It looks for much of today’s Hastings Cup semi-final that the county’s long losing run against Roscommon at U21 level was coming to an end but the holders struck late with an unanswered goal and two points to seal the win and a place in next weekend’s decider. The final score at Rathcline, Lanesboro, was 1-10 to 1-6 in the Rossies’ favour.
Our lads started the match brightly and led by 0-3 to 0-2 after twenty minutes, though by then Val Roughneen had already gone off injured, with Eoghan Lavin replacing him. We then took what looked to be a decisive hold on proceedings when James Durcan fisted the ball across the square to Brian Reape who punched it to the net. Roscommon hit back, though, with two points at the other end to leave just one between the sides at the break.
The second half was nip and tuck all the way, with the neighbours levelling it up, our lads edging in front once more (this one from Conor Finnerty), their lot equalising and us responding again, with Eoghan Lavin’s point leaving us one up with less than five minutes to go.
That, though, was the end of our scoring for the day. Roscommon levelled again with two minutes left and disaster then struck for us when Cathal Kenny found the net for them with the game heading into injury time. They added another point before the finish to win by four.
It’s obviously a disappointing result – and galling for the county to lose twice to the Sheepstealers in less than a week – but it’s been a good Hastings Cup campaign for Niall Heffernan and his charges. The matches they’ve had over the last few weeks should stand to them even if today’s defeat provides further evidence that it’ll be as hard as ever to get out of the west in the U21 provincial championship this spring. The fact that all four Hastings Cup semi-finalists this year hail from Connacht bears this out.
Mayo team and subs: Marc Mulligan; Kevin Lynch, David Kenny, James Stretton; Michael Hall, Sean Regan, Cian Burke;
Matthew Ruane, Val Roughneen; TJ Byrne, James Durcan, Darren McHale; Morgan Lyons, Liam Irwin, Brian Reape. Subs: Sean Shaughnessy, Mark Forkan, Darragh Ruane, Steven Conroy, Conor Finnerty Aidan O’Sullivan, James Quinn, Eoghan Lavin, Ronan Carolan.
Full details on our scorers today, as well as subs introduced, aren’t to hand, I’m afraid.