Connacht Minor Football Championship Semi-Final
In Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, Castlebar
A Tom Lydon point in the very final seconds of stoppage time saw defending champions Mayo book a Connacht final showdown with Galway, after a thrilling clash with Roscommon, in Castlebar, on Friday evening.
Twelve points had separated the teams when they met during the round-robin phase but the Rossies, despite the absence of suspended top scorer Niall Heneghan, made light of their underdogs tag to push the home side all the way.
Mayo had been quick out of the blocks, moving 0-4 to 0-1 ahead inside nine minutes, but they were soon punished for standing off a Roscommon team who struck 1-3 in quick succession, the 20th minute goal a result of a route one delivery into full-forward Ruairi Kilcline who held off his marker to slot past Mayo ‘keeper Conor Meaney into the bottom left corner. A point on the stroke of half-time by John Curran, a late call-up, handed Roscommon a one-point lead, albeit Mayo had a breeze advantage to come.
Goals by Darragh Beirne and Josh Carey in the 42nd and 46th minutes looked like they might propel the Green and Red to a comfortable victory, however, Roscommon roared back into contention, a goal by centre-back Eoghan Carthy levelling the game at 2-10 apiece with five minutes to play. But in an end-to-end finale, Tom Lydon was to kick Mayo’s final three points of the game, all of them from play, the winner brilliantly curled over in the third minute of added time.
Mayo and Galway will meet next Friday in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland MFC final. The Tribesmen shaded this season’s group game between the teams by one point.
See Tuesday’s edition of the Western People for a full match report and reaction.