All Ireland SFC Quarter-Final
Mayo and Roscommon will do it all over again after 70 minutes couldn’t separate them at Croke Park, with Roscommon manager Kevin McStay calling the draw “money in the bank” for his young side.
The Connacht champions will be the happier for another bite at the cherry, after they needed an injury-time point from substitute Donie Smith to force a replay, and the chance for another invaluable 70 minutes on the Croke Park stage for Roscommon.
It was the sixth time the sides had been level on the scoreboard, but while the Rossies breathed a huge sigh of relief when Smith struck, they will also rue letting slip an early seven-point lead.
“We have never played here before, all the young players bar Sean McDermott, he has played one, the rest of them have never played Championship here at this level, at Quarter-Final level,” said McStay.
“That is great; it is money in the bank we’d see it as for the replay, but not only the replay, for next year and beyond for our development.
“That was good, but we just made so many errors throughout the game it was hard to get momentum, we kept turning the ball over, but we never said die, we kept at it.”
Early goals from Fintan Cregg and Ciarain Murtagh gave Kevin McStay’s side the perfect start. Cregg’s ninth minute shot across the face of Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke found the far corner of the net, and minutes later Murtagh slammed in a second goal, and Roscommon astonishingly led 2-2 to 0-1.
Mayo needed to respond quickly and they did, within seconds in fact, as Lee Keegan clawed a goal back and by the 25th minute Mayo were back on level terms at 1-5 to 2-2.
By half-time the 2016 All-Ireland finalists even had the audacity to lead by two points, 1-8 to 2-3, with Roscommon left wondering what had happened to their dream start.
But the Rossies started the second half with the same gusto they’d begun the game, and were soon back on level terms.
The game was tied on five occasions in the second half, before Patrick Durcan’s long range score in the 68th minute looked like it might be the winner, only for Smith to come to Roscommon’s rescue.
O’Connor had three separate point scoring opportunities for Mayo deep into injury-time, but couldn’t convert any of them.
Smith’s strike keeps alive Roscommon’s hopes of reaching the All Ireland quarter-finals for the first time in their history. They’re previous ties at this stage ended in defeat, but they have another 70 minutes to achieve their Everest.
No such trouble for Mayo, who went into Sunday’s game with an impressive record of six quarter-final wins on the spin since 2011. But they also have their own Everest – lifting the Sam Maguire.
Despite needing extra-time to overcome Derry and Cork in the qualifiers, Mayo manager Stephen Rochford was adamant that fatigue wasn’t a factor.
“We had three shots to win that game so I don’t think fatigue had anything to do with it,” he said.
“It’s an easy answer to say it’s fatigue, we were still driving on in to that six minutes of injury time so guys are in good condition and they’ll be in good condition next week.
“We lost our way after half-time, they scored three points, struggled to get our runners coming onto the ball across their 65 and 45 and didn’t probably close out the game in the manner we would have liked.”
Scorers for Mayo: Lee Keegan 1-3, Cillian O’Connor 0-3 (2fs), Andy Moran 0-2, Patrick Durcan 0-2, Colm Boyle 0-1, Jason Doherty 0-1.
Scorers for Roscommon: Ciarain Murtagh 1-2 (2fs), Fintan Cregg 1-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-2 (1f), Donie Smith 0-2 (1f), Enda Smith 0-1, Conor Devaney 0-1.
MAYO: David Clarke; Brendan Harrison, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Patrick Durcan, Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle; Seamus O’Shea, Lee Keegan; Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor; Jason Doherty, Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran.
Subs: Donal Vaughan for Boyle (51), Conor Loftus for Moran (58), Tom Parsons for S O’Shea (62), Stephen Coen for D O’Connor (65), David Drake for Doherty (71).
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Niall McInerney, Sean McDermott; John McManus, Sean Mullooly, Conor Devaney; Fintan Cregg, Enda Smith; Tadhg O’Rourke, Ciarain Murtagh, Brian Stack; Niall Kilroy, Cian Connolly, Diarmuid Murtagh.
Subs: Ian Kilbride for O’Rourke (18-23, blood), Donie Smith for Connolly (51), Colin Compton for C Murtagh (58), Cathal Compton for D Murtagh (62), Ian Kilbride for McDermott (64), Ronan Stack for Devaney (71).