It’s hard not to grab the attention of the nation when you beat the last two All-Ireland champions by a combined 17 points in seven days.
After beating 2022 champs Kerry by seven points last Saturday, Mayo followed it up with an emphatic 10-point win over 2021 champions Tyrone tonight.
Mayo were, as against Kerry, solid and disciplined at the back and often electric in attack.
We have often lament our goal record but Mayo have now scored six goals in two games and kept a clean sheet tonight.
Long have we complained about Mayo’s poor home record in the past decade but in recent weeks Mayo have been doing what they can to redress that. Two wins and a draw in their three home league games thus far has been impressive.
But the same health warning that accompanied the Kerry result must affix itself to this. As good as Mayo were, Tyrone were pitiful at times and they will have major questions to ask themselves.
Very few Tyrone players can say they won their individual battle. Darragh Canavan was a handful at times but Enda Hession really hurt him going the other way.
They put their man marking specialist Conor Meyler on Jordan Flynn, a real acknowledgement of the form Flynn is in. The Crossmolina man was not as impactful as in previous games but with Meyler’s attentions on him, others prospered.
It was only in the first quarter that Mayo looked in any sort of bother.
It was a very hesitant start from Mayo and Tyrone were playing with the swagger of a team who felt they had Mayo’s number. And Mayo looked like a team a little bit nervous of their opponents. Tyrone were full value for the 0-3 to 0-0 lead after eight minutes and it was the same gap after 22 minutes, 0-4 to 0-1.
Darragh Canavan was at the heart of the all they did well. He scored a point, had an assist and was fouled for a third point. Indeed Tyrone could have had a goal but for a smart block by David McBrien. It was brought back for a free which Darren McCurry converted.
Mayo had waited until the 18th minute before opening their account thanks to a Ryan O’Donoghue free.
Mattie Ruane struck Mayo’s first point from play on 23 minutes following an excellent interception from Diarmuid O’Connor and it was the precursor for a red hot spell for Mayo, scoring 2-4 to 0-0 in 10 minutes.
The first goal came from Aidan O’Shea after an incisive run from Enda Hession. Some credited it as an own goal for Frank Burns but we will give it to the Breaffy man.
O’Shea turned provider for Mayo’s second goal six minutes later. Jack Carney won a superb kick-out (one of six contested kick-outs he won) and O’Shea drilled a teasing ball into James Carr. It just cleared Padraig Hampsey and Carr raced in, finishing superbly past the advancing Niall Morgan. Morgan had cut down the space but Carr smartly kicked the ball into the ground to put it under Morgan.
Points from O’Donoghue, Conor Loftus and Jack Carney buttressed Mayo’s efforts.
Tyrone scored their first score in 15 minutes with a long range free from Niall Morgan and it left Mayo six clear at the break, 2-5 to 0-5.
Could Tyrone find a way back?
The Ulster men prefer to be in front and grind games out but Mayo have not always been confident with a seemingly comfortable lead – recall Armagh.
But five minutes into the second half, the game was as good as over and it came from one of the best goals Mayo have scored in years.
Enda Hession has only scored one point for Mayo thus far in his young career but his finish for this goal was outstanding.
He exchanged a one-two with Ryan O’Donoghue and broke in on Niall Morgan. We wondered would he have the composure to finish. Composure indeed!
Hession executed a dummy solo to send Morgan over to McHale Road before sliding the ball to the net with his left foot.
The closest Tyrone got it back to was five points but the O’Neill county looked a rabble at stages in the second half and certainly finished as such with Mayo outscoring them 1-4 to 0-2 in the final 10 minutes.
The goal came from the excellent Diarmuid O’Connor and while his lung-bursting run and emphatic finish deserves credit, the hole at the heart of the Tyrone defence was staggering to behold.
It sums up that while Mayo were excellent these past two games, their opponents were both abject. They will get much more searching examinations of their credentials before the league is over but the league final looks very much in sight, whether Mayo want it or not.
Mayo: Colm Reape (0-1, free); Enda Hession (1-0), David McBrien, Jack Coyne; Conor Loftus (0-1), Stephen Coen, Donnacha McHugh; Matthew Ruane (0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor (1-0); Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Jack Carney (0-1), Jordan Flynn; Ryan O’Donoghue (0-3, three frees), Aidan O’Shea (1-0), James Carr (1-0).
Subs: Sam Callinan for Jack Coyne (inj), Paddy Durcan for Enda Hession (inj), Jason Doherty (0-1) for Conor Loftus (inj), Cillian O’Connor (0-1) for Aidan O’Shea, Tommy Conroy for James Carr.
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan)
Who was our MOTM against Tyrone? Pick your top three performers
- Enda Hession (28%, 1,200 Votes)
- Diarmuid O'Connor (22%, 924 Votes)
- Jack Carney (15%, 641 Votes)
- Aidan O'Shea (11%, 464 Votes)
- Conor Loftus (6%, 266 Votes)
- James Carr (4%, 189 Votes)
- Ryan O'Donoghue (2%, 102 Votes)
- Fionn McDonagh (2%, 97 Votes)
- Matthew Ruane (2%, 79 Votes)
- David McBrien (2%, 74 Votes)
- Colm Reape (1%, 53 Votes)
- Jack Coyne (1%, 30 Votes)
- Jordan Flynn (1%, 30 Votes)
- Tommy Conroy (0%, 20 Votes)
- Donnacha McHugh (0%, 18 Votes)
- Stephen Coen (0%, 13 Votes)
- Jason Doherty (0%, 11 Votes)
- Paddy Durcan (0%, 9 Votes)
- Cillian O'Connor (0%, 9 Votes)
- Sam Callinan (0%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,132