By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Mayo 0-13 Tyrone 0-12
Mayo produced their best performance of the season to edge a tight but always engaging GAA All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against 14-man Tyrone at sunny Croke Park.
Stephen Rochford’s men had stuttered to this juncture but were wonderfully disciplined, showing a ferocious workrate that forced turnover after turnover to frustrate their more fancied opponents despite having less possession and scoring opportunities.
The teams were level five times in the first half and eight times in all.
They were deadlocked at the break on 0-7 apiece and there were two events in the second half that had a huge bearing on the result.
The first arrived in the 48th minute, when a sumptuous Mattie Donnelly kick-pass found Conor McAliskey in behind the Mayo defence.
The Clonoe man gathered and turned but shot much too close to David Clarke, who stayed big, and the ball rebounded to safety.
Tyrone were behind at that stage but McAliskey converted a free and Harte finished sweetly to put Tyrone in front.
Lee Keegan sent his second point almost immediately though and five minute later, Seán Cavanagh was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
The Moy maestro had spent much of his day appealing to officials that he was being manhandled off the ball by Keegan and the duo received a yellow card after a contretemps before the second half could even get under way.
Remarkably, that was a third yellow card between the shot whistle and the resumption, as David Gough cautioned Jason Doherty for a late hit after he had blown for time at the break.
To add salt to the Tyrone wounds, Cillian O’Connor landed the resultant free and though Darren McCurry levelled from a free, Keegan made full use of the freedom from his marking duties with five minutes remaining, to loft what would prove the winner.
Tyrone had three opportunities to rescue themselves but were unable to recapture the spirit of the Ulster final, as Cathal McCarron, Neil Morgan and McCurry all failed to find the target, meaning that Mayo will now play Tipperary for a place in the final.
The first half was very cagey and though Tyrone were patient in building from deep, with Mayo allowing them possession from short kickouts, they shot some poor wides although the westerners deserve credit for some of those with the pressure they were exerting.
In contrast, they were a little bit more economic and that was the difference in the end.
Aidan O’Shea began at midfield and kicked the opener from outside the 45. Later on, he was switched to good effect to the full-forward line.
Kevin McLoughlin was hugely industrious, while Cillian O’Connor slotted two points from play to go with a brace of frees.
Meanwhile, Cavanagh could not escape Keegan’s shackles but Donnelly was magnificent in that first half for Tyrone, kicking two points with his right before adding a third outstanding effort with his left.
The suspicion was that Mayo could not continue the pace they were operating at in the heat but they did.
With the added, considerable help of Clarke’s save, Cavanagh’s dismissal and Tyrone’s wides, and despite the brilliance at times of Peter Harte, it was they who snuck it.
SCORERS FOR MAYO: C O’Connor 0-6(3fs); A Moran, L Keegan 0-2 each; A O’Shea 0-1
SCORERS FOR TYRONE: P Harte 0-4(1f); M Donnelly 0-3; C McAliskey 0-2(fs); D McCurry (f), N Sludden, R O’Neill (f) 0-1 each
MAYO: D Clarke, B Harrison, L Keegan, K Higgins, K McLoughlin, C Boyle, P Durcan, A O’Shea, S O’Shea, A Dillon, J Doherty, D Vaughan, D O’Connor, A Moran, C O’Connor.
Subs: T Parsons for Dillon (ht), C O’Shea for Vaughan (54), C Barrett for Boyle (58), E Regan for Moran (62), C Loftus for Doherty (66), S Coen for D O’Connor inj (69)
TYRONE: N Morgan, C McCarron, R McNamee, A McCrory, T McCann, J McMahon, P Harte, M Donnelly, C Cavanagh, C McShane, N Sludden, R McNabb, C McAliskey, S Cavanagh, R O’Neill.
Subs: R Brennan for McMahon (23), D McCurry for O’Neill (43), M Bradley for McShane (46), K McGeary for McAliskey (62), J Moore for McNabb (66), P McNulty for Sludden (69)
REFEREE: D Gough (Meath)