All Ireland Senior Football Semi-Final
Mayo 2-13 Tipperary 0-14
Mayo fought off a spirited Tipperary side 2-13 to 0-14 to advance to their third All-Ireland final in five years and will now aim to finally bring Sam Maguire back west.
Goals from Jason Doherty in the 26th minute and substitute Conor O’Shea in the 64th minute got them over the line but Tipperary made them work hard until the last few minutes and the Tipperary supporters have to be proud of their achievements this season.
Mayo made one change to the side that defeated Tyrone in the quarter-finals with Barry Moran coming in for Kevin Keane in defence.
Tipperary started with the same side that overpowered Galway in Croke Park two weeks ago. The Premier County started with great confidence and didn’t look like they had any nerves in their first senior football semi-final game since 1935.
The scoreline was 0-2 apiece in the eighth minute when Barry Kiely got a black card for bringing down Doherty but Tipperary didn’t let it affect them and they were 0-6 to 0-3 up in the 25th minute through some great free taking from Michael Quinlivan and points from Conor Sweeney and Philip Austin.
However, Mayo finally came alive in the 26th minute when Keith Higgins’ great run through the middle before passing to Doherty, who had the time and space to calmly slot it by Tipperary goalkeeper Evan Comerford to level the game.
Further points from Cillian O’Connor, Kevin McLouglin, Andy Moran and a beautiful point from Lee Keegan turned the game around in the space of ten minutes.
The attacking play from Mayo in this period was breathtaking and they went in at the break 1-10 to 0-7 up.
At the beginning of the second-half, though, Mayo again switched off and allowed Tipperary to work their way back into the game. Diarmuid O’Connor scored a brilliant point in the 37th minute but it would be the 56th before they would score again. The score went from 1-11 v 0-8 to 1-12 v 0-12 in this period and Tipperary were getting back on top.
Any side with the likes of the O’Connors, Aidan O’Shea and Andy Moran will always pose a threat though and Tipp ‘keeper Comerford did well to save a Moran shot with the scores at 1-11 to 0-12. At this stage, a point might have been the better option to settle Mayo but they did get their second goal in the 64th minute with a bit of fortune too.
Substitute Evan Regan was barely on the pitch 90 seconds when he slipped as he attempted to get a point and the ball rolled in behind a static Tipperary back line for Conor O’Shea. The Breaffy man turned sharply to place the ball in the bottom corner.
This make the scoreline 2-12 to 0-12 and the dream was starting to die for Tipperary. Bill Maher got a red card for striking a minute later and the remaining minutes only brought two more points for Tipp.
For Mayo, the dream is very much alive. There is a mental strength in this team now that wasn’t always present in Mayo sides gone before. They will need to improve on their shooting and concentration levels and the long periods of time without scoring in the championship this season will need to be rectified but either defending All-Ireland champions Dublin or Munster champions Kerry are in for a serious challenge in September.
Scorers for Mayo: A Moran (0-4), J Doherty (1-0), C O’Connor 0-03 (3f), C O’Shea (1-0), D O’Connor (0-2), K McLoughlin (0-1), A O’Shea (0-1), L Keegan (0-1), C Boyle (0-1).
Scorers for Tipperary: M Quinlivan 0-7 (7fs), C Sweeney 0-3 (1f), K. O’Halloran 0-2 (1f), P Austin 0-1, B Maher 0-1.
Mayo: David Clarke, Brendan Harrison, Barry Moran, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Patrick Durcan, Seamus O’Shea, Donal Vaughan, Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor,. Jason Doherty, Andy Moran, Cillian O’Connor (captain).
Subs: T Parsons for S O’Shea (53), C O’Shea for Doherty (58), E Regan for Moran (63), C Barrett for Boyle (67), A Dillon for McLoughlin (69), C Loftus for C O’Connor (70+1).
Tipperary: Evan Comerford, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Alan Campbell, Ciarán Mc Donald, Bill Maher, Robbie Kiely, Jimmy Feehan, Peter Acheson (captain), George Hannigan, Josh Keane, Michael Quinlivan, Brian Fox, Kevin O’Halloran, Conor Sweeney, Philip Austin.
Subs: S Leahy for Kiely (black card 10), A Moloney for Leahy (32), S O’Connell for O’Shaughnessy (56), I Fahey for O’Halloran (66), M Dunne for Keane (70+2).
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).