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McLoughlin's stunning 74th minute equaliser sees Mayo survive the drop and Donegal suffer relegation

Donegal were on course to stay up in Division 1 but Mayo hit the last three scores of the game to draw the game.

Donegal 0-13

Mayo 0-13

Colm Gannon reports from Ballybofey

KEVIN MCLOUGHLIN SAVED Mayo’s Division 1 status with a brilliant right-footed effort from distance in the fourth minute of stoppage-time to seal an unlikely draw against Donegal.

Donegal sprung Paddy McBrearty into their starting line up just before throw in for this must win game against Mayo and he lit the first half up with some brilliant shooting.

But it wasn’t to be for the home side as three points in the final six minutes saw Mayo earn the draw they needed to preserve their long stay in the top flight for another year and send Donegal into Division 2 for next year.

Kevin McLoughlin scores the point to tie the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Aidan O’Shea celebrates after the game with Kevin McLoughlin Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The visitors started the brightest and worked themselves into a four point lead inside the opening nine minutes, with Andy Moran landing three of their scores.

His second coming after he fisted the ball over the bar from close range after Shaun Patton had pulled off a great double save from Diarmuid O’Connor.

Moran could have rattled a goal himself with his third point, when Conor Loftus picked him out behind the cover with a quick free but he blazed the ball over the bar.

Donegal had the better of the next ten minutes kicking four points on the bounce with Ciaran Thomson, Eoghan Ban Gallagher and a Michael Murphy free cutting the gap back to just one with 17 minutes gone.

They levelled up the contest just before the 20 minute mark thanks to a brilliantly hit curling effort from Jamie Brennan from out of the left hand side.

Aidan O’Shea celebrates at the final whistle Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The returning McBrearty kicked Donegal into the lead with a brilliant score from the stand side of the park under pressure from Caolan Crowe, showing exactly why Donegal badly wanted him to make this one.

Eoghan Ban Gallagher put two between the sides with a good finish after a strong run through the heart of the Mayo defence.

Two minutes later McBrearty eased Donegal into an 0-8 to 0-5 lead with another great score from distance.

Mayo brought the gap back to two points through a Conor Loftus free on the half hour mark, but that was quickly replied to by a McBrearty free less than a minute later.

That was the final score of the half and sent Donegal in leading by 0-9 to 0-6 with 35 massive minutes of football to come for both teams.

Conor Loftus and Michael Murphy exchanged points inside the opening two minutes of the second half as the tension began to ratchet in Ballybofey.

The Crossmolina man and McBrearty were the next to exchange scores, before Loftus kicked two in a row to put just one between the teams as Mayo looked to be in a good position to do what they needed to get out of jail.

But Donegal weren’t for moving just yet, and Michael Murphy was putting in a dominating shift in the middle of the park and he drove them on to kick the next two points of the game through Jamie Brennan and a monster score from Odhran Mac Niallais to leave three between the teams with less than six minutes to go.

Andy Moran with Paddy McGrath Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Mayo dug in and kept going, Loftus tapped over a close range free on 65 minutes and then a minute into injury time Eoghan O’Donoghue powered up from corner back to drive one over the bar and leave just one between the sides.

It looked like Donegal might hold on as three minutes into injury time McBrearty had the chance to settle it, but his under hit shot dropped short and Mayo worked the ball up the park and the experienced head of Kevin McLoughlin kept his composure to slot the ball between the posts.

There was some off the ball scuffling before Shaun Patton could get the ball kicked out, but once that was sorted out and the ball left the Donegal keepers foot the final whistle was blown to the delight of the traveling crowd.

Michael Murphy dejected at the end of the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Scorers for Donegal: Patrick McBrearty 0-4 (0-2f), Michael Murphy 0-2 (0-1f), Jamie Brennan, Eoghan Ban Gallagher 0-2 each; Frank McGlynn, Ciaran Thompson, Odhran MacNiallais 0-1 each.

Scorers for Mayo: Conor Loftus 0-6 (0-5f), Andy Moran 0-3, Kevin McLoughlin 0-2, Eoin O’Donoghue and Jason Doherty 0-1 each.

Donegal

1. Shaun Patton (Naomh Adhamhnain)

2. Paddy McGrath (Ard an Rahta)
3. Eamon Doherty (Naomh Adhamhnain)
4. Eoghan Ban Gallagher (Na Cealla Beaga)

17. Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
6. Leo McLoone (Naomh Connaill)
7. Frank McGlynn (Gleann Fhinne)

8. Ciaran Thompson (Naomh Connaill)
9. Hugh McFadden (Na Cealla Beaga)

10. Jamie Brennan (Bun Dobhrain)
28. Paul Brennan (Bun Dobhrain)
12. Odhran Mac Niallais (Gaoth Dobhair)

13. Niall O’Donnell (Naomh Adhamhnain)
14. Michael Murphy (Gleann Suili)
27. Patrick McBrearty (Cill Chartha)

Subs
18. Mark McHugh (Naomh Micheal) for O’Donnell
21. Conor Morrison (Naomh Adhamhnain) for McGrath
15. Stephen McBrearty (Cill Chartha) for Thompson
5. Caolan Ward (Naomh Adhamhnain) for McGee
23. Cian Mulligan (Goath Dobhair) for Brennan

Mayo

1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)

2. Caolan Crowe (Garrymore)
17. David Drake (Ballaghderreen)
4. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet)

5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
6 Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore)
7. Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)

8. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)

10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

13. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)
14. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
25. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina)

Subs:

19. Michael Hall (Breaffy) for Drake
23. Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for S O’Shea
21. Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels) for Parsons
22. Alan Freeman (Aghamore) for Doherty

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Colm Gannon

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