Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Mayo defeat Tyrone to end long wait for All-Ireland minor title

Defeat for Tyrone: Tyrone's Ronan Nugent and Stephen Coen of Mayo Pic: Lorraine O'Sullivan
Defeat for Tyrone: Tyrone's Ronan Nugent and Stephen Coen of Mayo Pic: Lorraine O'Sullivan

Mayo's 28-year wait for an All-Ireland minor title is over after they defeated Tyrone by 2-13 to 1-13 at Croke Park.

Since that success in 1985 they have been beaten in six All-Ireland minor deciders but the Tom Markham Cup will reside in Connacht for the next 12 months.

Goals from Tommy Conroy and Darragh Doherty either side of half-time were critical in establishing an eight point second half lead but Tyrone rallied but their comeback fell short.

Conor McKenna's late goal was not enough for a gallant Tyrone side.

Tyrone were first off the mark with midfielder Ronan Nugent on target for the beaten Ulster finalists but that was quickly cancelled out by Liam Irwin.

Wing-back Padraig McGirr was fouled and Lee Brennan put the underdogs back in front.

Sweeper Frank Burns was proving effective for Tyrone but Mayo levelled with Irwin converting a second free.

Nugent fired over a second point after a Sean Cavanagh-like shuffle but Mayo quickly responded with another free.

15-year-old David Mulgrew opened his account with a beautful right-foot score to make it 0-4 to 0-3 after 18 minutes.

Mayo could have had a goal two minutes later when Tommy Conroy blazed wide when through on goal although he was pulled and could have been awarded a penalty before the shot.

Tyrone captain Ruairi McGlone stretched Tyrone's advantage to two but that lead evaporated as Irwin added a fourth free before Tommy Conroy pounced for a goal with a superb left-footed shot.

Conor McKenna, who was having a quiet game by his standards, got the final score of the half and Mayo led by 1-4 to 0-6 at the interval.

Conor Loftus, Darragh Doherty and Tommy Conroy added points in the first two minutes of the second half and Mayo's lead was up to four points.

A tremendous point off his weaker left foot from Doherty made it 1-8 to 0-6 after 36 minutes.

Tyrone nearly had a goal a minute later when Mayo keeper Mark Mulligan came for a ball and missed it and the ball bounced up and off the crossbar.

The Connacht champions responded to that scare by scoring their second goal with Darragh Doherty finding the net after a fine team move.

Lee Brennan's free was Tyrone's first score of the second half and further points from Brennan and Daire Gallagher cut the deficit to five points.

Phillip Donnelly kicked over with his left but Conor Loftus cancelled out that effort.

Sub Cathal McShane scored a point and then earned a free which Brennan dispatched at the scoreline was 2-9 to 0-12 with 11 minutes remaining.

A Tommy Conroy point six minutes from time settled Mayo nerves and another superb score from Conor Loftus made it a five-point game.

Conor McKenna and Conor Byrne traded points before Tommy Conroy added to his tally with another point.

Conor McKenna flicked home a late goal to make it an edgy finish but Mayo clung on.

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