Mayo were far too strong for Roscommon in the Bank of Ireland Connacht SFC final in Castlebar today as they ran out comfortable winners on a scoreline of 2-13 to 0-09 in a game that limped to a bizarre finish when Mayo supporters flooded the pitch before the game had officially ended and referee Brian White was forced to blow the whistle early.
Corner forward Conor Mortimer may have been the scoring star with nine points (6f), but McDonald’s vision kept the Ros rearguard on its toes all afternoon.
The Crossmolina ace, with newly braided hair, pulled all the strings in the first half, setting Trevor Mortimer up for an eighteenth minute goal. The game could have been so different had Roscommon’s John Tiernan not guided his right-footed shot wide of Fintan Ruddy’s goalposts on 5 minutes, after a great Seamus O’Neill catch and burst from Gary Cox.
Mortimer’s goal should have been the difference between the sides at the break but six wides and just two white flags told its tale for Tommy Carr’s side. Mayo’s third attack saw Conor Mortimer loft over a left-footed free and with Frankie Dolan off-key at the other end, Mayo’s number 13 was to play a crucial role with 0-05 (4f) in the opening 35 minutes.
Karol Mannion got the better of David Heaney for Dolan to point on 7 minutes, and John Hanly levelled the game on 14 minutes with another but Roscommon went scoreless for the remainder of the half. Centre back Heaney cleared a Tiernan chance off the Mayo line only seconds before Mortimer’s goal. McDonald cut a great ball into James Nallen from the left flank, and accepting a neat hand pass Mortimer crashed the ball to the top right corner of Shane Curran’s net.
Conor Mortimer added three points (2f), McDonald forced Curran to tip over and corner back Conor Moran dinked over in injury time for a 1-07 to 0-02 half time lead.
Carr fashioned three switches for the second half, with Dolan the most alarming, forced off with a dead leg, but greater urgency saw substitutes Ger Heneghan (1f) and Nigel Dineen point. McDonald initiated a superb counter attack for Conor Mortimer to grab his sixth point on 42 minutes but Heneghan’s second and third frees reduced the arrears to five.
That was as close as the primrose and blue got as Conor Mortimer ran up his tally with four points in the final 22 minutes, with his brother Trevor and Alan Dillon also on the mark. Heneghan bravely kept Roscommon in the game with two late frees but substitute Austin O’Malley ended another fluid Mayo move with a left-footed injury time goal to confirm their 40th Nestor Cup title.
Afterwards, manager John Maughan said: “I’m very pleased for the players and the supporters here. It probably wasn’t the best game ever seen. Going in at half-time eight points up gave us great motivation and the goal at the end was the cream on the cake really.”
Roscommon: G Henaghan 0-05 (5f), F Dolan, J Hanly, N Dineen, S Lohan 0-01 each
Mayo: C Mortimer 0-09 (6f), T Mortimer 1-01, A O’Malley 1-00, K McDonald, C Moran, A Dillon (1f) 0-01 each
Filed by Barry J Whyte