually put the seal of approval on a hard-earned victory against a Roscommon team who were within a point of Mayo with 12 minutes to go.
However, Mayo's class in the finishing department proved decisive in helping them retain their Connacht title, with eight points to spare in a game in which they shot 11 wides.
A goal from Cian Hanley on 12 minutes may have separated the sides at the interval, but Mayo were by far the superior force. However, seven bad wides were a fair indication of their shortcomings in the finishing department. Hanley, younger brother of Australian Rules player Pearse, was the standout player in the half, taking his goal well and setting up a number of Mayo scores – Conor Byrne and Brian Reape taking a brace of points each.
Despite conceding midfield, Roscommon were kept in the game by Noel Gately, who nailed four excellent points in that first half. Roscommon stormed into the second half and should have been level when Eoin Fallon shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
They came within a point of their opponents, but Mayo moved up a gear, with Reape, who finished with 1-5 from play, turning up the heat and substitute Fionan Duffy also impacting with two fine scores.
SCORERS – Mayo: B Reape 1-6, C Hanley 1-2, C Byrne, F Duffy and G Boylan 0-2 each, C Kilkenny and T.J Byrne 0-1 each. Roscommon: N Gately 0-5, K Smyth (3fs) H Darcy 0-3 each, L Carty 0-2, F Lennon 0-1.
MAYO – M Flanagan; S Cunniffe, B Duffy, E O'Donoghue; J Forkan, S Conlon, S Brennan; G Walsh , M Ruane; S Akram, C Hanley, G Boylan; C Byrne, TJ Byrne, B Reape . Subs: C Kilkenny for M Ruane (36), D Connaughton for Fallon (39), C Duffy for Byrne (45), K Hopkins for Duffy (50), M Ruane for G Walsh (52).
ROSCOMMON – S Mannion; J Casey, B Stack, M Flannery; F Lennon, E McGrath E Fallon; T Butler, R Raftery; D Connaughton, L Carty K Bannon; N Gately, H Darcy, K Smyth. Subs: C Murray for Butler (22), J Fahey for Bannon (h-t), C Callinan for Bannon (45), J Gannon for Darcy (54), B Kenny for Carty (54).
REF– J Murray (Galway)