Historic Roscommon Send Mayo Packing

Anthony Cunningham’s Roscommon rewrote the history books as they dumped Mayo out of the Connacht championship with a magnificent victory in Elvery’s McHale Park.

Two first half goals saw Roscommon secure a 2-12 to 17 point victory, their first in Elvery’s McHale Park since 1986 and condemn the league champions to the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Substitute Fintan Cregg was the match-winner, firing over a superb injury-time clincher. Cregg holding his nerve to split the posts from distance.

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Goals from Cathal Cregg and Ultan Harney had ensured the visitors of a 2-6 to 0-10 lead at the end of a very exciting and fiery opening period.

Cregg netted in style in the fifth minute, finding the top right corner at the end of a strong run after Matthew Ruane and Darren Coen had pointed for Mayo.

Jason Doherty (free) and Paddy Durcan restored the home side’s lead only for Ultan Harney to palm the ball into the net after a distarous kick-out by Mayo keeper Robert Hennelly.

Lee Keegan and Evan Regan halved the deficit but a Cox brace ensured that the gap was still four points with 20 minutes played.

O’Malley’s 45’ put Roscommon five into the lead, but the hosts landed four of the last five points before the break, Coen, Regan, Keegan and Ruane keeping them very much in contention, O’Malley nailing his second ‘45’ in between.

Regan’s (free) made it a one-point game three minutes after the restart, O’Malley 45’ and Cox with a stunning strike from distance restored the Rossies three point lead.

Coen’s quick-fire brace reduced the deficit to the minimum again with 46 minutes played, Andy Moran then cancelling out another exquisite Cox point.

The sides were level for the third time on 51 minutes when Durcan landed his second point to set up a thrilling conclusion to an absorbing encounter.

Substitute Enda Smith had the Rossies back in front but Mayo mustered two massive points from Fergal Boland to lead again with an hour played, 0-17 to 2-10.

Roscommon refused to wave the white flag and Cox’s free on 63 minutes tied the scores up again.

The Rossies were unluckily reduced to 14 men when David Murray was black-carded and couldn’t be replaced as they’d already used up their full quota of substitutes.

But Cregg stepepd forward three minutes into added time and lofted over an inspirational lead point. Mayo had one last chance but bowed out of the provincial championship after Kevin McLaughlin’s last-gasp free curled inches wide.