All-Ireland MFC semi-final
Tyrone 3-10 Mayo 0-16, Croke Park
Tyrone rocked Mayo with a devastating comeback at Croke Park, where they reached their second All-Ireland MFC final in three years and denied the westerners a third successive appearance in the decider.
Mayo appeared to be on their way to the showpiece event when they destroyued the Red Hands in a dominant period either side of half-time to go seven points clear.
But goals from Richard Donnelly and Dara Donnelly turned the game on its head, and Tyrone clinched their title shoot-out against either Cork or Galway.
Mayo raced into a three points lead inside the opening five minutes. After Jack McDonnell had opened the scoring, O’Connor knocked over two 13 metre frees.
Tyrone had struggled in those opening stages, but in the eighth minute they suddenly drew level with a wonderful Ronan O’Neill goal.
He rose high to field Stefan Tierney’s free kick, jinked past two defenders, before planting the ball perfectly inside the far post, giving goalkeeper Paul Mannion no chance.
With Conan Grugan and Harry Conlon getting on top at midfield, and Michael Donaghy a composed figure at the heart of their defence, the Red Hands kept the pressure on, and went three points clear through John McCullagh, O’Neill and Richard Donnelly.
Mayo went 15 minutes without scoring, but a devastating burst late in the half saw them reel off seven points without reply, the pick of them coming from wing back Ryan Quirke, corner forward Jack McDonnell and full forward Darren Coen.
Midfielder Danny Kirby and centre back Conor Walsh were instrumental in that dazzling spell of football which sent Mayo in at the break with a 0-10 to 1-3 lead.
They stretched the advantage early in the second half through O’Connor, Coen and McDonnell.
Tyrone tried desperately to get themselves back into the game, but were denied by a superlative save from Paul Mannion.
But they did get that vital goal in the 43rd minute when Richard Donnelly blasted home a screamer from O’Neill’s clever assist.
And five minutes later, substitute Dara Donnelly fired in a third Tyrone goal from Richard Donnelly’s pass.
The Ulster lads were now in rampant mood, and tagged on scores through O’Neill, Jon McCullagh and Stefan Tierney.
Mayo responded with points from O’Connor and James Shaughnessy, but they desperately needed a goal as the seconds ticked away.
Darren Durkan saw his shot parried by goalkeeper Mark McReynolds, and when Dany Kirby seized onto the rebound, his effort was saved off the line by full back Conor Clarke.
Tyrone: M McReynolds, S McGarrity, C Clarke, HP McGeary, N Sludden, M Donaghy, E Deeney, C Grugan, H Og Conlon, R Donnelly (1-2), T Canavan, R Devlin, S Tierney (0-1), J McCullagh (0-2, 1f), R O’Neill (1-4, 0-2f).
Subs: P McNulty for Donaghy, D Donnelly (1-1) for Canavan, L Gervin for Conlon, Conlon for Grugan, C McCullagh for McGeary
Mayo: P Mannion, B Harrison, N Freeman, C Twomey, R Quirke (0-1), C Walsh, C Horan, D Kirby, M Forde (0-1), C Costello (0-1), F Durkan, S Kelly, J McDonnell (0-3), D Coen (0-3), C O’Connor (0-6, 4f).
Sub: D Durkan for McDonnell, J Shaughnessy (0-1) for Costello
Referee: R Hickey (Clare).