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Published: 17:02 | 21/8/16

Ragged Mayo book All-Ireland final place


Mayo are through to their third All-Ireland final in the last five years after they overcame the spirited challenge of Tipperary by 2-13 to 0-14 in their semi-final at Croke Park.

However, for long periods of this uneven contest it looked like this season's surprise package Tipperary would cause another upset and book a meeting with either Dublin or Kerry next month.

The Premier County played without fear for much of the game, surging through big gaps in the Westerners defence to establish a 0-6 to 0-3 lead as the first period entered its closing stages.

Michael Quinlivan was outstanding again, knocking over three points from frees and providing the focal point for an attack which was giving their opponent's defence a torrid time.

But against the run of play, Keith Higgins skipped through the Tipperary defence before feeding John Doherty who fired home a straightforward goal chance to lift Stephen Rochford's side out of the lethargy they had been in up until then.

Mayo suddenly clicked into gear and a glut of points saw them lead by 1-10 to 0-7 at the break.

Tipp had overcome the loss of Robbie Kiely to a slightly harsh black card on eight minutes and after playing so well for much of the first period, they now had to somehow find a way back into the game.

And find a way back into the game they did as Mayo faded back into raggedness and by 48 minutes Tipp had clawed to within just two points as Quinlivan sent over his sixth point of the game.

Indeed they thought they had moved to within a single point of Mayo but Hawkeye ruled that a lovely effort from Quinlivan had drifted just wide of the far post.

Mayo were rocking, second to the breaking ball on the vast majority of occasions but after Colm Boyle steadied the ship with a pointed free, they got a huge slice of luck with six minutes remaining when Evan Reagan's ball was blocked but it fell kindly to Conor O'Shea who spun and coolly slotted home for their second goal.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Tipp and they ended the game with 14 men after Bill Maher was very harshly given a straight red card late on for an off-the-ball push.

Still they never gave up with Quinlivan's late point meaning he margin of defeat was just five points and after a fantastic run to their first semi-final in over 80 years, they finished their season with their heads held high and with much hope for the future.

Although Mayo will rejoice at having another stab at winning their first Sam Maguire since 1951, they will be aware that if they do not improve by several levels, Dublin or Kerry will make light work of them in the decider.

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