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Cillian O’Connor dazzles as rampant Mayo power into the last four at Croke Park

Mayo 4-19 Roscommon 0-09

By John Campbell

Just when we all thought we had already been plied with our ration of tedious one-sided encounters for the current Championship campaign, Mayo decided they would serve up a dish of their own at Croke Park yesterday.

It was certainly haute cuisine fare as Stephen Rochford’s side left neighbours Roscommon in the starting blocks before careering to a staggering 22-point victory that has earned them an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Kerry on Sunday week.

This was indeed the ultimate mismatch — Mayo sharp, incisive and glowingly confident while their Connacht neighbours were forced to endure a torturous passage that was akin to a waking nightmare.

By half-time, Mayo had already booked their last-four slot, their 3-8 to 0-4 lead at that juncture underpinned by goals from Keith Higgins, Kevin McLoughlin and Andy Moran.

Cillian O’Connor merely added insult to injury when he tucked away their fourth goal in the 45th minute, a score which preceded a further nine-point blitz that bulldozed hapless Roscommon into the Croke Park dust.

The sides, of course, finished level just over a week ago so yesterday’s transformation was scarcely believable, with Mayo fans in the 39,000 crowd clearly stunned by their side’s majestic authority and the Roscommon faithful left gutted as their team took a sickening retreat from a Championship stage that up until lunch time yesterday had offered the prospect of unimagined progress.

Mayo’s swashbuckling approach, their slavish work rate, relentless energy and strength on the bench have surely combined to already convince Kerry that they will now have a job on their hands.

O’Connor landed 1-6 while Colm Boyle and Keith Higgins played themselves to a standstill. Tom Parsons, meanwhile, lorded matters in the middle and Aidan O’Shea was a runaway man of the match.

Diarmuid Murtagh, Conor Deveney and Donie Smith strove to instil an element of fight into Roscommon but their efforts proved fruitless, the loss of Fintan Cregg to a second yellow card in the 52nd minute compounding their team’s misery on an eminently forgettable day from every possible perspective.

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