Gulf in class as Mayo dominate Roscommon

Impressive Mayo earn first Connacht final berth since 2015 
Gulf in class as Mayo dominate Roscommon

Lee Keegan, right, and Aidan O'Shea of Mayo fist bump following the win. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Connacht SFC: Mayo 1-16 Roscommon 0-13 

A new look Mayo team have reached their first Connacht final in five years.

Two weeks after being relegated for the first time this millennium, Mayo showed Division 2 champions Roscommon that there is still a gulf between the teams.

Mayo will play a division below the Rossies in 2021 but there was no doubt which team is generally at a higher championship level in Hyde Park on Sunday.

From the first whistle, Mayo forced their will on this game and Roscommon had few answers.

All over the field Mayo were showing the greater energy and determination.

Their experienced players were primed; their younger players looked comfortable at this level and a bit like many US states in this week’s presidential election, we might have had to wait a while for a result, but we could call the outcome early doors.

Once Diarmuid O’Connor found the Roscommon net after 18 minutes, this game looked over.

The water break followed immediately and Roscommon walked, heads bowed, towards their dugout like a team who knew this was going to be a long day.

Six points was the final margin but it never looked like been any less and Mayo manager James Horan was in the luxurious position of being able to lament that it could, and should, have been more.

“I thought we started very well and dominated a lot of key parts of the game. If our shooting boots were on a bit better, particularly in the second quarter, we could have been ahead a little bit more but, overall, for what you are looking for in championship football, I thought our energy and work-rate were very strong and I would be very happy with that,” said Horan afterwards.

The winning boss added he was picking his team on the basis of "form, who is showing energy" whilst also being mindful of ‘there is a certain way we want to play’.

Enda Smith of Roscommon in action against Aidan O'Shea. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Enda Smith of Roscommon in action against Aidan O'Shea. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was clear that is a strong running, fast game with lots of pace in the team. Only five of the 20 players who featured are aged 30 or more whereas seven players who featured are in their first championship campaign.

Diarmuid O’Connor’s well-taken 18th minute goal had Mayo 1-6 to 0-2 in front at the water break and they led at half-time 1-8 to 0-5.

Whereas it was Roscommon who needed to start the second half best, it was Mayo who did and three unanswered points from Cillian O’Connor wiped out any hope of a Roscommon comeback.

Mayo’s top scorer ended with nine points to go with 1-9 from the previous week against Leitrim and he looked very sharp. Lee Keegan and Paddy Durcan led the way at the back while Conor Loftus put in a Trojan shift in midfield.

Mayo go into their fifth game in successive weekends in Sunday’s Connacht final against Galway. Mayo, of course, beat them by 17 points in the league three weeks ago and Galway have been kicking their heels since the end of the league, after Sligo were forced to withdraw due to Covid-19 cases in the squad.

The frustrating nature of the day for Roscommon is summed up by the fact that their entire full-forward line was substituted while Diarmuid Murtagh, a 64th minute substitute, was their joint top-scorer from play.

Indeed, had there been supporters here, you’d be confident many home fans would have flocked towards the exits a long time before the final whistle.

The Rossies were bidding to do something they had not done since 1980 and put back to back championship wins over Mayo.

But instead, it was Mayo who got revenge for last year’s championship defeat and with no qualifiers safety net, find themselves in their first Connacht final in five years.

Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor (0-9, 6 frees); D O’Connor (1-1); P Durcan (0-2), C Loftus, K McLoughlin, T Conroy, A O’Shea (0-1 each).

Scorers for Roscommon: D Smith (1 free), C Cox (2 frees, 1 mark), C McKeon (2frees) (0-3 each); D Murtagh (0-2); T O’Rourke, N Daly (0-1 each).

MAYO: D Clarke; L Keegan, C Barrett, O Mullin; S Coen, P Durcan, E McLaughlin; M Ruane, C Loftus; K McLoughlin, R O’Donoghue, D O’Connor; T Conroy, A O’Shea, C O’Connor.

Subs for Mayo: M Moran for O’Donoghue (47); J Flynn for D O’Connor (61); R Brickenden for Ruane (67); J Carr for Conroy (69); M Plunkett for Coen (73).

ROSCOMMON: C Lavin; D Murray, S Mullooly, C Daly; N Daly, B Stack, R Daly; C Compton, T O’Rourke; N Kilroy, E Smith, C McKeon; D Smith, C Cox, C Cregg.

Subs for Roscommon: C Devaney for Cregg (41); C Hussey for O’Rourke (51); C Lennon for Cox (60); D Murtagh for D Smith (64).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

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