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Mayo win breathless Connacht U21 final to claim first title since '09

Liam Irwin notched 1 – 3 for Mayo as they battled back to beat Roscommon by a point.

Mayo's Shairoze Adram, Matthew Ruane and Michael Plunkett celebrate.
Mayo's Shairoze Adram, Matthew Ruane and Michael Plunkett celebrate.
Image: Andrew Paton/INPHO

Mayo 1-11
Roscommon 1-10

IN A GAME that kicked into life as early as the third minute when Diarmuid Murtagh picked up a ball from Cathal Compton and buried it past Matthew Flannagan, it didn’t stop for breath until five minutes of injury time had elapsed at the end of the second half and Mayo had won their 24th EirGrid Connacht U21 title and first in seven years.

Roscommon will be kicking themselves as they looked to have Mayo well under wraps in the first half in Markievicz Park and if Henry Walsh had not missed an open goal 23 minutes in — with his side 1-4 to 0-1 up — they would have won their third Connacht U21 title on the bounce.

But credit to Mayo, they dug in after a terrible start. Led by some excellent performances from the likes of Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor and Liam Irwin they earned their win the hard way.

Roscommon went in leading by 1-6 to 0-4 at the break. In the first half Ultan Harney and Murtagh terrorised the Mayo defence and ran them ragged for long periods. It looked all to easy for them.

Mayo hit the ground running in the second half and kicked the first three scores of the half with Conor Loftus tapping over two frees and Fergal Boland, who put in a top class shift in the second 30 minutes, landing the other from out the park.

Ronan Daly hit his third point of the day with 20 minutes to go and looked to have calmed the Roscommon nerves and struck a blow into the Mayo fightback. However, when Liam Irwin drove over his second and third points of the day from 45m frees tight to the sideline, Mayo believed they could reel in the Rossies.

Mark Daley and Diarmuid OÕConnor Fine margins: Roscommon's Mark Daley scrambles with Mayo's Diarmuid O'Connor. Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

Murtagh and Brian Stack kicked points for Roscommon with Brian Reape responding for Mayo to leave the score at 1-9 to 0-10 in favour of the defending champions with four minutes to go.

Then Irwin pounced, the Breaffy man who wasn’t named in the programme was a late addition to the team after getting over a shoulder injury that kept him out of their semi-final win over Leitrim.

James Carr drove the ball into the danger area and Irwin got in between his man and Regan Fahy in the Roscommon goal and pawed it to the net from close range.

Roscommon showed their fighting spirit and Diarmuid Murtagh levelled the game up as the clock ticked towards injury time. But Mayo kept coming and two minutes into the announced five minutes of injury time, Michael Plunkett who played as a sweeper for Mayo joined the attack and drove the ball over the bar from 35 metres out.

Stephen Coen hugs his mother Mary before he lifts the cup Mayo captain Stephen Coen hugs his mother Mary before he lifts the cup. Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

Scorers

Mayo: Liam Irwin (1-3, 2f, 1 45’), Conor Loftus (0-3, 1f), Fionan Duffy (0-2), Fergal Boland (0-1), Brian Reape (0-1), Michael Plunkett (0-1)

Roscommon: Diarmuid Murtagh (1-4, 2f), Ronan Daly (0-3), Brian Stack (0-1), Henry Walsh (0-1), Ultan Harney (0-1)

Mayo

1. Matthew Flanagan (Balla)

2. Eddie Doran  (Achill)
3. Seamus Cunniffe (Ballaghaderreen)
5. David Kenny (Aghamore)

6. Michael Hall (Breaffy)
9. Stephen Coen (Holllymount-Carramore)
7. Shairoze Akram (Ballaghderreen)

8. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina)
13. Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber)

17. Liam Irwin (Breaffy)
14. Brian Reape (Moy Davitts)
15. Fionan Duffy (Crossmolina)

Subs:
(17) 21. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet) for Doran
(45) 18. James Carr (Ardagh) for Loftus

Roscommon

16. Regan Fahy (Tulsk)

2. Jack Connaughton (Clann na nGael)
3. Sean Mulloly (Strokestown)
4. Fergal Lennon (Clann na nGael)

5. Ronan Daly (Padraig Pearses)
17. Keelan Beirne (Strokestown)
7. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)

8. Tadhg O’Rourke (Tulsk Lord Edwards)
9. Cathal Compton (Strokestown)

10. Kevin Farrell (St Faithleach’s)
11. Henry Walsh (Kilbride)
12. Brian Kelly (Roscommon Gaels)

13. Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
14. Hubert Darcy (Padraig Pearses)
6. Ultan Harney (Clann na nGael)

Subs:

(30) 18. Mark Daly (St Brigid’s)  for Mullolly (BC),
(35) 22. Ronan Rafertry (Castlerea St Kevins) for Compton (Inj)
(46) 15. Cathal Callinan (Clann na nGael) for  Kelly
(58) 20. Kevin Smith  (St Cronans) for Walsh

Referee: James Molloy (Galway)

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