A piece of individual brilliance by two minutes into the second half by Evan Regan kickstarted Mayo’s drive towards their second league win of the season. Regan was picked out by Tom Parsons in the right hand corner of the pitch, the Ballina sharpshooter looked to be in trouble on more than one occasion, but he managed to create enough space for himself to beat two men and fire the ball low past Geoffrey Claffey and put Mayo into a six point lead.
Up to that goal, it looked like Mayo’s wayward shooting in the first half could come back to haunt them in this game. Mayo played with the aid of a massive breeze into the graveyard end of the ground in the opening period, but had only six points to show for their efforts and ten wides in the opening 35 minutes.
Regan got the scoreboard moving with just over a minute gone when he slipped the ball over after being picked out by Conor O’Shea. Two minutes later Diarmuid O’Connor nearly got in for a goal after the Ballintubber man burnt Fintan Cregg for pace down the outside and was in on goal only for Claffey to pull off a good save and sent it out for a 45.
Up stepped Robbie Hennelly who slammed the ball over the bar from the resulting 45 and put Mayo two the good. With less than ten minutes gone on the clock Mayo were three clear after Conor O’Shea steered the ball over the bar after some good build up work saw Alan Freeman set him up.
Mayo got their fourth score in the game 22 minutes in when Alan Freeeman slotted over a free from close range. Mayo had dominated the possession since the get go and were winning Roscommon’s kick-out with ease, but they were failing to convert it into scores on the board. Not long after Freeman’s score, the home side finally got on the scoreboard when Conor Devaney applied a nice finish from out on the stand side of the field.
The resulting kick-out from Robbie Hennelly flew well past the midfield area and was picked up by Diarmuid O’Connor, he moved the ball quickly into Conor O’Shea who had got in on goal by this effort was blocked and ended up being put over the line off a Roscommon leg. Hennelly stepped up and put Mayo into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead.
Mayo had another goal chance after a long range Hennelly free dropped shot and Alan Freeman got a flick on the ball to direct it goalwards, Claffey stretched to his right and pulled off a great save to keep the ball out. The resulting 45 drifted wide but another pointed Freeman free had Mayo four clear five minutes before the break.
Roscommon cut the gap back to just three points not long after when Ciaran Murtagh converted a close range free after he’d been fouled by Chris Barrett. The gap was back to two points just before the turn around when Murtagh hit one from play after being found by a probing Cathal Cregg ball and Murtagh beat two Mayo defenders before putting the ball between the posts leaving the score Mayo 0-6 to Roscommon’s 0-4 at the short whistle.
Mayo opened the scoring in the second half through Freeman’s third free after he’d been fouled close in on goal and two miuntes later Regan had the ball in the back of the net and Mayo were six points clear. That lead was stretched out to seven in the 39th minute when Regan pointed from tight to the Dublin Road side of the ground after Aidan O’Shea was hauled down.
Mayo lost Ger Cafferkey to injury in the 45th minute, having previously lost Donal Vaughan to injury at the break. Paddy Durcan who replaced Vaughan at the turn around put Mayo into a 1-9 to 0-4 lead in the 46th minute after he’d played a neat one-two with Conor O’Shea, down the right hand side of the field. Mayo stretched their lead out to nine points 17 minutes into the second half through a Regan free and looked to be home and hosed. But there was a kick in the Roscommon tail still left waiting to lash out. Fintan Cregg pointed a free 12 minutes from time and 120 seconds later they had the ball in the back of the Mayo net, when Diarmuid Murtagh who had just come on found himself isloated one-on-one with a Mayo defender and he fired the ball at pace past Robbie Hennelly from a tight angle to leave the score 1-10 to 1-5 with plenty or time left. Mayo’s lead was cut back to three points with three minutes left thanks to scores from Conor Deveany and Diarmuid Murtagh, but Mayo nerves were steadied when Cillian O’Connor making a welcome first appearance of the year slotted over a free to keep Mayo four clear and just that bit in front and send them home with two vital points.
Mayo:E Regan 1-3 (2f ), A Freeman 0-3 (3f ), R Hennelly 0-2 (2’45 ), C O’Shea 0-1, P Durcan 0-1, C O’Connor 0-1 (1f ).
Roscommon: D Murtagh 1-1, C Murtagh 0-3 (2f ), C Devaney 0-2, F Cregg 0-1 (1f )
Mayo: R Hennelly; B Harrision, G Cafferkey, C Barrett; L Keegan, C Boyle, D Vaughan; T Parsons, S O’Shea; D O’Connor, A O’Shea, A Freeman; E Regan, J Doherty, C O’Shea. Subs: P Durcan for D Vaughan, S Coen for G Cafferkey, C O’Connor for C O’Shea, A Dillon for A Freeman (BC ), D Drake for D O’Connor, J Gibbons for J Doherty
Roscommon: G Claffey; S McDermott, N Collins, N McInerney; D Murray, S Purcell, C Daly, I Kilbride, E Smith; C Devanney, C Murtagh, F Cregg; C Cregg, J McManus, N Kilroy. Subs: C Compton for I Kilbride, S Mulloly for J McManus, D Murtagh for C Daly, R Daly for C Devaney, J McDermott for E Smith.
Ref: M Deegan (Laois )