"You can talk all you want about game-plans and tactics..." - Peter Canavan sums it up as Rossies stun Mayo
Roscommon 2-8 Mayo 0-10
The Enda Smith Diarmuid Murtagh double-act inspired Roscommon to a famous win over Mayo.
Murtagh and Smith were simply sensational as Davy Burke's side ground their way to a hard fought victory. The conditions were poor and, as a result, the scoring was low but due to their hunger and heart, Roscommon looked like likely winners from a long way out.
Despite playing against a gale-force breeze, the Rossies went into the interval leading by 2-2 to 0-4 and though Mayo huffed and puffed in the second half, they couldn't break the door down.
The Smiths, Enda and Donie scored the goals which, in the end, would prove priceless.
Roscommon were playing against a MacHale Park storm in the first half which, unsurprisingly, saw them opened up for some big first half chances.
Some of these were of their own doing, as between their defence and goalkeeper, they were caught dithering in possession.
Luckily for them, between Stephen Coen and Tommy Conroy, Mayo conspired to botch these chances. Conroy fisted his one wide when Aidan O'Shea was wide open on the 14 yard line while, having been set up by O'Shea, centre back Coen kicked his one off the bar.
Roscommon didn't miss their goal chances, however.
Enda Smith converts from the penalty spot to increase Roscommon's lead to four. pic.twitter.com/kuEcEvNVMi
— The GAA (@officialgaa) April 9, 2023
Conor Loftus fouled David Murray for a penalty which, against the roars of the partisan Castlebar crowd, Enda Smith dispatched with confidence and class.
He sent Colm Reape the wrong way and this sent belief coursing through the Roscommon team. They'd been hunting in packs from the very start, suffocating Mayo every time they won possession and suddenly, it seemed like there was a shock on the cards.
Then, after Ciaran Lennon's shot was blocked, Donie Smith reacted quickest to score their second goal.
Mayo tried hard in the second half but with Diarmuid Murtagh on fire - he kicked four second half points - there was no catching the Rossies. Afterwards, Davy Burke punched the air in delight, before giving his wooly hat to a young Roscommon fan.
And in the end, Peter Canavan summed it up best.
"You can talk all you want about game-plans and tactics," said the Tyrone man,
"but, a lot of games in championship football comes down to heart, and hunger and what team wants it the most.
"And it was very obvious from the start that Roscommon were really, really up for this. Their attitude and work-rate today was something else."
Lee Keegan, meanwhile, was full of praise for that man Enda Smith, who was named as the RTÉ man-of-the-match.
"He put in an enormous shift around the middle. His last point just summed him up, and the Roscommon performance in general, taking Stephen Coen on down the line.
"It wasn't a day for pretty football. But it was an enormous shift from Roscommon."
That it most certainly was.