Minors are still in the game

Minors edged out in Connacht final, but All-Ireland quarter-final awaits

Electric Ireland Connacht MFC Final
Roscommon 0-10 0-14 Mayo

Mayo were crowned Connacht Minor Football champions for the third year in a row after a hard-earned victory over a promising Roscommon team at Dr Hyde Park last Friday.

The home side could have spoilt Mayo’s party, producing a valiant performance which saw them well in the game heading into the final quarter. However, a few Roscommon mistakes proved costly. The home side coughed up possession to the visitors too often late on, and the issuing of a black card to their goalkeeper, Patrick Gaynor, added to their woes. Although Mayo didn’t fully capitalise on these errors, kicking some poor wides late on, they held James Duignan’s men at bay and were deserving of their four-point victory.

After Mayo full-forward Oisin Deane opened the scoring, Roscommon responded with a fine Dean Casey point. The home side kicked direct ball into the full-forward line throughout the first half, which resulted in points for John Curran and Alan Conroy. Mayo kicked some fine scores of their own through Conor Moriarty and sharpshooter Kobe McDonald. The perfect underfoot conditions allowed McDonald to thrive from placed balls as he finished with five converted frees and 0-6 in total.

Mayo looked to be heading into the interval one point to the good, but after an excellent turnover further back, Stephen Tighe produced a stunning effort with the outside of his right boot to leave the scores at 0-5 apiece at half-time.

The second half started with a flurry of scores for both sides. John Curran fired over the opening score of the half after a brilliant catch by Shay McGuinness inside. Oisin Deane and Evan Walsh tagged on scores for the visitors, but a classy point from Dean Casey meant there was nothing to separate the sides 38 minutes in. Then errors began to creep into Roscommon’s play, and Mayo took advantage. Scores from Deane and half-time substitute Andrew Quinn followed a superb 55m free from McDonald.

McDonald was well marshalled throughout the game by Roscommon captain Keelan Kelly, but Mayo’s ace was flawless from placed balls, and he struck another monster free from 50m on 54 mins.

The decisive moment in the contest was when Roscommon goalkeeper Patrick Gaynor received a black card, dragging substitute Joe Forry to the ground after losing possession. Instead of bringing on substitute goalkeeper Cillian Hussey, it was decided that wing-forward Alan Conroy should go in goal. Mayo squandered a couple of late chances but frees from McDonald and Deane kept the Rossies at bay.

Mayo now go on to play Cork, and Roscommon will lock horns with Munster Champions Kerry, with both games to be played on the weekend of the 8th/9th June.

There were plenty of positives to take from the Roscommon performance, most notably their policy of kicking direct ball into the full-forward line. James Duignan’s team showcased a great brand of heads-up football and their pace in transition was brilliant to watch. They will certainly go into the Kerry game with confidence, looking to build on a solid provincial campaign.

Mayo: Nathan Roddy; Conor Coghill, Tom Hession, Daithí Butler; David Hurley, Mark Noonan, Mark Sheeran; Josh Moyles, Owen Loughney; Harry McHale, Kobe McDonald (0-6, 5f), Dylan Flynn; Evan Walsh (0-2, 1f), Oisín Deane (0-3), Conor Moriarty (0-1). Subs: Andrew Quinn (0-1) for Moriarty (half-time), Joe Forry (0-1) for McHale (43m).

Roscommon: Patrick Gaynor; Liam Finneran, Gordon Casey, Colin Murray; Eoin Collins, Keelan Kelly, Declan Kennedy; Darragh Devaney, Cathal Enright; Joe McKeon, Dara Curran (0-4, 2f), Alan Conroy (0-1); Stephen Tighe (0-1), Shay McGuinness, Dean Casey (0-1). Subs: Seán McDonnell for McKeon (41m), Martin Connaughton for Kennedy (48m), Samuel Malec-Hannon for Tighe (57m), Michael Brooks for Gordon Casey (58m), Jeffrey Oates for Dean Casey (59m).

Referee: Christopher Ryan (Galway).


Player of the Match

David Hurley (Mayo)