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Durcan goal secures draw for Mayo in spectacular finish to clash with Donegal

Dramatic end to the action in Ballybofey.

James Durcan in action for Mayo against Donegal's Conor O'Donnell and Caolan Ward.
James Durcan in action for Mayo against Donegal's Conor O'Donnell and Caolan Ward.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

Donegal 0-19
Mayo 2-13

Alan Foley reports from Ballybofey

TWO YEARS ON from Kevin McLoughlin grabbing an unlikely late score to grab a draw for Mayo against Donegal in Ballybofey, this time it was James Durcan who provided a spectacular finish. 

Durcan was brought on four minutes from time and scored 1-3 in what time remained with his goal with the penultimate kick of the contest almost bursting the Donegal net some seven-and-a-half minutes into injury time – with the shot deflecting off Eoin McHugh on the way in.

In 2018 Donegal were relegated as they complained about McLoughlin over-carrying possession before scoring. Tonight, they can only blame themselves after a litany of missed opportunities in the first half.

Donegal were strong in the turnover and good moved forward at pace but eight wides, four drop-shorts and one off the upright meant Mayo were always in touching distance.

Michael Murphy, though, kicked eight placed balls and Jamie Brennan and Ciaran Thompson were getting in on the act.

Patrick Durcan’s skied pass took a while to drop early but James Carr, seeing he was the only person towards the River End at MacCumhaill Park alive to the situation, opted not to mark and from left-of-centre lobbed Shaun Patton in the Donegal goal.

Donegal scored the last five points in succession, with Thompson posting two of those from frees, to establish an 0-9 to 1-4 interval advantage, with the source of their chance creation being impressive turning over.

That pattern continued with Donegal pressing and Mayo clinging, thanks for frees from Diarmuid O’Connor and Durcan, when he came on. At no point did Mayo look like winning it but they proved their resolution not to throw in the towel.

Late scores from Thompson and Murphy looked to have got Donegal over the line, particularly with over seven minutes of injury the played. Mayo and Durcan, though, made sure it wasn’t a pointless exercise for the Westeners.

Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-8 (0-6f, 1m, 45), Ciaran Thompson 0-4 (0-3f), Jamie Brennan 0-2, Paul Brennan, Caolan McGonagle, Ryan McHugh, Michael Langan, Andrew McClean 0-1 each.

Scorers for Mayo: James Durcan 1-3 (0-2f), James Carr 1-0, Diarmuid O’Connor (0-2f), Fergal Boland, Brian Reape (0-1f), Kevin McLoughlin (0-1f) 0-2 each, Bryan Walsh, Tommy Conroy 0-1 each.

Donegal:

Shaun Patton

Caolan Ward
Neil McGee
Eoghan Ban Gallagher

Odhran McFadden-Ferry
Conor O’Donnell
Paul Brennan

Caolan McGonagle
Michael Langan

Eoin McHugh
Ryan McHugh
Jamie Brennan

Ciaran Thompson
Michael Murphy
Peadar Mogan

Subs

Hugh McFadden for McGonagle (38)
Brendan McCole for McFadden-Ferry (58)
Andrew McClean for P Brennan (62)
Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí for McHugh (64)Conor Morrison for McGee (66)

Mayo:

David Clarke

Oisin Mullin
Brendan Harrison
Colm Boyle

Padraig O’Hora
Stephen Coen
Patrick Durcan

Tom Parsons
Jordan Flynn

Bryan Walsh
Diarmuid O’Connor
Fergal Boland

Ryan O’Donoghue
Brian Reape
James Carr

Subs

Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin and Tommy Conroy for Parsons and Reape (half-time),
Keith Higgins for Walsh (58)
James Durcan (1-3, 2f) for Boland (66)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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About the author:

Alan Foley

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