Mayo 1-11 Roscommon 1-10
By John Fallon
Roscommon paid a big price for not putting Mayo away when they had ample opportunities to do so in the Connacht U-21 football final played in wet conditions at Markievicz Park.
Roscommon were chasing their title in a row and looked set to achieve it when they raced six points clear after just eight minutes.
Mayo finally got moving but while they still trailed by five points at the break, they never lost sight of the champions and then came with their late rally.
Liam Irwin produced the decisive score for Mayo when he struck a late goal to rescue them in a dramatic finish.
Mayo did not lead until three minutes from time when Irwin fisted home a goal after a cross from James Carr to put them in front for the first time in the game.
Man of the match Diarmuid Murtagh hit back and levelled for Roscommon as the game slipped into stoppage time.
But Mayo, bidding for their 24th crown and first since 2009, finished in style and Michael Plunkett struck the winner in the second minute of stoppage time.
The score broke Roscommon’s hearts as their hopes of a first ever underage three in a row were dashed in dramatic circumstances.
They looked to be on their way when Murtagh shot to the net in the third minute as the champions raced into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead after just eight minutes.
Roscommon led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the interval but Mayo cut the gap after the restart and managed to stay in touching distance before coming with their late surge to snatch the title in the dying moments of a game played in difficult conditions.
Scorers for Mayo: L Irwin 1-3 (0-2f, 0-1 '45); C Loftus 0-3 (0-3f); F Duffy 0-2; M Plunkett, F Boland & B Reape 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh 1-4 (0-2f); R Daly 0-3; U Harney, B Stack & H Walsh 0-1 each.
Mayo: M Flanagan; D Kenny, S Cunniffe, E Doran; M Hall, S Coen, S Akram; D O’Connor, M Ruane; M Plunkett, C Loftus, F Boland; L Irwin, B Reape, F Duffy.
Subs: E O’Donoghue for Doran (18), J Carr for Loftus (45).
Roscommon: R Fahy; J Connaughton, S Mullolly, K Beirne; F Lennon, U Harney, B Stack; T O’Rourke, C Compton; K Farrell, H Walsh, B Kelly; D Murtagh, H Darcy, R Daly.
Subs: M Daly for Mullolly (30), R Raftery for Compton (36), C Callinan for Kelly (46), K Smith for Walsh (58).
Referee: J Molloy (Galway).