All Ireland SFC Quarter-Final Replay
There was always the danger that Roscommon had missed their chance in the first game, and so it proved as Mayo made them pay at Croke Park.
Roscommon manager Kevin McStay had called the replay “money in the bank” for his young side – the chance for another invaluable championship run out at Croker – but the price they paid for their additional 70 minutes on the hallowed turf was a very high one indeed.
As if picking up the mantle thrown down by Dublin and Tyrone in their emphatic quarter-finals wins on Saturday, Mayo ‘saw them’ and then ‘raised them’ by annihilating Roscommon 22 points on Monday.
For Mayo manager Stephen Rochford it was a performance born out of the frustration of the drawn first game.
“When we sat down and reviewed the tape of the drawn game we were so frustrated with all of the mistakes we made and that led to that energy when we got back to Croke Park,” said Rochford.
“We just played with a more consistent tempo. We stopped operating in spurts and taking our foot of the throttle like we had been. We allowed the scoreboard to keep ticking.
“We put a bit more pace into the game and that’s what Tom [Parsons] and Donal [Vaughan] were really good at in the middle third.
“Possession is nine tenths of the law and we got our hands on the ball a lot more than we did last week, which was a big cause of frustration in our camp last week.”
Mayo now advance to face Kerry on 20 August and like the other semi-final between Dublin and Tyrone, it’s a game not to be missed.
Last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists set the tone in the second minute when Cillian O’Connor gave them the lead, and they never looked back.
By the 16th minute Mayo had racked up six unanswered points. The Rossies didn’t open their account until the 21st minute, when Enda Smith pointed, and when Sean Mullooly followed up with another just two minutes later it seemed as if we may yet have a real contest on our hands.
But within two minutes the tie was effectively over, as first Kevin McLoughlin scored a goal and then seconds later Andy Moran added a second.
Unlike Roscommon, who led 2-2 to 0-1 early on in the first game before letting their opponents back in, Mayo weren’t about to be quite so generous and they set about building on their ten-point lead with a ruthlessness.
Only a further three minutes had elapsed before Keith Higgins burst through the heart of the Rossies’ defence to grab a third Mayo goal – three goals in five minutes and Roscommon were being destroyed.
Mayo’s lead at the break was 3-8 to 0-4, after a half in which they’d kept the foot to Roscommon’s throat, and hadn’t let them take a breath.
Roscommon threw in Gary Paterson, Fintan Cregg, and Ciarain Murtagh to replace the no doubt shell-shocked Sean McDermott, Cian Connolly, and Cathal Compton.
It mattered not; Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor extended Mayo’s lead still further in the 45th minute with a free, and then bagged an opportunistic fourth goal.
Just when it seemed as if it couldn’t get any worse for Roscommon they lost Fintan Cregg to a second yellow, and saw out the final quarter or so with just 14-men.
May could afford to empty their bench, but even after O’Connor’s goal they still outscored Roscommon by 0-9 to 0-4 in the time that remained. For McStay’s side the final whistle couldn’t come soon enough.
Thirteen different scorers for Mayo, and all that without Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 1-6 (5fs), Andy Moran 1-1, Kevin McLoughlin and Keith Higgins 1-0 each, Jason Doherty, Aidan O’Shea, and Shane Nally 0-2 each, Diarmuid O’Connor, Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons, Donal Vaughan, David Drake, and Stephen Coen 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: Diarmuid Murtagh 0-4 (2fs), Enda Smith, Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney, Sean Mullooly, and Donie Smith 0-1 each.
MAYO: David Clarke; Brendan Harrison, Chris Barrett, Paddy Durcan; Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins, Donal Vaughan; Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons; Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor; Jason Doherty, Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran.
Subs: Conor Loftus for Jason Doherty (46), David Drake for Kevin McLoughlin (56), Alan Dillon for Andy Moran (61), Stephen Coen for Donal Vaughan (61), Danny Kirby for Aidan O’Shea (62), Shane Nally for Chris Barrett (65).
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; Seanie McDermott; Niall McInerney, David Murray; John McManus, Sean Mullooly, Brian Stack; Tadhg O’Rourke, Enda Smith; Caoileann Fitzmaurice, Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney; Diarmuid Murtagh, Cathal Compton, Cian Connolly.
Subs: Gary Paterson for Seanie McDermott (HT), Fintan Cregg for Cathal Compton (HT), Ciarain Murtagh for Cian Connolly (HT), Donie Smith for Brian Stack (46), Ian Kilbride for Conor Devaney (60), Colin Compton for Enda Smith (62).
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Tyrone haven’t graced the All Ireland final stage since 2008, but they will take some stopping on this evidence after Mickey Harte’s men swept Armagh aside.