Now down to business
Focus turns to NFL after derby defeat
YOU can rest assured that regardless of where Mayo find themselves at the end of this season, nobody will be pulling this game out of the archives as an example of a watershed moment in the team’s development.
The bare fact is that we were beaten fair and square by a fast-finishing Roscommon who made their superior fitness and conditioning count to book their place in the final of this hardy annual tournament.
A makeshift Mayo outfit, who were sunning themselves in Dubai less than two weeks earlier, looked to have the measure of their old foes for forty minutes.
However, they ‘hit the wall’ spectacularly in the last twenty minutes and were outscored by five points to nil as their challenge wilted in the face of a typical Roscommon onslaught.
Afterwards, James Horan bemoaned his team’s below-par decision-making and lamented their ‘poor’ second half display. He also acknowledged that there is much to be done before the National League throws-in next month.
It is highly likely that he will sustain himself this week with the memories of Shane McHale’s abrasive display, Tom Parson’s stylish interventions in the first half, Andy Moran’s promptings from centre-forward, and another eye-catching audition from the talented Adam Gallagher.
After all, talent spotting and getting ‘dirty petrol’ out of the system are what days like these are all about.
From pillar to post it felt like a typical FBD League engagement; plenty of honest effort, lots of unforced errors, and a few moments to warm the cockles and shorten the journey home.
Mayo supporters certainly enjoyed Aidan O’Shea’s hefty shoulder that sent Roscommon’s Kevin Higgins flying in the first half while the locals were singing the praises of Ciaran Murtagh after his match-winning cameo.
The corner-forward buried a goal seven minutes into the second half that hauled the Rossies back into the game, and he tacked on two further points to finish with 1-3 to his credit.
He also worked well with full-forward Cathal Cregg and the duo caused Mayo plenty of problems in the second half.
The opening period was a different story as Tom Parsons and Aidan O’Shea gave the visitors a platform at midfield and Mayo deservedly led by 0-6 to 0-3 at the change of ends.
Andy Moran (2), Adam Gallagher and Jason Doherty all scored from play while Alan Freeman and Kevin McLoughlin tapped over frees, but a string of other chances got away.
It didn’t look like it would matter when Mayo eased ahead by 0-8 to 0-4 early in the second half after Gallagher and Doherty hit the target again at their ease.
But John Evans has done a lot of work with Roscommon in recent months and that showed in the last twenty minutes.
Murtagh’s goal kickstarted the revival and he tied the game up seconds later.
Another twist in the tale then arrived when Roscommon corner-back Ronan Stack spilled the ball into his own net after Adam Gallagher’s goalbound shot had been deflected up into the air by Darren O’Malley’s save.
Mayo led by three points again, and their luck seemed to be in.
But they never built on that piece of good fortune, and Roscommon rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in.
Points in the 43rd, 45th and 49th minutes from Mark Nally, Cathal Shine and the elusive Ciaran Murtagh hauled them level for a second time.
Then Murtagh’s young brother, Diarmuid, came off the bench to kick Roscommon ahead for the first time ten minutes from time, and not long after midfielder Cathal Shine drove over what turned out to be the insurance score from distance.
Mayo rolled in reinforcements like Keith Higgins, Enda Varley, Jason Gibbons and Cathal Carolan but were unable to find a way back.
And so the shadow-boxing is over for another year.
D O'Malley; N Collins, N Carty, R Stack (1-0. OG); S McDermott, N Daly, C Daly; C Shine (0-2, 1f), K Higgins; C Devaney (0-1, 1f), C Burns, D Keane; S Kilbride (0-1, 1f), C Cregg, C Murtagh (1-4, 1f).
Subs used: M Nally (0-1) for Collins (BC, 29), M Finneran for Kilbride (36), D Murtagh (0-1, 1f) for Devaney (43), D O'Gara for Burns (54), F Cregg for C Murtagh (59).
R Hennelly; K Keane, G Cafferkey, C Boyle; B Harrison, S McHale, D Drake; T Parsons, A O'Shea; D O'Connor, A Moran (0-2), A Gallagher (0-2); K McLoughlin (0-1, 1f), A Freeman (0-1, 1f), J Doherty (0-2).
Subs used: K Higgins for O'Connor (39), E Varley for McLoughlin (44), J Gibbons for Parsons (54), C Carolan for Moran (57).
Referee: E O’Grady (Leitrim)