Nickey Rackard Cup Match Report
- Aug 01,2021
Nickey Rackard All-Ireland Hurling Final – Match Report
Magical Mayo power past Tyrone
The Mayo Senior Hurlers were outstanding today in the final of the Nickey Rackard Cup at Croke Park and fully deserved there sixteen point victory. Derek Walsh’s side led from the off and never looked in trouble despite Tyrone throwing everything at them in the second half. Mayo used the hurt of last year’s defeat at the hands of Donegal to motivate themselves and they certainly erased that huge disappointment with a polished and powerful display at GAA headquarters.
Inspirational captain Keith Higgins was immense from start to finish and his delightful distribution and intricate stick work got the westerns off to a flying start. The Ballyhaunis maestro hit seven magical points over the seventy minutes but it was his leadership, determination and his enormous desire to eventually win an All-Ireland at Croke Park that really stood out.
Shane Boland, Cathal Freeman, Adrian Phillips, David Kenny and Stephen Coyne ably assisted Higgins in an explosive opening quarter for Mayo. Boland and Higgins landed points inside the first five minutes with Sean Regan also getting on the score sheet. Cathal Freeman orchestrated attack after attack for Mayo and when Tyrone goalkeeper Conor McElhatton misplaced a clearance with seven minutes played, Sean Regan pounced to riffle a brilliant piledriver to the top corner of the net.
Damien Casey was deadly accurate from frees for Tyrone but he ploughed a lone furrow for long periods with the teak tough Mayo defence blocking, hooking and putting their bodies on the line time and time again to cut out the danger. Centre back Chris Kearns sent over a monster score for Tyrone on the stroke of the first water break but Mayo never flinched and continued to drive forward with purpose and poise.
After the sos uisce Mayo Full Forward Adrian Phillips and Higgins notched three more points before Mayo custodian Bobby Douglas brilliantly saved a penalty from Casey after Michael Morley dragged down the in rushing CJ McGourty. Morley was sent to the sin bin but Mayo continued to dominate the game and hit four more points before the short whistle. Cormac Phillips, Sean Regan again and two long-range efforts from Cathal Freeman pushed the score out to 1-15 for Mayo to Tyrone’s 0-05 at the break.
Cathal Freeman reverted to a defensive sweeper role at the start of the second half and his ability to read the game and his deadly accurate passing scuppered any chance of a second half Tyrone revival.
Casey and Kearns landed points for the Ulster men early in the second half but Mayo remained calm and focused. Even when Conor Grogan burst through after 43 minutes and found the Mayo net, the Westerners responded immediately. Boland, Higgins and Kenny once again combined brilliantly to set up Cathal Freeman for Mayo’s second goal. Freeman made no mistake when the opportunity arose sending the sliotar low and hard to the right of the Tyrone keeper. A few minutes later Freeman stepped up to take a Mayo penalty after Jason Coyne was upended in front of goal. The Tyrone keeper Conor McElhatton headed for sin bin with centre forward CJ. McGourty forced to deputise between the posts. Freeman misplaced the penalty and his effort whizzed past the upright and went narrowly wide.
In the closing stages, Mayo headed for home with substitutes Brian Morley, Oisin Greally and Jason Coyne all scoring from play to round of a wonderful afternoon for the green and red at GAA headquarters.
Bobby Douglas, Stephen Coyne, Michael Morley, Conor Daly, Gary Nolan (0-01), David Kenny, Conor Henry, John Cassidy, Sean Kenny (0-01, 1f), Cormac Phillips (0-01), Cathal Freeman (1-04), Shane Boland (0-03, 2fs), Keith Higgins (0-07, 2’65), Adrian Phillips (0-03), Sean Regan (1-03).
Subs: Jason Coyne (0-01) for Cormac Phillips (48), Pearse McCrann for John Cassidy (47), Brian Morley (0-02) for Adrian Phillips (61), Oisin Greally (0-01) for Shane Boland (68).
Tyrone: Conor McElhatton, Sean Paul McKernan, Dean Rafferty, Conor McNally, Jarlath Kerr, Chris Kearns (0-03), Lorcan Devlin, Ciaran Lagan, Micheal Little, Conor Grogan (1-00), C.J. McGourty, Damien Casey (0-09, 6fs) Roru Weir, Cain Ferguson, Bryan McGurk (0-01).
Subs: Tiernan Morgan (0-01) for Cian Ferguson (31), Dermot Begley for Conor McNally (HT), Padraig McHugh for Sean Paul McKernan (43), Sean Óg Grogan for Rory Weir (45), Sean Donaghy for Micheal Little (69).
Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly).