Mayo put on an attacking show to demolish Monaghan and reach All-Ireland minor final
Ulster champions have no answer to the power and pace of Enda Gilvarry’s side
Mayo’s Tommy Conroy celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Mayo 3-19 Monaghan 1-12: Mayo’s rising generation of stars delivered a spectacular preview of what may lie ahead for the county’s long-suffering supporters with one of the finest displays of minor football witnessed at Croke Park in years.
The Connacht champions demolished Monaghan’s challenge with a quite awesome hour of attacking football.
The Ulster champions had no answer to the power and pace of Enda Gilvarry’s side on a day that everything went right for a supremely talented bunch of teenagers from the west.
Tommy Conroy, Conor Loftus and Michael Plunkett scored the goals that blew the Farney lads away, and this Mayo team will take some beating, whether they meet Tyrone or Roscommon in next months’ decider.
They were able to pick holes in a suspect Farney defence, although they did look suspect at the back themselves, and had goalkeeper Mark Mulligan to thank for a reflex save to deny Conor McCarthy.
Michael Plunkett danced through for a point, Liam Irwin clipped over a couple of frees, and Tommy Conroy applied the finishing touches to two majestic moves.
They led by five, 0-7 to 0-2, but the 18th minute, but the Ulster champions managed to turn the game around to go level.
David McAllister converted a couple of frees, and in the 22nd minute, McCarthy skipped past two defenders to crack in a superb goal.
Their joy lasted less than a minute, with Conor Loftus firing in a shot that was deflected to the net, and points from Loftus, and Irwin sent Mayo in with a 1-10 to 1-6 lead.
Forde failed to hold Pádraig Prendergast’s dropping shot, allowing Plunkett to nip in for a soft goal five minutes into the second half, and from there to the finish, it was a case of damage limitation for Monaghan.
Hall and Coen raided at every opportunity from deep, and the Connacht lads piled on the scores, with Doherty replaced to a huge ovation in recognition of his classy four points haul.
Plunkett, Conroy and Prendergast added to the Farney misery, and while McCarthy tried to lift spirits with a couple of tidy scores, they were rocked back by a third goal by Conroy six minutes from the end.
Monaghan pulled back points through Adam Treanor and Fergal McMahon, and it was more in hope than expectation that McAllister went for goal from a couple of late frees.
MAYO: M Mulligan; E Doran, S Cunniffe, D Kenny, M Hall (0-2), S Coen (0-2), S Conlon, V Roughneen, D O’Connor, C Loftus (1-1), M Plunkett (1-2), C Hanley, D Doherty (0-4), L Irwin (0-3, two frees), T Conroy (1-2). Subs: P Prendergast (0-2) for Hanley, C Byrne (0-1) for Doherty, R Finn for Doran, J Langan for Plunkett, F Duffy for Irwin.
MONAGHAN: C Forde (0-1, 45); S Treanor, K Loughran, P McArdle; A Kieran, R McAnespie (0-1), M Murnaghan;M Brown; M Magee; M O’Dowd; A Curran, D Ward; C McCarthy (1-4), D McAllister (0-3, frees), F McMahon (0-2, one free). Subs: D Meegan for Brown, N Loughman for Kieran, B McGinn for O’Dowd, C Martin for McArdle, A Treanor (0-1) for S Treanor.
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).