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Cillian O’Connor on fire as Mayo dismiss Tipperary

Shane Stapleton gives an instant reaction to Mayo’s 5-20 to 3-13 over Tipperary in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park

Shane Stapleton gives an instant reaction to Mayo’s 5-20 to 3-13 over Tipperary in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park.

Mayo 5-20 Tipperary 3-13
Given that Mayo had put up just 14 points on Galway, and Tipperary had limited Cork to that very number, this turkey shoot was quite a shock to the system.

Every game is different, of course, but James Horan can’t afford a repeat of this end-to-end bonanza if his side is to do the improbable against Dublin.

They gave up 11 goalscoring opportunities, and were lucky that Tipp converted just three of them.

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Not only that, but the Connacht kings will understand the generosity of the Premier defence for a couple of their goals.

Liam Casey’s back-pass that Evan Comerford might have reacted to a little more swiftly, the goalkeeper not commanding his box when a long-range placed ball from Cillian O’Connor was palmed to the net from point-blank range by his brother Diarmuid.

There’s a certain irony in Mayo putting up a hurling scoreline against a county so well known for it, but they too could have been punished far more.

Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan, Steven O’Brien and Liam Boland — among others — all missed gilt-edged chances.

It spoke of a Mayo team that, as ever, are a brilliant but flawed team. For every piece of with certainty individual or team play, there is a face-palm moment to go with it.

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They find a way of leaving teams in a game, even when it seems to make no sense. They battered Roscommon and won by just six, almost faltered against a misfiring Galway, while Sunday’s clash could have ended with any scoreline.

Every team is searching for consistency, and to some degree play in a systematic way. Reliable at the back, and penetrative going forward. A structured flair, as Derek McGrath called it.

With Mayo, your guess is as good as theirs. It’s why any predictions about the final are pie in the sky. Dublin, in all likelihood, will win but you can’t bet with certainty against any outcome.

Mayo: C O’Connor 4-9 (0-6f), D O’Connor 1-0, T Conroy 0-4, D Coen 0-2, K McLoughlin, C Loftus, M Ruane, P Durcan, A O’Shea 0-1 each
Tipperary: C Sweeney 1-9 (0-8f), P Fox, J Feehan 1-0 each, C O’Riordan 0-2, S O’Brien, K Fahey 0-1 each.

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MAYO – D Clarke; O Mullin, C Barrett, L Keegan; P Durcan, S Coen, E McLaughlin; C Loftus, M Ruane; K McLoughlin, R O’Donoghue, D O’Connor; T Conroy, A O’Shea, C O’Connor. Subs: J Flynn for D O’Connor (43), P O’Hora for Barrett (47), M Plunkett for McLaughlin (54), T Parsons for O’Donoghue (55), D Coen for C O’Connor (66).

TIPPERARY – E Comerford; A Campbell, J Feehan, C O’Shaughnessy; B Maher, K Fahey, R Kiely; S O’Brien, L Casey; C O’Riordan, M Quinlivan, C Kennedy; B Fox, C Sweeney, C Kennedy. Subs: E Moloney for Casey (ht), P Austin for Fox (ht), P Feehan for Kiely (52), L Boland for Colman Kennedy (56), D Brennan for Feehan (62)

Referee: David Gough (Meath)

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