Mayo bowed out of the Connacht u21 championship at the preliminary round stage in McHale Park in Castlebar after Roscommon dug in and ground out a hard fought win in the closing stages. Aidan O'Shea who captained Mayo, put in a monumental effort in the middle of the park for Mayo. He was rewarded for his efforts with the man of the match award, but that will be of little consolation to the Breaffy man who drove on his side throughout and he deserved much more for his efforts over the sixty minutes.
Mayo looked to have the game going in their favour when Darren Coen scored his second point of the game with five minutes to go to put Mayo into a 0-9 to 0-8 lead. But it wasn't to be as the defending champions dug in and three points from the boots of Cathal Shine, Nial Daly and Scott Oates saw them get over the line. Any of the three final points from Roscommon were worthy game winners, with Shine arcing the ball over the bar from a tight angle, Daly bombing up from the half back line to drive an inspirational score and Oates showing cool nerves to slot over a tricky free.
It was a case of same old failings for Mayo, despite having the majority of the possession in the second half they failed to convert it into enough scores to put them into a commanding position on the scoreboard.
Mayo were effected by the loss of Kevin Keane with what looked like a nasty knee injury midway through the first half. The teak tough Westport defender's forced withdrawal saw Mayo have to reshuffle the defence and end up with back six of Keith Rodgers, Shane McHale and Eoin Reilly in the full back line and Caolan Crowe, Danny Kirby and Michael Forde in the half back-line.
Roscommon started off the game the better and went into a early 0-2 to 0-0 lead thanks to a brace of frees from Shane Regan. Mayo got their first score on the board thanks to a Cillian O'Connor point from a free after O'Shea charged at the Roscommon defence before he was hauled down. Ten minutes before the break it was 0-3 to 0-2 in Roscommon's favour with O'Shea getting Mayo's score after a powerful run through the middle of the Roscommon defence. Roscommon were more economical with their chances as the first half wound to a conclusion and led by 0-6 to 0-2 at one stage with, Scott Oates, Darren McDermott and a great score from Paddy Brogan keeping them in front. Mayo did cut the gap to two points at the break with O'Connor and O'Shea getting their second scores of the half to keep Mayo in touch at the break.
Darren Coen came on at the break for Mayo and made an instant introduction and clipped the ball over the bar from close range just after the restart. O'Connor leveled the game up two minutes later, but Roscommon came straight back at Mayo with a brace of pointed frees from Regan putting them two points into the lead again with 20 minutes to go. Mayo dug in with O'Shea commanding midfield and O'Connor making a number of darting runs for the ball from the full forward line. O'Connor had two chances to score from frees that were well within his range, the first one he pushed wide and the second he dropped into the keepers hands. He did get his range right at the third time of asking to make it 0-8 to 0-7 with 13 minutes left. James Cafferty who came on to replace Danny Geraghty pulled Mayo level two minutes later with fine score on the run. Mayo had a chance to put the ball in the back of the net shortly after with first Shane Nally and then Michael Forde seeing their shots blocked by the Roscommon defence. With five minutes left on the clock Coen put Mayo into the lead for the first time but they weren't able to hold on as a hungry Roscommon side dug in a victory that will set them up well for their semi-final against Leitrim.
Mayo: R Hennelly; S McHale, K Keane, K Rodgers; C Crowe, D Kirby, E O'Reilly; A O'Shea (0-2 ), D Geraghty; M Forde, C Freeman, A Farrell; C Dempsey, S Nally, C O'Connor (0-4,3f ). Subs: A Walsh, D Coen (0-2 ), J Cafferty (0-1 ), F Durkin
Roscommon: N Connaughton; N Byrne, C Duignan, C Cafferkey; E Bannon, N Daly (0-1 ), P Brogan (0-1 ); E Stritch, A Feehily; B Murtagh, S Oates (0-2,1f ), S Regan (0-4 ); C Campton, C Shine (0-1 ), D McDermott (0-2 ). Subs: M Higgins, D Clabby, N Collins, N Kilroy