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Roscommon 0-13 Mayo 1-16: James Horan's side set up Connacht final with Galway
Mayo will face Galway in the Connacht Championship final, after a comfortable six-point away win over Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park. The Westerners are looking for their first provincial title since 2015.
Last Updated: 08/11/20 8:23pm
Mayo are through to the Connacht Championship final, after a 1-16 to 0-13 win over Roscommon.
There was talk of a power shift in the western province in recent weeks, as the Rossies fancied their chances. The two sides swapped National League divisions a fortnight ago, but only one team looked like a top-tier county with All-Ireland ambitions in Dr Hyde Park.
Avenging last year's shock defeat, the men in green and red led from start to finish, digging deep for a deserved victory.
Backing up last week's win over Leitrim, James Horan's side are through to the provincial decider where they will face old rivals Galway. It will be the Tribesmen's first game of the 2020 Championship, after they were handed a bye in their semi-final against Sligo.
Mayo are hunting their first Connacht title since 2015. But unlike the previous four seasons, it will be fatal to their All-Ireland hopes if they fail to win the Nestor Cup, with no back door available this year.
The Rossies elected to play with the breeze in the first-half, but that looked like a serious blunder at the 35-minute mark. Mayo dominated the opening exchanges, with Cillian O'Connor accurate from frees, while his brother Diarmuid was among those who were lively in the forwards.
James Horan's charges took control in a 15-minute period during which Roscommon failed to score. Two-time Young Footballer of the Year O'Connor struck for the game's opening goal to help Mayo into a seven-point lead. The Ballintubber man made an undetected run in from the left-hand side. Eoghan McLaughlin picked him out, and he sent a low shot past Colm Lavin.
Aidan O'Shea stretched the margin to eight before the Rossies eventually settled.
The reigning Connacht champs battled back against the breeze, with Donie Smith scoring a brace of points to bring it back to 1-8 to 0-5 at half-time. However, Mayo would have felt they should have enjoyed a greater cushion, after kicking eight wides in the opening stanza.
Anthony Cunningham's side needed to hit the ground running after the break, but it was the visitors who settled with three consecutive Cillian O'Connor points.
The hosts battled, bringing it back to six points, but Paddy Durcan kept the scoreboard ticking over for Mayo with a remarkable individual score, making a marauding run through the Rossies' defence to establish a 1-13 to 0-9 lead at the second water-break.
The championship's all-time top scorer continued with his accuracy from frees, to keep the Rossies at arm's length. Late braces of points from Cian McKeon and Diarmuid Murtagh put some gloss on the score-line, but it was too little, too late.
Mayo will face Galway in next weekend's final, as they aim to back up their 15-point triumph in Tuam three weeks ago.
Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Conor Daly, Sean Mullooly; Ronan Daly, Brian Stack, Niall Daly (0-1); Cathal Compton, Tadhg O'Rourke (0-1); Niall Kilroy, Enda Smith, Cian McKeon (0-3 - 0-2 free); Donie Smith (0-3 - 0-1 free), Conor Cox (0-3 - 0-2 frees, 0-1 mark), Cathal Cregg.
Subs: Diarmuid Murtagh (0-2)
Mayo: David Clarke; Oisin Mullen, Chris Barrett, Lee Keegan; Paddy Durcan (0-2), Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin; Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus (0-1); Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Ryan O'Donoghue, Diarmuid O'Connor (1-1); Tommy Conroy (0-1), Aidan O'Shea (0-1), Cillian O'Connor (0-9 - 0-7 frees).