Rarely has a Roscommon team given so much and gone rewarded as the Roscommon minor footballers suffered a heart-breaking 2-13 to 2-12 defeat in this evening’s Connacht MFC semi-final at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, Castlebar.
James Duignan’s side were superb and deserved at least extra time but Tom Lydon’s point deep into injury time left the Roscommon players crestfallen at the final whistle.
Ruairi Kilcline’s well-taken 19th minute goal gave the visitors, who were controlled and patient in possession, a 1-5 to 0-7 lead at half time.
Early second-half points from Seán McDonnell (free) and Jamie Betts pushed the young Rossies three points to the good before Mayo struck two goals in quick succession through Darragh Beirne and Josh Carey to surge five points clear.
But Roscommon came storming back through a brilliantly-worked goal from Eoghan Carthy, and despite Lydon edging Mayo ahead before the finish, Roscommon responded every time through substitute Liam Naughten and McDonnell.
But, in their final attack, Mayo worked the ball to Lydon to split the posts with the winner.
It was a far cry from the group game between the sides six weeks ago in Dr. Hyde Park, which Mayo won by 12 points.
Roscommon have improved immeasurably since then but their best performance of the season just fell short.
Scorers for Mayo: Tom Lydon 0-7 (0-4f), Josh Carey 1-3, Darragh Beirne 1-1, Colm Lynch 0-1, Gavin Forry 0-1.
Scorers for Roscommon: Seán McDonnell 0-6 (0-4f), Eoghan Carthy 1-1, Ruairí Kilcline 1-1, John Curran 0-1, Jamie Betts 0-1, Ryan Hanley 0-1, Liam Naughten 0-1
MAYO: Conor Meaney; James Lavelle, Seanie O’Reilly, Yousif Cogill; Jamie Clarke, Rio Mortimer, Fionan O’Reilly; Tiernan Egan, Shane Cunningham; Colm Lynch, Tom Lydon, Dara Neary; Darragh Beirne, Josh Carey, Senan Guilfoyle.
Subs: Eoin McGreal for Seamie O’Reilly 34, Gavin Forry for Guilfoyle 34, Seán Walsh for Fionnan O’Reilly 39, Thomas Tuffy for Neary 51, Ryan Gibbons for Carey 55.
ROSCOMMON: Aaron Cox; Colin Murray, Nikita Berzins, Ryan Hanley; Conor Morris, Eoghan Carthy, Ruadhan Henry; Jamie Betts, David Higgins; Lee Taylor, Eoghan Murray, John McGuinness; Seán McDonnell, Ruairí Kilcline, John Curran.
Subs: Rory Coyle for Kilcline 49, Liam Naughten for Murray 55, Stephen Tighe for Morris 59.
Referee: Ronan Hynes (Sligo).
*Report and match reaction in Tuesday’s Roscommon Herald