Connaught certainly hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Tyrone in this season’s National league as for the third away game running they returned home from the Province empty handed after being well beaten by Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday evening.
This venue has always been a happy hunting ground for the Red Hands but that wasn’t the case this time around and a third defeat of the campaign from four outings leaves them with plenty of work to do if they are to preserve their top flight status. The Red Hands shipped four goals in the process against a slick moving Mayo side that had twelve different scorers on the night. The hosts recovered from a sluggish start to lead by six points at the short whistle and in truth it was an advantage that they never looked like losing. Tyrone huffed and puffed but never looked like getting the goal that they so badly needed to reignite their challenge although Joe Oguz had the ball in the net but the referee called play back after failing to give an advantage.
It was Mayo who led 2-5 to 0-5 after the visitors had a torrid last fifteen minutes to the half after a promising start. Tyrone, who had already lost on their previous two trips to Connaught in the league this season against Roscommon and Galway, needed a good start to the contest and they got it.
Darren McCurry played the ball to Darragh Canavan who went past four challenges to hit a brilliant 2nd minute point before keeper Niall Morgan doubled their advantage from a monster free from all of fifty metres out. Tyrone looked sharp at this stage and when a long delivery in found McCurry he turned sharply to split the posts for a 0-3 to 0-0 lead by the 8th minute.
It took Mayo until the 18th minute to open their account via a Ryan O’Donoghue free but that was cancelled out at the other end by a placed ball from McCurry. It was at this stage that Mayo took the game by the scruff of the neck with a Matthew Ruane point being followed by an Aidan O’Shea goal.
Mayo now had the momentum with O’Shea setting up Conor Loftus for a point before he supplied an outstanding pass to James Carr who ran through to fire past Morgan. Morgan had the final say of the half from another long range free but Tyrone were in trouble.
Burns opened the second half scoring but with only five minutes gone Mayo struck again for a goal with a superb effort from corner back Enda Hession. Canavan, Morgan and McCurry all pointed for the visitors as they closed the gap to five with ten minutes left on the clock.
Mayo though always had the edge with substitute Cillian O’Connor and keeper Colm Reape both registering with Burns on target at the other end of the field. With time running out man of the match Diarmuid O’Connor exchanged passes with Jordan Flynn before crashing the ball to the net to put the icing on the cake. Tyrone lost Conn Kilpatrick to a black card and while Ruairi Canavan knocked over a free it was an impressive Mayo side who closed the game out with further scores from Fionn McDonagh and Jason Doherty.
Mayo: C Reape (0-1, 1F), J Coyne, D McBrien, E Hession (1-0), S Coen, C Loftus (0-1), D McHugh, M Ruane (0-1), D O’Connor (1-0), F McDonagh (0-1), J Carney (0-1), J Flynn, A O’Shea (1-0), J Carr (1-0), R O’Donoghue (0-3, 3F). Subs: P Durcan for Coyne, S Callinan for Hession, J Doherty (0-1) for Loftus, C O’Connor (0-1) for O’Shea, T Conroy for Carr
Tyrone: N Morgan (0-3, 3F), M McKernan, C Munroe, P Hampsey, C Quinn, P Harte, D Mulgrew, B Kennedy, F Burns (0-2), C Meyler, C Kilpatrick, J Oguz, D McCurry (0-4, 3F), C McShane, D Canavan (0-2). Subs: N Devlin for Munroe, M Donnelly for McShane, R Canavan (0-1, 1F) for Mulgrew, K McGeary for Harte, L Rafferty for McKernan