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McLoone goal condemns Mayo to third successive defeat

A strong finish from Donegal secured the two points for the hosts, to the delight of the crowd in Ballybofey.

Donegal's Eamon McGee in pursuit of Mayo forward Aidan O'Shea.
Donegal's Eamon McGee in pursuit of Mayo forward Aidan O'Shea.
Image: Presseye/Donna McBride/INPHO

Donegal 1-14

Mayo 1-12

Alan Foley reports from Ballybofey.

DONEGAL MAINTAINED THEIR 100 per cent record in the Allianz League Division 1 with a two-point win over Mayo in sunny Ballybofey.

In front of a huge crowd of 11,000 Mayo certainly contributed and were 1-10 to 0-10 in front with 46 minutes played.

However, a strong finish from the hosts, with Leo McLoone goaling 13 minutes from time, meant a third straight victory. Mayo, for their part, are still winless in Division 1 and only above Down on points difference.

There were nine bookings in a contest that approached championship intensity.

Mayo went three up when Diarmuid O’Connor planted a penalty into Peter Boyle’s bottom corner after the Donegal goalkeeper had fouled Evan Regan.

With the Donegal protestations, the kick took almost five minutes to be taken. O’Connor actually took it too early, as referee Barry Cassidy was holding court and then had to shoot past Boyle a second time.

However, Donegal finished strongly and an excellent goal from McLoone on 57 minutes was the catalyst for their victory. The substitute rounded off a flowing move that included spadework from Anthony Thompson, Christy Toye and Rory Kavanagh.

A fine individual score from an unlikely source, Mayo corner-back Brendan Harrison, gave the five-in-a-row Connacht champions a slender 0-8 to 0-7 half-time lead.

In a tit-for-tat contest, there was never more than two points between the teams with Mayo, more often than not, pushing the case.

Ryan and Eoin McHugh’s darting runs were piercing the occasional hole in the Mayo defence and Martin McElhinney passed up on the best goal chance of the opening period.

The substitute was only on the pitch a minute and was still finding his co-ordinates when he was freed by Ryan McHugh and blazed wide when one on one with Rob Hennelly.

Kevin McLoughlin tackled by Hugh McFadden and Ryan McHugh Mayo's Kevin McLoughlin is tackled by Hugh McFadden and Ryan McHugh of Donegal. Source: Presseye/Donna McBride/INPHO

Both teams registered eye-catching scores, with Mayo goalkeeper Hennelly placing over a superb long-range free, from more than 50 metres, from an angle following fine efforts from wing-backs Shane Nally and Lee Keegan.

For Donegal, Rory Kavanagh pointed on his first start since coming out of retirement and Ryan McHugh scored a nonchalant score with the outside of the right boot.

The second half wasn’t of the same quality but there was a buzz around the ground as things got occasionally fractious. But it was Donegal’s supporters who left with smiles on their faces.

Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy (0-5, 2f, 2 45), Patrick McBrearty (0-4, 3f), Leo McLoone (1-0), Odhrán MacNiallais and Ryan McHugh (0-2), Rory Kavanagh (0-1)

Scorers for Mayo: Evan Regan (0-4, 4f), Diarmuid O’Connor (1-0, pen) Rob Hennelly (0-2, 2f), Brendan Harrison, Lee Keegan, Aidan O’Shea, Shane Nally, Conor Loftus, Seamus O’Shea (0-1)

Donegal

1. Peter Boyle

2. Eamon McGee
3. Neil McGee
4. Paddy McGrath

5. Ryan McHugh
6. Frank McGlynn
7. Eamonn Doherty

8. Odhrán MacNiallais
9. Hugh McFadden

10. Michael Carroll
11. Rory Kavanagh
12. Eoin McHugh

13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Martin O’Reilly

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Subs: Martin McElhinney for Carroll (19), Anthony Thompson for Doherty (half-time), Neil Gallagher for McFadden (45), Christy Toye for Gallagher (46 black card), Leo McLoone for E McGee (51), Caolan Ward for O’Reilly (69).

Mayo

1. Robert Hennelly

2. Brendan Harrison
3. Ger Cafferkey
4. Keith Higgins

5. Lee Keegan
6. Colm Boyle
7. Shane Nally

8. Tom Parsons
9. Jason Gibbons

10. Diarmuid O’Connor
11. Aidan O’Shea
12. Conor O’Shea

13. Evan Regan
23. Kevin McLoughlin
21. Michael Hall

Subs: Conor Loftus for Higgins (24), Andy Moran for Regan (49), Donal Vaughan for Nally (54), Chris Barrett for Hall (60), Seamus O’Shea for Gibbons (63), Jason Doherty O’Connor (68).

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).

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Alan Foley

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