The Mayo minors didn't disappoint on Sunday, when they put on a top billing performance despite being the under-card for the seniors battle later in the afternoon with Tyrone. From the throw in Mayo were the hungrier and harder working team and took the game to the Ulster champions from all corners of the field, with wing back and man of the match Michael Hall opening the scoring early doors following a unchecked run down the field. Monaghan tried to throw a curve ball into the proceedings with at least half a dozen positional switches from the team named in the program but that didn't put Mayo off one bit. Captain Stephen Coen, doubled Mayo's lead three minutes in; before Monaghan pulled the game level through a pointed 45 from goalkeeper Conor Forde and free from Barry McGinn. Mayo goalkeeper Mark Mulligan pulled off the first of a couple of smart saves to put the ball out for the 45 that led to Forde's score. Mayo put themselves four points clear by the 13th minute with Darragh Doherty, Liam Irwin, Coen again and Michael Plunkett all finding their shooting boots. Doherty made it 0-7 to 0-2 with a fine score after he rolled his man to create some space for himself to shoot.
Monaghan did strike the first goal of the game ten minutes before the break after they had tacked on a couple of pointed frees by David McAllister, when a long ball in was missed by the Mayo full back line and Conor McCarthy got in on goal and drove it low past Mulligan. But Mayo responded in almost immediately and Conor Loftus picked up a loose ball after Doherty challenged Forde in the air for a high ball in and Loftus was able to steady himself and drive it low past a Monaghan defender on the line to the back of the net.
The goal gavlanised Mayo and Pádraig Prendergast who replaced Cian Hanley who looks to have picked up a nasty shoulder injury, won a free close into goal which was converted by Liam Irwin. Loftus Doherty added on two more points before the break to send Mayo in leading by 1-10 to 1-6.
Mayo hit the ground running right from the off in the second half and Doherty in particular had a storming opening couple of minutes kicking two sweet scores to push Mayo's lead out even more. Four minutes into the half and Mayo struck their second goal when Michael Plunkett followed in a effort from Prendergast that dropped short and Forde spilled giving the Ballintubber man an easy finish from close range to put Mayo into a 2-12 to 1-7 lead and more or less assure them of their place in the All Ireland final. From then on in it was more or less plain sailing for Enda Gilvarry's men, Liam Irwin kicked a great score less than a minute after the goal and Darragh Doherty rounded off his performance with his fourth point from play shortly afterwards. Mayo kept the foot down and the scores ticking over with Prendergast kicking a brace, Plunkett adding another and man of the match Michael Hall scoring his second point of the day. With six minutes left on the clock the man they call Tommy 'Goals' in Kiltane added the finishing touch with a cracking finish to the top of the net after breaking in from the right hand side and put the final touch of gloss on the Mayo performance and they can now look forward to another date in Croke Park on September 22.
Mayo: M Mulligan, E Doran, S Cunniffe, D Kenny, M Hall (0-2 ), S Coen (0-2 ), S Conlon, V Roughneen, D O’Connor, C Loftus (1-1 ), M Plunkett (1-2 ), C Hanley, D Doherty (0-4 ), L Irwin (0-3, 2f ), T Conroy (1-2 ).
Subs: P Prendergast (0-2 ) for Hanley, C Byrne (0-1 ) for Doherty, R Finn for Doran, J Langan for Plunkett, F Duffy for Irwin
Monaghan: C Forde (0-1, ’45 ), S Treanor, K Loughran, P McArdle, A Kieran, R McAnespie (0-1 ), M Murnaghan, M Brown, M Magee, M O’Dowd, A Curran, D Ward, C McCarthy (1-4 ), D McAllister (0-3, 3f ), F McMahon (0-2, 1f ).
Subs: D Meegan for Brown, N Loughman for Kieran, B McGinn for O’Dowd, C Martin for McArdle, A Treanor (0-1 ) for S Treanor
Ref: A Nolan (Wicklow ).