For the first time in four years the Mayo minors won't be in the Connacht final this year. Tony Duffy's side were out-fought and out-thought by a hungry and efficient Roscommon side in McHale Park on Sunday afternoon. The game itself threw in two minutes ahead of the appointed time of 12 noon and the early start caught Roscommon cold. With barley ten seconds gone on the clock the ball was let in on top of the Roscommon defence and it fell to Evan Regan who applied a neat finish to the back of the net.
Minutes later Mayo had a legitimate shout for a penalty turned down by referee Ray McBrien when James Shaughnessy was upended en route to goal, the Leitrim man decided to award a 13m free instead. The placed ball was slotted between the uprights by Regan to put Mayo 1-1 to 0-0 up after only three minutes action. The good start however wasn't to be a signal of dominance by Mayo in this tie. Five minutes into the game, Roscommon landed their first goal of the game, Thomas Corcoran lofted a deft ball over the back of the Mayo rearguard and Enda Smith collected the ball at full tilt. The wing forward made no mistake with his finish driving it past Shane Strogen in the Mayo goal. The game was leveled up in the tenth minute when Donal Smith showed a neat turn to create the inch of space he needed, before he drove the ball over the bar with aplomb. Evan Regan and Corcoran swapped points before the visitors took the game by the scruff of the neck after the midway point of the first half.
Donal Smith slammed the ball over the bar from a free from distance, then Corcoran punished Mayo from a placed ball after a Mayo defender over-carried as he tried to break out of defence. With five minutes left in the half, Roscommon plundered their second goal of the contest, Donal Smith shook off the attention of Pádraig O'Hora to win the ball out in front of his marker. He then showed a neat turn to create some space before hammering the ball to the back of the net. Mayo did respond with two late points through Anthony Jordan and James Shaughnessy, but they were hit with a moral sapping blow just before the break when Donal Smith kicked his sides fifth point of the half to hault the Mayo fight back.
If Mayo were to have any chance in this game they knew they had to start the second half well. They did get the first score of the second half through Ryan Quirke who drove a free over the bar from 45m out. But Roscommon weren't going to let Mayo back into this contest if they could help it. Fintan Kelly clipped over a point four minutes into the second half and three minutes later Roscommon delivered the terminal blow to the Mayo challenge. Corcoran picked up the ball close to goal and laid it off to wing back Conor Daly who applied the finish to send Roscommon into a 3-6 to 1-5 lead. Mayo did to their credit fight back, with Ryan Quirke leading the charge, the Claremorris man kicked three more points for Mayo before the end, but it wasn't enough to close the gap. Roscommon rounded off their scoring through two points from Donal Smith before the end to seal their place on Connacht final day alongside their senior team next month.
Mayo:S Strogen; E Collins, A Stutt, P O'Hora; C Horan, S Irwin, A Butler; C O'Shea, G O'Donnell; K Gibbons, R Quirke, A Gallagher; J Shaughnessy, A Jordan, E Regan. Subs: J Rice, O Sweeney, S Hennelly, C Byrne
Roscommon: C Lavin; D Murray, R Timothy, S Carty; M Connaughton, J McManus, C Daly; F Kelly, T Corcoran; L Conlon, D Smith, E Smith; S Jordan, M Healy, E Lannon. Subs: K Finn, R McManus, B Fannon
Ref: R McBrien (Leitrim )