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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 15 July, 2020

Mayo endure yet more qualifier drama in one-point win over Armagh

James Horan’s side are in Monday’s draw – but tonight’s win came at a cost.

Paddy Durcan and Donie Vaughan celebrate at full-time.
Paddy Durcan and Donie Vaughan celebrate at full-time.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Mayo 2-13

Armagh 1-15

Colm Gannon reports from Elverys MacHale Park

MAYO NEVER DO it easy or make it boring, but they are in the hat for Monday morning’s qualifier draw after being pushed all the way by Armagh. The win came at a cost, however, after they picked up another injury to a key player, with Lee Keegan helped from the field before half-time. 

Mayo went in leading by a single point at the break, but they were also going into the second half without two of the last three winners of the Footballer of the Year award.  Andy Moran was called ashore on 31 minutes, and two minutes later Lee Keegan was forced out of the game through injury.

Armagh came to Castlebar ready to battle right from the off and with a healthy support making the long trek to the west. Conor Loftus put Mayo in front on three minutes with a sweetly hit free from the right-hand side of the field after Moran was fouled.

Rory Grugan responded for Armagh two minutes later with a well-taken effort and they followed that up less than 60 seconds later with the first goal of the day. Jamie Clarke and Aidan Nugent linked up well to feed the ball to Rain O’Neill, who played the ball home from close to put Armagh three clear.

Mayo’s response was almost instantaneous. Aidan O’Shea picked out Andy Moran, who looked to have lost the chance with the ball slipping out of his grasp but having regained it, he fed the ball to Fionn McDonagh who drove the ball low to Blaine Hughes net.

The Orchard county responded through points from O’Neill and Rory Grugan to go two clear before the ten-minute mark. Conor Loftus slotted over a free for Mayo to cut the gap to one and McDonagh levelled it up just before the quarter of an hour mark.

Lee Keegan leaves the field injured Keegan is helped from the field, injured. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Jamie Clarke – who put on an exhibition of shooting along with Darren Coen for Mayo -tagged on Armagh’s fourth point which was responded to quickly by Coen’s first of the day.

Stefan Campbell made Mayo pay for a sloppy turnover to put his side one clear again 11 minutes before the break, but they failed to add to that tally before the
whistle while Mayo added points from Paddy Durcan and Jason Doherty to go in leading 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.

Jamie Clarke kick-started the second half with two beautiful curling points from the left hand side to put Armagh back into the lead, while Mayo raised their first white flag of the half on 41 minutes when McLoughlin was found inside the cover by Coen.

Parity lasted all of a minute before Clarke landed another beauty.

Not to be outdone, Darren Coen then bisected the posts with two excellent scores from the left to put Mayo into a 1-9 to 1-8 lead.

Niall Grimley then hammered one over from long range and Donal Vaughan scooped over a point for the hosts as the temperature began to ratchet up in the ground.

The crowd were even more enthused when Cillian O’Connor was sprung from the bench  with 48 minutes gone on the clock.

The vital score in the game came with 20 minutes left. Kevin McLoughlin picked up the ball out on the right and cut a dash through the heart of the Armagh defence before he lobbed the ball over Hughes to the roof of the net and put Mayo 2-10 to 1-9 ahead.

Darren Coen stretched that lead out to five points three minutes later and it looked like Mayo were home.

Aidan O'Shea with fans after the game Aidan O'Shea is mobbed at full time. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

But that’s not the Mayo way of doing things and Armagh were not going to give up either – Clarke and Grugan hit quick-fire points to bring it back to a three point game.

Grugen should have hit the net when Armagh intercepted an Aidan O’Shea pass and he ended up clear through – but his effort whistled over the bar.

Then Stefan Campbell made Stephen Coen pay for being caught in possession and it was just a two-point game with nine minutes left.

The same man put the bare minimum between the sides a minute later and Mayo were living on their nerves.

Cillian O’Connor eased those nerves a little bit when he slotted over a free from close range, that was brought in closer for some off the ball fouling by the Armagh defence. He repeated the trick a minute later and it looked like that would do it for Mayo.

Armagh were’t done yet though – Rain O’Neill pointed a free, then Campbell tagged on another after Armagh closed down Mayo on their kick-out and it was all to play for.

Armagh did have one last chance when they won a free 50 meters out, they played it short and it ended up with Niall Gimley who took on the effort – but it trailed wide and
ended Armagh’s summer.

Scores for Mayo: Fionn McDonagh (1-1), Kevin McLoughlin (1-1), Darren Coen (0-4),
Cillian O’Connor (0-2, 2f) Conor Loftus (0-2, 2f), Patrick Durcan (0-1), Donal Vaughan (0-1), Jason Doherty (0-1)

Scorers for Armagh: Jamie Clarke (0-5, 2f), Rian O’Neill (1-2, 2f), Stefan Campbell (0-4), Rory Grugan (0-3), Niall Grimley (0-1)


1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)

4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
3. Brendan Harrision (Aghamore)
2. Chris Barrett (Belmullet)

5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
18. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)

9. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Mikey Murray (Ballina Stephenites)

10. Fionn McDonagh (Westport)
22. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)
21. Ciaran Treacy (Ballina Stephenites)

11. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers)
14. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
24. Darren Coen (Hollymount-Carramore)q

Subs: 13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore) for Moran, 20. Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore) for Keegan, 8. Donal Vaughan (Castlebar Mitchels) for Murray, 25. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber) for Loftus, 15. Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for Doherty, 23. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenities) for Treacy


1. Blaine Hughes (St Patricks Carrickcruppen)

7. Mark Shields (An Chrois Bhán)
2. Paddy Burns (Forkhill)
3. Aaron McKay (Dromintee St Patrick’s)

4. Paul Hughes (Crossmaglen Rangers)
5. Aidan Forker (An Machaire)
6. Brendan Donaghy (Clonmore)

8. Jarlath Og Burns (Silverbridge Harps)
9. Niall Grimley  (Madden)

10. Jemar Hall (Forkhill)
11. Aidan Nugent (St Patricks Cullyhanna)
12. Stefan Campbell (Clan na Gael)

13. Jamie Clarke (Neasden Gaels)
14. Rian O’Neill (Crossmaglen Rangers)
15. Rory Grugan (Ballymacnab)

Subs: 16. Ethan Rafferty (An Ghrainseach) for Nugent, 18. Greg McCabe
(Sheain Ui Neill Camloch) for McKay, 20. Ben Crealy (An Machaire) for

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

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About the author:

Colm Gannon

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