Debutant Brian Reape grabbed what turned out to be the match-winning goal in the 65th minute as Mayo pipped Roscommon in this local derby on a rain-soaked night in Castlebar.
A gale-force wind and driving rain spoiled the game as a spectacle for the crowd of 10,941, but James Horan’s Mayo side did just enough to grind out a rare home win.
A 74th minute goal from Roscommon’s Shane Killoran did provide some late drama, but time ran out on the visitors.
They made life extremely difficult for Mayo for long spells, and looked like pulling off a shock win at one stage.
But Anthony Cunningham’s men paid the price for going almost 40 minutes without a score either side of half-time.
The new Roscommon manager was without over a dozen members of last year’s squad due to retirements, injuries and players being unavailable due to exams, work commitments and travel plans.
Roscommon lead Mayo by 0-5 to 0-1 at the break in a blustery MacHale Park. Check out the half-time highlights here on GAANOW! pic.twitter.com/7Ua0oIqNW4— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 26, 2019
As a result, he could only call on four of the team that started last summer’s Connacht Final defeat to Galway.
However, Roscommon played with the aid of the elements in the first half and deservedly led at the break by 0-5 to 0-1.
Colin Compton, Enda Smith (free), Shane Killoran and Donie Smith all hit the target, while Cathal Cregg had to be content with a point after a flying save from Rob Hennelly.
GOAL for Roscommon! Shane Killoran’s shot is deflected into the net pic.twitter.com/huqw9MCG0D— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 26, 2019
Mayo’s only score in that opening half came from an Evan Regan free in the third minute, as the homeside failed miserably to come to terms with the atrocious conditions.
But James Horan’s troops produced a much better second half display, outscoring the Rossies by 1-7 to 1-2.
Man of the match Jason Doherty landed three points while Diarmuid O’Connor, Donie Vaughan, Paddy Durcan and Brendan Harrison also got on the scoresheet.
Paddy Durcan is on the end of a quick Mayo free to send the ball over the bar pic.twitter.com/bxtormWbA4— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 26, 2019
Roscommon finished with 14 men after sub’ Ultan Harney was booked twice in a matter of minutes in the closing stages.
This was a sixth successive victory for Mayo over their neighbours in this competition, an unbeaten run stretching all the way back to 1988.
In fact, Roscommon’s last win over Mayo in a meaningful game was the 2001 Connacht Final.
Anthony Cunningham’s experimental squad must now try and regroup for the visit of Monaghan to Dr Hyde Park next Sunday.
This was just a fourth home win for Mayo in the National League in 11 matches, and sets them up nicely for a trip to take on All-Ireland finalists Tyrone next Sunday.
GOAL for Mayo! Brian Reape finds the net on his league debut pic.twitter.com/L7ruZrx5WK— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 26, 2019
Mayo: R Hennelly; E O’Donoghue, B Harrison (0-1), K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan (0-1); D O’Connor (0-1), D Vaughan (0-1); F Boland, A O’Shea, J Doherty (0-3, 2fs); E Regan (0-1, 1f), B Reape (1-0), C Diskin.
Subs used: A Moran for Boland (HT); S Coen for Vaughan (68); F McDonagh for Diskin (72); J McCormack for Boyle (inj, 73).
Roscommon: D O’Malley; G Patterson, C Daly, E McGrath; C Hussey, N Daly, R Daly; T O’Rourke, E Smith (0-1, 1f); N Kilroy, C Compton (0-1), S Killoran (1-1); D Smith (0-1), C Lennon, C Cregg (0-1).
Subs used: U Harney (0-1) for Lennon (HT); H Darcy for Cregg (61); D Neary for McGrath (65); C Fitzmaurice for O’Rourke (68).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)