Nicky Rackard Cup final: Mayo trounce Tyrone 2-27 to 1-14 in Croke Park decider

Adrian Phillips and Chris Kearns
Adrian Phillips and Chris Kearns in action during the Nicky Rackard final at Croke Park

Tyrone suffered a heavy 2-27 to 1-14 defeat to Mayo in the Nicky Rackard Cup final, losing to a quality Mayo team.

The westerners erased the disappointment of defeat to Donegal in last year's decider to make no mistake in collecting their second title.

Brilliantly led by inspirational skipper Keith Higgins, they were never troubled by a Tyrone team that was always chasing the game.

Sean Regan and Cathal Freeman netted for Mayo, Conor Grogan for Tyrone.

Mayo were in control from an early stage, with Shane Boland and Keith Higgins sending over scores,, and in the fifth minute they punished a defensive error.

Regan picked up a stray clearance from goalkeeper Conor McElhatton to blast his shot to the net, and the Connacht men were well on their way.

Damian Casey sent over a couple of Tyrone frees and centre back Chris Kearns sent over a massive point from inside his own half.

They trailed buy 1-7 to 0-4 at the water break, but Tyrone had a chance to get themselves on track when they were awarded a 19th-minute penalty, with Mayo full back Michael Morley sent to the sin bin.

However, Casey saw his effort saved by Bobby Douglas, and Mayo responded by hitting seven points on the spin, from Freeman, Phillips and Higgins.

They lead by 1-15 to 0-5 at the interval, and continued to dictate, despite spells of Tyrone pressure.

Advantage extended in second half

Kenny was a commanding figure at the heart of the Mayo defence, with Freeman providing extra cover as sweeper as they frustrated the Ulster side.

Casey did send steer over a couple of scores early in the second half, and Grogan broke through for a 42nd minute goal, but Mayo were soon back on the attack.

Freeman got in behind the last defender to fire a shot low to the net for his side's second goal, and a 13 points lead by the 45th minute.

They were awarded a 53rd minute penalty, and with goalkeeper Conor McElhatton sent to the sin bin, CJ McGourty stepped in to face up to Freeman, but he sent his shot wide.

There were no worries, however, for a comfortable Mayo side, as they continued to dictate, despite spells of Tyrone pressure that produced scores for Casey and Kearns.

Freeman, Regan and Jason Coyne stretched the lead and they won pulling up to add to their 2016 success.

Mayo: B Douglas; S Coyne, M Morley, C Daly; G Nolan, D Kenny (0-1), C Henry; J Cassidy, S Kenny (0-1, f); C Phillips (0-1), C Freeman (1-4), S Boland (0-3, 2f); K Higgins (0-7, 1f, 1 '65), A Phillips (0-3), S Regan (1-3).

Subs: J Coyne (0-1) for C Phillips (46), P McCrann for Cassidy (46), B Morley (0-2) for A Phillips (60), O Greally (0-1) for Boland (66)

Tyrone: C McElhatton; SP McKernan, D Rafferty, C McNally; J Kerr, C Kearns (0-3), L Devlin; C Lagan, M Little; C Grogan (1-0), CJ McGourty, D Casey (0-9, 6f); R Weir, C Ferguson, B McGurk (0-1).

Subs: T Morgan (0-1) for Ferguson (30), D Begley for McNally (h-t), P McHugh for McKernan (38), S Og Grogan for Weir (43), S Donaghy for Little (63)

Referee: R Fitzsimons (Offaly).

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