Saturday, August 28, 2021

A first-ever All-Ireland SFC final clash between Mayo and Tyrone will take place on September 11 after the Red Hands produced a shock victory over Kerry in Saturday’s rescheduled semi-final in Croke Park.

Tyrone’s Conor McKenna celebrates scoring his side’s third goal in their semi-final win against Kerry. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Delayed by two weeks on account of a Covid-19 outbreak among the Tyrone squad, the match was worth the wait from a neutral’s perspective for the drama alone, as Tyrone triumphed by 3-14 to 0-22 after extra-time.

Cathal McShane was among the many heroes for the Ulster champions, coming off the bench to score 1-3 – his goal in the 69th minute helping his side to force a draw at the end of the 70-minutes.

Conor McKenna’s second goal of the match, in the sixth minute of extra-time, helped send Tyrone on their way to victory, however, Kerry substitute Tommy Walsh did have an opportunity to level the match in the final play of extra-time but dragged his effort wide from 30-metres.

The Kingdom had been forced to play all of extra-time without the injured David Clifford, who had scored eight points in normal time.

Tyrone’s Kieran McGeary and Eoghan McLaughlin of Mayo in action during last year’s Division 1 clash in MacHale Park. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Tyrone held a slender 1-7 to 0-9 half-time lead but were forced into a game of catch-up in the second half, helped none by black cards to Niall Sludden and Darren McCurry. But thanks to McShane’s intervention, and McCurry’s four second-half points, they booked themselves a further 20-minutes in which Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher’s team finished out the job.

Mayo manager James Horan was an interested observer in Croke Park. The Green and Red have recorded senior championship wins over Tyrone in semi-finals in 2016, 2013 and 1989 but this will be the first time the counties have met in the final.

It will be an opportunity for Mayo to avenge last year’s defeat to Tyrone in Castlebar which brought to an end their 23-year spell in the top flight.

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