Mortimer hat-trick sends Mayo into semi against Galway

BITTER rivals Kerry helped save Tyrone from Division Two football after a thrilling final round of action yesterday which saw the Red Hands lose out to high-flying Mayo.

A hat-trick of goals from Mayo’s Conor Mortimer seemed to have consigned the Ulster men to the drop in Omagh but Kerry’s narrow victory over Dublin in Parnell Park keeps Mickey Harte’s side in the top flight.

Mayo now head to a NFL semi-final with Connacht foes Galway while Tyrone knuckle down to championship preparations.

Tyrone raced four points clear after 12 minutes, and could have had a goal, had Owen Mulligan’s drive not rebounded back off the crossbar.

Martin Penrose did gather the break from that effort to shoot his second point, with the McMahon brothers, Joe and Justin, both hitting long range efforts.

Mayo started sluggishly and didn’t open their account until the 15th minute, a converted free from Alan Dillon. But two minutes later the sides were all-square when Conor Mortimer fired home a penalty after he had been fouled by Justin McMahon.

Andy Moran saw an effort come off the base of a post as the Red Hands lived dangerously at the back, but they did respond positively to the concession of that goal, with Colm Cavanagh flashing a snapshot just over the bar.

Dillon converted another free, and after the Ulster men had lost influential midfielder Joe McMahon to injury, the westerners got in for their second goal on 35 minutes.

Alan Dillon’s lofted sideline ball went right to the far post, where the lurking Mortimer scrambled the ball over the line for his second goal.

Mayo led by 2-2 to 0-7 at the break, and the first of Ger Brady’s three points stretched the advantage.

Substitute Trevor Howley made a big impact, getting forward from wing back at every opportunity, and Brady, a largely anonymous figure in the opening half, became more influential.

But the home side took the lead midway through the half when Colm Cavanagh drilled the ball to the net from close range.

The dismissal of Mulligan for an attempted trip on Brady in the 60th minute, proved costly as Mayo fired in two late goals from Howley and Mortimer.

TYRONE: P McConnell, R McMenamin, P Donnelly, D Carlin, D Harte, C Gormley, Justin McMahon (0-1), Joe McMahon (0-1), K Hughes (0-1), B Dooher, M Penrose (0-2), R Mulgrew, N Gormley, C Cavanagh (1-2), O Mulligan (0-3, 2 frees).

Subs: E McGinley for Joe McMahon, D McCaul for McMenamin, S O’Neill (0-1) for Gormley, Joe McMahon for Mulgrew.

MAYO: D Clarke, A Higgins, L O’Malley, K Higgins, G Mulllins, BJ Padden, E Devenney, P Harte, J Nallen, A Moran (0-1), G Brady (0-3), A Kilcoyne, C Mortimer (3-1, 1 pen), A Dillon (0-2, 2 frees), M Conroy.

Subs: J Kilcullen for Kilcoyne, T Howley (1-0) for Devenney, P Gardiner for Mullins Referee: F Flynn (Leitrim)

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