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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

Mayo and Roscommon heading to a replay after pulsating quarter-final clash finishes level

It finished 1-12 to 2-9 at Croke Park.

Mayo 1-12

Roscommon 2-9

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

MAYO LIVE TO fight another day.

Connacht rivals Mayo and Roscommon must to do battle all over again for a place in the All-Ireland semi-final after a thrilling last eight encounter in Croke Park.

Cillian O’Connor reacts to a late chance Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In a game that had everything, Mayo were left ruing some late chances as Cillian O’Connor kicked three wides and dropped a 50m free short in the dying minutes.

Stephen Rochford’s men like doing things the hard way. After extra-time wins over Derry and Cork in the qualifiers, they’ll need a replay against Roscommon to make it back to their seventh semi-final in succession.

This was an outstanding display by Roscommon, who came desperately close to inflicting their first championship defeat on Mayo since 2001.

They were big underdogs despite their status as Connacht champions, but brought a level of tackling and intensity that the beaten 2016 All-Ireland finalists couldn’t live with at times.

Tactically, Kevin McStay got it spot on. Niall Kilroy was exceptional in the sweeper role and Mayo’s attack got little change out of the Roscommon rearguard.

Niall Kilroy and Sean Mullooly with Aidan O’Shea Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Mayo recovered from a disastrous start where they trailed Roscommon by 2-2 to 0-1 inside 12 minutes. They managed to turn things around to lead by a point at half-time, but their performance tailed off badly in the second-half.

Stephen Rochford expertly dealt with the threat of Roscommon midfielder Enda Smith. Keegan was deployed on Smith and closely tracked his runs forward, while haring forward at the far end. Keegan had 1-3 on the board by half-time having utterly dominated his direct opponent.

McStay made a wise move at the interval when he switched Smith to full-forward. As he’d have hoped Keegan followed him inside, which robbed Mayo of their best attacker.

They scored just 0-4 after the interval, but Roscommon didn’t have enough guile in attack to get the extra couple of scores needed to eek out a win. The Murtagh brothers were excellent with 1-4 between them but both were withdrawn by the 62nd minute after lung-bursting displays.

Ciarain Murtagh scores a goal despite the efforts of David Clarke and Colm Boyle Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

In their absence, Donie Smith proved his worth. He kicked two points after his introduction, including a nerve jangling equaliser in the 74th minute.

McStay couldn’t have dreamt up a better start for his side. Inside 12 minutes, they found themselves 2-2 to 0-1 up. Fintan Cregg stole in behind Higgins and rifled a strike past the hapless Clarke for the opening goal in the 9th minute.

The Roscommon supporters had hardly drawn a breath when they were celebrating a second goal. The St Faithleachs brothers combined spectacularly, with Diarmuid feeding the run of Ciarain, who made no mistake from close range.

Mayo were all at sea, but we’ve gone beyond questioning their character at this stage. They scored 1-6 on the bounce to retake control of the game.

Lee Keegan celebrates scoring his sides first goal Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The catalyst for that was Keegan’s outstanding solo goal immediately after Roscommon had moved seven points up. It sailed into the net after wicked deflection from Niall McInerney.

Roscommon retook the lead, 2-7 to 1-9, through Ciarain Murtagh’s free in the 48th minute. Moran and Donie Smith traded scores as we headed for a tense final 10 minutes with the Rossies still leading.

Then Mayo made their push for home. O’Connor and Durcan both found the target, but Donie Smith levelled with a monster free under the Cusack Stand. A grand stand finish saw O’Connor miss four chances to win the game. We go again.

Scorers for Mayo: Lee Keegan 1-3, Cillian O’Connor 0-3 (0-2f), Andy Moran and Paddy Durcan 0-2 each, Colm Boyle and Jason Doherty 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: Ciarain Murtagh 1-2 (0-2f), Fintan Cregg 1-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-2 (0-1f), Donie Smith 0-2 (0-1f), Enda Smith and Conor Devaney 0-1 each.


1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)

2. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
3. Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites)

4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)

18. Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
6. Chris Barrett (Belmulet)
7. Colm Boyle (Davitts)

5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)

10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

22. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)

14. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber, captain)
15. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)


21. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe) for Boyle (51)
13. Conor Loftus (Ballina Stephenites) for Moran (57)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown) for Seamus O’Shea (61)
17. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore) for Diarmuid O’Connor (64)
19. David Drake (Ballaghaderreen) for Doherty (71)


1. Colm Lavin (Éire Óg)

2. Sean McDermott (Western Gaels)
5. Niall McInerney (St. Brigid’s)
4. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)

15. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)

3. John McManus (Roscommon Gaels)
6. Sean Mullooly (Strokestown)
12. Conor Devaney (Kilbride)

10. Tadgh O’Rourke (Tulsk)
9. Enda Smith (Boyle)

8. Fintan Cregg (Elphin)
13. Ciaráin Murtagh (Captain) (St Faithleach’s)
7. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)

11. Cian Connolly (Roscommon Gaels)
14. Diarmuid Murtagh (St. Faithleach’s)


24. Ian Kilbride (St Brigid’s) for O’Rourke (blood sub, 17 – 22)
22. Donie Smith (Boyle) for Connolly (50)
21. Colin Compton (Strokestown) for Ciarain Murtagh (58)
19. Cathal Compton (Strokestown) for Diarmuid Murtagh (62)
24. Kilbride for McDermott (64)
25. Ronan Stack (St Brigid’s) for Devaney (71)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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