When the final whistle is blown all that really matters is the score on the board and ensuring your on the right side of that score, on Saturday afternoon in Ballymahon when Keith Tighe blew his whistle Mayo were the ones on the right side of the difference on the scoreboard. While Kevin Reidy and his players would have hoped that they could have put in a better performance, they at least can console themselves that they have another chance to up their game in the All Ireland semi-final against opposition that will be determined by the outcome of this weekends round of quarter finals.
The previous weekend against Laois offered Mayo a chance to get rid of their hangover from their Connacht final defeat at the hands of Galway, but there was still some of that hangover kicking around in their play last Saturday too. Mayo went in at the break 1-6 to 1-3 down, but being honest it should have been a lot more. Tyrone who were playing with the aid of a very strong breeze on the windswept open plains of Ballymahon managed to kick eleven wides in the opening 30 minutes and if they had converted even half those chances would have left Mayo with a mountain to climb in the last half hour.
Mayo found themselves two points down inside the opening five minutes after Cathy Donnelly and player of the game Gemma Begley landed two early scores. But Mayo's first score of the day was enough to put them into the lead just before the ten minute mark. The ball broke loose inside the Tyrone 14 yard line and Triona McNicholas lashed it to the net from close range. Both sides swapped a few more scores inside the next few minutes and twelve minutes before the turn around Tyrone had retaken the lead on a score line of 1-3 to 1-2 after Joline Donnelly got on the end of a break down the left hand side to plunder Tyrone's only major of the game. Fiona McHale leveled the game up for Mayo on 21 minutes but the Ulster side went on to kick three unanswered points through Cathy Donnelly (twice ) and Joline Donnelly to lead by three at the turn around.
Even though they were three points behind at the break, there was no reason for Mayo not to be confident of clawing back the deficit and over taking the side from O'Neill county if both Emma Mullin and Cora Staunton could use the wind to their advantage in putting scores on the board. Indeed the duo did combine to cut the gap to a single point inside of four minutes, Mullin's score in particular a huge effort from out on the stand side of the field stood out as the score of the day. Tyrone clipped on a point of their own to put the gap back out to two, but then Mayo hit what should have been the decisive score of the contest. Emma Mullin took on a shot for a point which came back off the crossbar into the hands of Sinead Cafferekey who had the easy task of finishing the ball to the back of an empty net to put Mayo in the lead by one point after 39 minutes.
A quick fire point from a Cora Staunton free pushed the lead out to two, but that was the last time Mayo scored for 11 minutes as the Tyrone took control of the contest once again, they rolled off three points unanswered points through a Begley brace and one from Joline Donnelly, before a Cora Staunton point restored parity with nine minutes to go and seemingly leave the game on a knife edge. But the Carnacon star wasn't done yet, Noelle Tierney, Natasha Beegan and Triona McNicholas all combined well to get the ball up to Staunton in the danger area, but she still had a lot of work to do before she manufactured a goal scoring chance for herself, which she took with aplomb. Both sides went toe to toe on the scoreboard after hitting two points each, but Mayo had to rely on Yvonne Byrne for ensuring that held on. The Hollymount keeper' pulled off a great save from Orla O'Neill to keep Tyrone at bay with only minutes left on the clock, it was the second time in the game that Byrne was called on to pull off a great save.
Mayo: Y Byrne; A Loftus, N Tierney, N Hurst; N Beegan, C Egan, K Sullivan; M Carter, S Hughes; S Cafferkey (1-1 ), F McHale (0-1 ), L Cafferkey; E Mullin (0-2 ), T McNicholas (1-0 ), C Staunton (1-5, 4f ). Subs: C O'Hara for S Cafferkey (59 mins )
Tyrone: S Mc Veigh; M Kelly, L McGillion, S McLaughlin; R Rafferty, M Donnelly, M Gallagher; S Quinn, S Donnelly; C Dooher, G Begley (0-3,1f ), L Donnelly (0-1 ); J Donnelly (1-6,2f ), S Connelly, C Donnelly (0-2 ). Subs: N McAula for Dooher (34 mins; inj ), O O'Neill for C Donnelly (53 mins; inj ), N Murphy for Connelly (54 mins )
Ref: K Tighe (Dublin )