A brace of goals from subs Conor Keane and Sean Gaughan between the 13th and 19th minute sent Mayo back to the All Ireland Junior Football Championship Final for the second year in a row in O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Mayo had led by three at the break, but Wexford reeled off four points on the bounce after the change around to edge into the lead before Mayo’s two goal salvo turned the game in their favour .
After an initial burst of possession, Mayo were on the back foot for most of the opening ten minutes, as Wexford prodded and poked their way around the Mayo defence, but all they had to show for their dominance was a single point from James Stafford after five minutes.
With ten minutes gone on the stopwatch, Darren Coen opened Mayo’s account with a score from tight to the left hand touchline after Andrew Farrell had done well to flick the ball out of the path of a Wexford defender looking to intercept a long ball forward.
Less than a minute later Coen put Mayo in front with a free from the 45m line and two minutes later he had his third point on the board from a free much closer in. The Model county responded with their second score of the game just before the quarter of an hour mark with a point from wing-back Paul Curtis to cut the gap back to the minimum. Right from the kick-out the ball broke to Louisburgh’s Kevin Gibbons who cut through a gap in the Wexford defence before firing it over the bar on the run.
The Leinister champions got the scoreboard moving again their favour when Eoin Roche found space and time to fire one over from distance to leave the score at 0-4 to 0-3 for Mayo with 18 minutes gone. They weren’t able to close the gap back just yet as Mayo upped the gears once more, with Brian Reape kicking a good score on the run after taking a hand pass from Michael Forde nine minutes before the short whistle and team captain Andrew Farrell kicked on from distance to push Mayo three clear again with five minutes to go before the turn around.
Both sides added on one point each before the half time whistle, which came after five minutes of injury time was played following a clash between Matthew Flanagan in the Mayo goal and Wexford full forward Sean Ryan after both men challenged for the ball. The Wexford attacker was forced from the action following treatment on the field. Coen kicked his fourth point of the opening half from a free for Mayo with Niall Harney stroking over a placed ball for Wexford to send Mayo in leading by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.
Wexford burst out of the traps early in the second half and had Mayo’s advantage wiped out and had pushed ahead of them with less than 40 minutes gone on the clock. Niall Harney got their scoring run going with a fine point from play after being set up by James Stafford and Conor Sinnott nailed two frees, before Paul Curtis hit their fourth point on the bounce to put them one clear.
Mayo were struggling to get the ball into their attack, but with 14 minutes gone in the half they finally cut through and hit the back of the net. Darren Coen and Kevin Gibbons linked up to feed the ball to half time sub Conor Keane who rode two tackles before firing the ball high past Tom Hughes. Mayo followed that score up almost instantly with a neat point from play from Darren Coen and they were three points back in front again.
With 11 minutes left on the clock the score that decided they outcome of the game arrived when Coen worked the ball down the inside channel, before switching it to Belmullet’s Sean Gaughan who finished the ball to the net from close range to put Mayo six points clear. That was stretched out to seven when Brian Reape kicked his second of the day seven minutes from time. Wexford did hit two points of their own before the end through another Sinnott free and one from Tom Byrne, but the final word on the day was left to Darren Coen who kicked his fifth of the afternoon in injury time to sent Mayo into the final against Kerry on Saturday, August 6.
Mayo: D Coen (0-6, 3f ), S Gaughan (1-0 ), C Keane (1-0 ), B Reape (0-2 ), K Gibbons (0-1 ), A Farrell (0-1 )
Wexford:C Sinnott (0-3,3f ), N Harney (0-2, 1f ), P Curtis (0-2 ), J Stafford (0-1 ), E Roche (0-1 ), T Byrne (0-1 )
Mayo: M Flanagan; E Doran, N Freeman, E O’Donoghue; B Duffy, J Kelly, J Forkan; P Collins, M Togher; B Reape, M Forde, K Gibbons; D Coen, A Farrell, R Malee. Subs: S Gaughan for J Forkan, C Keane for P Collins, R Doherty for R Mallee, C Reape for B Reape (BC )
Wexford: T Hughes; P O’Keefe, J Bannon, S Bandon; R Barron, S Doyle, P Curtis; G Malone, E Roche; N Harney, J Carty, J Stafford; I Carty, S Ryan, C Sinnott. Subs: T Byrne for E Roche, A Parle for S Ryan, J Firman for S Doyle, J Byrne for A Parle, J O’Connor for I Carty, J Connors for R Barron.
Ref: B Tiernan (Dublin )