All Ireland SFC Quarter-Final
Mayo 0-13 Tyrone 0-12
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Cillian O’Connor’s seven points were crucial at Croke Park as Mayo dug deep to edge a titanic tussle with Tyrone and secure their All-Ireland senior football semi-final place.
The 2013 All-Ireland finalists, underdogs after surprisingly failing to capture the Connacht title, showed all their character to see off Mickey Harte’s Ulster champions in a gripping affair.
Lee Keegan’s 65th minute point from way out on the right wing ultimately separated the sides and secure Mayo a semi-final clash with Championship surprise packets Tipperary on August 21.
Tyrone lost talismanic captain Sean Cavanagh to a 59th minute red card for his second yellow card, a high tackle on Aidan O’Shea.
But even with 14 men they had opportunities to save the game and goalkeeper Niall Morgan and substitute Darren McCurry both missed injury-time chances to level it.
Tyrone’s summer is over, though, as Mayo march on with their All-Ireland title challenge still intact.
Both sides played cautious counter attacking games with so much on the line. Andy Moran and O’Connor started as Mayo’s two-man full-forward though O’Shea moved inside after 20 minutes or so and Stephen Rochford’s side often left just one man in attack when defending.
O’Shea had a busy first-half, starting the game at midfield before reverting to number 11 and kicking Mayo’s opening point.
Ronan O’Neill and Peter Harte converted three frees between them to move Tyrone 0-6 to 0-5 ahead after 32 minutes.
But it was the ultimate tit-for-tat encounter between two evenly matched teams and it was no surprise the sides went in at the break deadlocked at 0-7 apiece.
In all, the teams were level five times in the half and even at that early stage the prospect of stalemate at the end of 70 minutes loomed.
Mayo were marginally the better team initially and transitioned quicker out of defence with O’Connor continuing his fine form and blasting four first-half points.
Mayo restarted strongly and O’Shea won the ball from the throw-in and set up O’Connor for another point.
O’Connor’s sixth of the game in the 43rd minute, from a trademark free, put two between the teams for the first time and left Mayo 0-10 to 0-8 up.
But Tyrone fought back with three points in a row from Connor McAliskey, two, and Peter Harte to lead themselves and it remained neck and neck all the way.
The sides were level nine times in the game and it was 0-12 to 0-12 when Keegan boomed over a point from the right wing, his second of the game, in the 65th minute. It put Mayo one up and they hung on from there, playing a clever game of keep ball all the way until the final whistle.
Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 0-7 (4fs), L Keegan 0-2, A O’Shea 0-1, A Moran 0-1, C Boyle 0-1, T Parsons 0-1.
Scorers for Tyrone: P Harte 0-4 (2fs), M Donnelly 0-3, C McAliskey 0-2 (0-2f), R O’Neill 0-1 (0-1f), N Sludden 0-1, D McCurry 0-1 (1f).
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, J Doherty, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; S O’Shea, D Vaughan; K McLoughlin, A O’Shea, D O’Connor; A Dillon, A Moran, C O’Connor.
Subs: T Parsons for Dillon (h/t), C O’Shea for Vaughan (55), C Barrett for Boyle (58), E Regan for Moran (62), C Loftus for Doherty (66), S Coen for D O’Connor (69).
Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, Justin McMahon, P Harte; C Cavanagh, M Donnelly; N Sludden, P Harte, C McShane; C McAlliskey, S Cavanagh, R O’Neill.
Subs: R Brennan for McMahon (22), D McCurry for O’Neill (42), M Bradley for McShane (46), K McGeary for McAliskey (62), J Monroe for McNabb (66), P McNulty for Sludden (68).
Referee: D Gough (Meath).