Both Mayo and Tyrone had recorded solid victories against Donegal in advance of this final group game. Having already acquitted themselves well in the league, it was anticipated that Saturday’s pairing would be a closely fought affair. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
Mayo got off to the perfect start with a goal from Lisa Scahill within the first minute. Mayo continued to exert pressure on the Tyrone defence throughout the opening quarter. Eleanor Harrison was clinical in her free taking and added three more points to the scoreboard. Lisa Scahill added a second score to her personal tally with a well taken point from near the right sideline.
Tyrone having travelled to Tooreen seemed somewhat slower in settling into the game, managing to record just one point at the first water break courtesy of corner forward Reagan Fay.
The water break came at the right time for Tyrone affording them opportunity to re group. Two points in quick succession from captain Laura Barker and Leanne McKiernan on the resumption of play, signalled that Mayo were going to have a battle on their hands.
To their credit, Mayo continued to work hard and remain focused on the task at hand. They added another three points, from Eleanor Harrison and Ava Lambert. On the opposite side Reagan Fay, was in fine form from placed balls which kept the scoreboard ticking over for the northerners. Tyrone appeared to be gaining momentum and only for some excellent defending by the Mayo unit, an attack involving both captain Laura Barker and Laoise Coyle may have ended in goal. Half time score Mayo 1. 7 to Tyrone 0.5.
The second half began in Tyrone’s favour with Roisin McErlean scoring the first point. What followed was a tentative 15 minutes with both teams struggling to break down the opposition’s defence. Tyrone did however have a goal chance with the crossbar coming to the rescue before Mayo’s goalkeeper Aoibheann Crawley cleared her lines.
The midfield pairing of Aine Charlton and Ava Lambert worked tirelessly providing a plentiful supply of ball in to the Mayo forward line. The arrival of heavy rain however made conditions very slippy and scores hard come by. A determined Tyrone hit a purple patch and managed to create a number of scoring opportunities. A resolute Mayo defence were on hand however to deny the visitors an opportunity to get back in to this game.
A well taken ’45 from Ava Lambert, before a goal from wing forward Helen O’Malley seemed to settle things. Three minutes later and Eleanor Harrison finished to the roof of the net leaving the result at this stage in no doubt. Tyrone’s work rate and efforts in front of goal were rewarded when they themselves raised the green flag just before the full time whistle.
While the score line might suggest that Mayo were in control of the game throughout, they were certainly made to work for it. Tyrone were impressive with their full back and half back line proving difficult to break down. Tyrone forwards looked dangerous at times and in particular Reagan Fay. Were it not for a strong performance from Mayo’s midfield pairing and defensive unit, a number of well created Tyrone scoring opportunities would have converted to more scores.
Both teams march onto the semi-finals of the Nancy Murray Cup next weekand with Mayo facing Louth and Tyrone playing Wicklow.
Mayo: A. Crawley, R. Lyons, A.Mulkeen, G. Delaney, S.Golden, M.Charlton, A.Doherty, A. Lambert (0-2), A. Charlton, O.Hession, E. Harrison (1-5), H.O’Malley (1-0), N. Kennedy, L. Scahill (1-2), E. Kelly
Subs: Mairead Mooney for Niamh Kennedy, Roisin Cassidy for Grainne Delaney, Aoife Lilly for Orna Hession, Kate Scahill for Mairead Charlton.
Tyrone: R. Fay (0-3); L. Barker (0-1); L.McKiernan (0-1); N. McNulty (1-0); R.McErlean (0-1)