All Ireland Minor Championship: Tyrone storm back to deny Mayo
Tyrone 3-10 Mayo 0-16: Tyrone are through to their second All Ireland Minor final in three years after winning a gripping encounter against Mayo at Croke Park yesterday afternoon.
The Connaught champions looked well on their way to a third successive final at this level when they held a seven point lead with less than 20 minutes left to play but the Red Hands produced a storming finish.
It was Mayo who led 0-10 to 1-3 at the break after producing a blistering final dozen minutes that saw them land seven quality points without reply.
The Connaught champions looked the more lively side from the start and by the fifth minute they had established a three point lead with Jack O’Donnell on target from play and Cillian O’Connor converting two frees.
It took Tyrone eight minutes to open their account but it was a score well worth waiting for as Stefan Tierney’s free from the right wing was brilliantly caught by Ronan O’Neill who blasted to the net past keeper Paul Mannion.
It was a score which lifted the Ulster champions and points from John McCullagh, O’Neill and Richard Donnelly saw them lead 1-3 to 0-3.
They failed to score for the remainder of the half though as Mayo began to dominate in key areas of the field.
By the 24th minute Mayo had turned things around thanks to points from Cian Costello, Michael Forde and Darren Coen and it was a relieved Tyrone who greeted the short whistle after O’Connor, McDonnell and Ryan Quirke had tagged on further scores.
O’Connor and McDonnell added to their advantage on the restart before Tyrone got back into contention with a brilliant goal from Donnelly (pictured) in the 13th minute.
O’Neill added a point before providing the assist for substitute Dara Donnelly to charge through and blast to the net to level matters with a dozen minutes left to play.
It was all Tyrone at this stage and efforts from O’Neill, McCullagh and Tierney edged them three clear.
Mayo though refused to give in and twice they reduced the deficit only for Tyrone to hit back.
With the game in injury time Mayo almost snatched a replay when Darren Durkan’s shot was saved by keeper Mark McReynolds and Tyrone full back Conor Clarke brilliantly blocked Danny Kirby’s shot on the line.
Tyrone: M McReynolds, S McGarrity, C Clarke, HP McGeary, N Sludden, M Donaghy, E Deeney, H Og Conlon, C Grugan, R Donnelly [1-2], T Canavan, R Devlin, S Tierney [0-1], J McCullagh [0-2], R O’Neill [1-4]. Subs – P McNulty for Donaghy, D Donnelly [1-1] for Canavan, L Girvan for Conlon, C McCullagh for McGeary, H Og Conlon for Grugan.
Mayo: P Mannion, B Harrison, N Freeman, C Twomey, R Quirke [0-1], C Walsh, C Horan, D Kirby, C Costello [0-1], F Durkan, M Forde [0-1], S Kelly, J McDonnell [0-3], D Coen [0-3], C O’Connor [0-6]. Subs – D Durkan for McDonnell, M Regan for Twomey, A Leonard for Kelly, J Shaughnessy [0-1] for Costello.
Referee: R Hickey (Clare).