Tyrone 3-10 Mayo 0-16
It's not often that a Mayo team will come to Croke Park, score 16 points and go home defeated. But that's the fate that befell Tony Duffy's young charges in Croke Park on Sunday. With eleven minutes gone in the second half they led by 0-14 to 1-4 and looked to be well on their way to booking their place in the All Ireland final. But Tyrone hit them with a blitzkrieg of scores in the final third of the game to run out eventual three point winners.
It was a case of goals win games and the three that Tyrone plundered were the deciding factors. Mayo could have snatched a draw right at the death when Danny Kirby picked up a loose ball inside the Tyrone penalty area but his effort was blocked on the line to deny Mayo a second bite at the cherry.
The Ulster champions went into the game as red hot favorites, but Mayo didn't just come up to Dublin to make up the numbers and they went for the game from start with a hunger and determination that rocked Tyrone. But at the end of the day, you can't escape the fact that in the third quarter Mayo played a hand in their own eventual downfall. Between the 11th and 25th minute Mayo conceded 2-4 without reply and this was the period where the game was lost. Tyrone, pulled an extra man into the middle of the field and the breaks started falling their way. Mayo were slow to come to terms with the change in tactic and Tyrone drove forward in numbers in support of their men with the ball. Bad decision making when the pressure came on cost Mayo scores, Ronan Ó'Néil's point after Richard Donnelly's goal on 42 minutes being a prime example, when sloppy play from the kick out gave him the scoring chance. Then ten minutes later Paul Mannion and Brendan Harrison got in all kinds of trouble when they tried a quick free that allowed John McCullagh to point from the right hand side.
Mayo had gone seven points clear after 41 minutes when Tyrone grabbed their second goal of the game, the ball was played across the Mayo 21 yard line and a quick hand pass sent Richard Donnelly clear to drive the ball to the back of Mannion's net. Six minutes later the seven point lead was wiped out when Ryan Devlin won the ball out in front of the Cusack Stand, from a break off Ó'Néil. He played it along the deck into the path of Dara Donnelly who filcked up the ball on the run before driving the ball to the back off the net. A minute later and Ó'Néil pointed from out on the left to put Tyrone back into a lead they hadn't held since the first half and they wouldn't give up.
But it wasn't all bad for Mayo, Jack McDonnell, Darren Coen, Cillian O'Connor and Danny Kirby all put in good performances with McDonnell and Coen taking much of the attacking burden off O'Connor who was singled out for special treatment from the Tyrone rear guard. But it was at the back where Mayo's problems really lay, the full back line were always under pressure from Tyrone even when Mayo were on top in the contest.
Mayo raced into a three point lead at the start of the game thanks to a brace of scores from O'Connor and Jack McDonnell. The Ulster champions hit back with a sublime goal from Ó'Néil who won a high ball in over the head of Harrison, shook off another challenge and applied a deft left footed finish to pull his side level. They followed that up with points from John McCullagh, Richard Donnelly and Ó'Néil to go into a three point lead after 17 minutes. But from then on in, it was all Mayo until the half time whistle. Duffy's men rattled off seven unanswered points in the closing 13 minutes with Cian Costello, Michael Forde and Darren Coen running riot. Coen's two points inside a minute of each other were both fine efforts. The first he sold a perfect dummy to his man before drilling the ball over the bar from out on the left and his second a huge effort from 50 meters out. Mayo tails were up and an overlapping Ryan Quirke slotted over a beauty of an effort from the Cusack stand side with O'Connor and Jack McDonnell rounding off the scoring.
Mayo opened the second half as they finished the first outscoring Tyrone by 0-4 to 0-1 inside the opening 11 minutes with O'Connor grabbing two and Coen and McDonnell both landing good individual points.
But from then on in, things started to unravel as Tyrone upped their game and Mayo were unable to respond as the Ulster champions went on to book their place in the All Ireland final. At the end it all had the feel of a game that Mayo left behind.
Mayo: C O'Connor (0-6,4f ), D Coen (0-3 ), J McDonnell (0-3 ), M Forde (0-1 ), R Quirke (0-1 ), C Costello (0-1 ), J Shaughnessy (0-1 )
Tyrone: R Ó'Néil (1-4 ), R Donnelly (1-2 ), D Donnelly (1-1 ), J McCullagh (0-2 ), S Tierney (0-1 )
Mayo: P Mannion; B Harrison, N Freeman, C Twomey; R Quirke, C Walsh, C Horan; D Kirby, C Costello; F Durkan, M Forde; S Kelly; J McDonnell, D Coen, C O'Connor. Subs: M Regan for C Twomey (47 ), A Leonard for S Kelly (47 ), J Shaughnessy for C Costello (55 ), D Durkan for J McDonnell (57 )
Tyrone: M McReynolds; S McGarrity, C Clarke, H P McGeary; N Sludden, M Donaghy, C Grugan; R Donnelly, T Canavan, R Devlin; S Tierney, J McCullagh, R Ó'Neill. Subs P McNulty for M Donaghy (26- Blood Sub, full sub at half time ), D Donnelly for T Canavan (38 ), L Girvin for Óg Conlon (43 ), Óg Conlon for Grugan (56 ), R Lynch for McGeary (62 )
Ref:Rory Hickey (Clare )