The Mayo minors booked their place in the final four of this years Electric Ireland Minor Football Championship with a impressive victory over beaten Ulster finalists Armagh in Croke Park on Sunday. Enda Gilvarry's side got over a nervy opening 15 minutes to win the game in some style with Bohola Moy Davitts corner forward Brian Reape bagging himself two second half goals to seal the win with 20 minutes to go in GAA headquarters.
It was the Ulster men who opened the scoring through centre half-forward Oisín O'Neill who drove the ball over Matthew Flanagan's bar 30 seconds into the encounter. Mayo leveled the game up in the second minute when Matthew Ruane pointed after he played a one-two with Sharoize Akram from a quick free inside the Armagh half. That score was quickly responded to by the Orchard County when midfielder Ryan McKeown effort scraped over the bar from distance. Enda Gilvarry's side leveled the contest up on the five minute mark when Gary Boylan landed one from out the country. Mayo should have found the back of the net for the first time seven minutes in, after Boylan made a burst down the Cusack Stand side of the field, leaving his man for dead, but he miss-controled the ball at the vital moment and Armagh captain Caolán McConville was able to wrestle the ball from his grasp. Mayo captain Cian Hanley slotted over a free to put his side into the lead for the first time on the eight minute mark and Mayo began to start to dominate the game, but also started to notch up a number of wides. Hanely had a great chance for a goal ten minutes in but he pulled his effort past the near post.
Armagh leveled up the contest 13 minutes before the break through a Ryan Hughes free. Hanley responded for Mayo three minutes later with a point from play after TJ Byrne slipped him in behind the cover. Nine minutes before the break Matthew Ruane won an Armagh kick-out and powered towards goal, the Breaffy man however screwed his shot wide of the post. Armagh went straight back up the field and Jarlath Óg Burns tied the contest up for the last time at 0-4 to 0-4. Not long after that score, Castlebar Mitchels Seán Conlon had to make a finger tip interception to cut out the ball in front of his goal and stop a potential Armagh three-pointer.
Mayo moved the ball up the field at speed from that interception and centre half back Barry Duffy landed a point to put Gilvarry's men back into the lead. Two minutes later the vital score of the game came when Fionán Duffy combined with Cian Hanely and the Mayo captain played in the Crossmolina man who rounded Ryan Kearney in the Armagh goal and drove it to the back of the net. Brian Reape tacked on another point quickly after he was set up by the industrious Akram and Mayo went in leading by 1-6 to 0-4 at the turn around.
Mayo started the second half with a bang, thanks to two quick points from Duffy and when Seán Conlon faked to shoot and instead played in Brian Reape behind the cover for his first goal that was the game done and dusted. Reape added on another goal with a smart finish from close range on the 40 minute mark and Mayo were cruising and the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion, with both sides running the full complement from the bench before the end. Mayo head on to the All Ireland semi-final on August 24 and who'd bet against Enda Gilvarry bringing his team to a second successive All Ireland final at this stage.
Mayo:B Reape 2-1, F Duffy 1-2, C Hanley 0-3(1f ), M Ruane 0-1, G Boylan 0-1, B Duffy 0-1, TJ Byrne 0-1, S Conlon 0-1, C Byrne 0-1, O Horan 0-1.
Armagh: O O’Neill 0-4 (3f ), R McKeown 0-1, R Hughes 0-1 (1f ), J Burns 0-1, C McConville 0-1, C Grimley 0-1
Mayo: M Flangan; C Kilkenny, S Cunniffe, E O'Donoghue; J Forkan, B Duffy, S Conlon; G Walsh, M Ruane; G Boylan, C Hanley, S Akram; F Duffy, TJ Byrne, B Reape. Subs: S Brennan for C Kilkenny, D Clarke for J Forkan, K Hopkins for M Ruane, C Byrne for G Boylan, O Horan for S Conlon, L Byrne for F Duffy
Armagh: R Kearney; F Quinn, A Rushe, C Donnelly; P Judge, C McIkinney, C McNicholl; J Burns, R McKeown; J Rafferty, O O'Neill, K Mallon; R Hughes, S Conlon, C McConville. Subs: C Cullen for R McKeown, C Higgins for P Judge, C Grimley for S Conlon, C Murphy for C McNicholl, P Quinn for R Hughes, C Boylan for K Mallon
Ref: P Neilan (Roscommon )