Home GAA GAA | O’Connor scores 4-9 as Mayo defeat Tipp to set up Dublin clash

GAA | O’Connor scores 4-9 as Mayo defeat Tipp to set up Dublin clash

GAA | O’Connor scores 4-9 as Mayo defeat Tipp to set up Dublin clash

Cillian O’Connor scored 4-9 in Mayo’s 5-20 to 3-13 victory over Tipperary in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday.

James Horan’s Mayo will now face bitter rivals Dublin, who beat Cavan in the other semi-final on Saturday, in their fourth All-Ireland final meeting with the Boys in Blue in eight years.

Dessie Farrell’s Dublin are chasing their sixth All-Ireland title on the bounce, while Mayo are desperate to end their 69-year Sam Maguire Cup draught.

O’Connor, who last year became the Championship’s leading all-time scorer, has now set the record for the highest tally in a single Championship match.

The forward – appearing in the Championship for the 55th time – opened the scoring in the Dublin fog, converting a free to give Mayo the early lead in the capital.

David Power’s Tipperary, who defeated Cork to claim the Munster title, soon drew level through Colin O’Riordan.

Tipp forward Michael Quinlivan forced David Clarke into an excellent early save, before denying Conor Sweeney with another strong stop shortly after O’Connor bagged his second free.

O’Connor brought his tally to 1-2 in the ninth minute, palming into an empty net after a dispossession and strong run from Aidan O’Shea and an unselfish pass from Tommy Conroy.

Tipperary responded instantly with a goal of their own, with Brian Fox embarking on a determined solo run before finishing past Clarke with an instinctive low drop-kick.

O’Connor, Mattie Ruane, Paddy Durcan and Conroy added points for the explosive Mayo, though Tipp continued to pose problems with early ball into the full forward line.

Stephen O’Brien and Kevin McLaughlin added further points for Horan’s men, extending the Connacht champions’ lead to 1-7 to 1-2 after 20 minutes.

Sweeney and Conroy traded points before O’Connor’s second goal.

Eoghan McLaughlin pounced on a loose ball, which he carried 50 yards and then fed O’Shea, who showed good awareness to find O’Connor, with the Ballintubber forward firing his finish past Evan Comerford into the far bottom corner.

O’Connor soon added another point to take his tally to 2-5 in the opening 25 minutes.

Sweeney added his second point of the half for Tipp, before O’Shea popped over his first point at the other end.

O’Connor completed his hat-trick on the half hour mark with a poacher’s finish.

Liam Casey attempted a misjudged kick pass back to Comerford, which O’Connor raced forward to intercept.

He managed to palm the bouncing ball past the onrushing Comerford to make it 3-11 to 1-4.

Sweeney added another score for Tipp, but O’Connor responded to extend his personal tally to 3-6.

Diarmuid O’Connor scored Mayo’s fourth goal of the half just before the interval, reacting quickly to fist Cillian’s dipping 45 past Comerford from point-blank range.

Mayo led by 4-12 to 1-5 at half time in the worsening Croke Park fog.

O’Connor opened the scoring in the second half, before Lee Keegan was shown a black card for hauling down the dangerous Quinlivan.

Conroy added another point to Mayo’s enormous tally, before Sweeney and Conor Loftus exchanged scores.

O’Connor netted his fourth goal of the game in the 44th minute, swivelling and firing past Comerford from eight yards after a superb long ball from McLaughlin.

The prolific Mayo forward and Sweeney then traded scores either side of the water break.

Tipp, to their credit, never threw in the towel.

Paudie Feehan scored their second goal, driving forward and keeping his cool to slot a low finish past Clarke in the 55th minute. Kevin Fahey notched a point four minutes later to reduce Mayo’s huge lead to 16 points.

Sweeney and Colin O’Riordan split the posts to make it 1-3 without reply for the Munster champions.

Conroy, who was electric throughout, produced his fourth point from play in the 64th minute.

O’Connor was substituted soon afterwards, jogging off the pitch with a new Championship record tally of 4-9. Darren Coen, who replaced him, added a point.

Conor Sweeney recorded Tipp’s third goal in the 70th minute, taking his own haul to 1-9 after turning his man, producing a delightful dummy and curling an exquisite finish past Clarke.

Coen plundered his second point in the dying seconds as Mayo sealed an emphatic victory, setting up yet another All-Ireland final against reigning champions Dublin.

Horan will be concerned by the amount of goal chances Tipp carved out, and by the looseness of some of the Mayo defending, but will be delighted with the Connacht county’s output and creativity.

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