MAYO MAY HAVE wanted a drama-free game to get themselves back on winning ways in the championship, but that was far from what they were involved in against a spirited Derry side who ran out of steam in extra time as Mayo won by 11 points.
But even when the looked like they’d finally broken free of the Ulstermen midway through the first period of extra time — when leading by five points after Jason Doherty showed a poachers instinct to fire the ball to the back of the net after intercepting a short kick-out — they almost blew it.
Chris Barrett tussled with Shane McGuigan under a high ball and was judged to have fouled the Derry-man and spot kick was given. James Kielt stepped up, but his effort was saved by David Clarke.
Mayo then saw Patrick Durcan shown a straight red-card just before the half-time whistle, but they still went in leading by 2-17 to 1-13. Aidan O’Shea had the final say of that half with a point to cap an immense performance by the Breaffy man.
The second half of extra time was a canter for Mayo who tagged on four more points to close it out, but the sight of Cillian O’Connor walking off before the end of the game and Lee Keegan also having to leave the field injured will be worries for them ahead of their outing next weekend.
Derry went into the normal-time break leading by a single point on a score of 0-8 to 0-7, with Niall Loughlin leading the way on the scoreboard. He hit five points in the opening 35 minutes and Ryan Bell chipped in with two fine scores, while Benny Heron added the other for Damien Barton’s side.
Mayo were profligate in front of the posts in the opening half, kicking eight wides and relying on Cillian O’Connor’s free taking ability to keep them in touch. The Ballintubber man kicked five pointed frees, with Lee Keegan and Andy Moran both added a point each.
O’Connor put Mayo into the lead with a free just after throw-in when Aidan O’Shea was pulled to the ground as he tried to make an early break. Derry levelled it up five minutes later as both sides went almost score-for-score over the rest of the half, the biggest gap between them when Derry went into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead on 21 miuntes after Loughin’s third pointed free.
Mayo missed plenty of chances in the first half, kicking eight wides and both sides had goal chances with the best one falling to Derry wing-back Carlus McWilliams whose 25th minute chance was saved well by David Clarke and the rebound almost went in off the knee of Stephen Coen.
Cillian O’Connor had a goal chance for Mayo when he pulled on the ball from a tight angle, but Ben McKinless pulled of the first of a number of fine saves he made during normal time.
Mayo should have put Derry away in the second half, but they kicked another nine wides and saw McKinless pull off another few fine saves and another effort for a goal from Andy Moran come back off the post.
But a number of efforts for points form the likes of Tom Parsons, Kevin McLoughlin and Stephen Coen were ones they’ll have nightmares about. Derry were able to keep their noses in front thanks to Mayo’s poor shooting and looked like they might hang on, when they led 0-12 to 0-10 heading into the final five minutes.
Patrick Durcan finally stopped the Mayo rot in front of the posts with a point on 32 minutes to close the gap back to one and two minutes later, Conor Loftus lifted the roof off the stand in MacHale Park with a brilliant goal to edge Mayo in front by two.
He followed that up a minute later with a smart point and it looked like Mayo had saved their bacon.
But, there were more twists left in this one. Two minutes into injury time Carlus McWilliams launched the ball into the Mayo danger area where Mark Lynch rose higher than David Clarke and flicked the ball to the back of the net to level it up and send the game to extra time.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor (0-12, 9f, 1 45’), Conor Loftus (1-1), Jason Doherty (1-1), Andy Moran (0-2), Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Aidan O’Shea (0-1) Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1), Lee Keegan (0-1), Patrick Durcan (0-1)
Scorers for Derry: Niall Loughlin (0-6, 5f), Mark Lynch (1-1), Ryan Bell (0-3), Benny Heron (0-1), James Kielt (0-1), Danny Heavron (0-1)
1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
2. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
3. Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites)
4. Chris Barrett (Belmulet)
5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
6. Lee Keegan (Westport)
7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
18. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
9. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
22. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
14. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber, captain)
15. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
11. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber) for O’Shea (BS)
22. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy) for O’Connor
11. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber) for Boland
8. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy) for Vaaughan
21. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) for Coen
25. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina) for Moran
19. David Drake (Ballagherreen) for Harrison
Extra Time Subs:
17. Caolan Crowe (Garrymore) for Barrett
20. Shane Nally (Garrymore) for Keegan
Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels) for McLoughlin
1. Ben McKinless (Baile an Doire)
2. Niall Keenan (Seanmhullach)
3. Brendan Roge (Sleacht Neil)
4. Karl McKaigue (Sleacht Neil)
5. Ciaran McFaul (An Gleann)
6. Christopher McKaigue (Sleacht Neil)
7. Carlus McWilliams (Baile Na Scrine)
8. Conor McAtamney (Suitreach)
9. Danny Heavron (Machaire Fiolta)
10. Ryan Bell (Baile an Doire)
11. Niall Loughlin (Grianloch)
12. Enda Lynn (Grianloch)
13. Danny Tallon (An Gleann)
17. Michael McEvoy Machaire Fiolta
15. Benny Heron (Baile Na Scrine)
14. Emmett McGuckin (Machaire Fiolta) for McAtamney (Black Card)
20. Mark Lynch (Beannchar) for Tallon, 16. James Kielt (Cil Ria) for Bell
18. Shane McGuigan (Sleacht Neil) for Lynn
19. Conor Nevin-C (Baile an Doire) for McEvoy.
Extra Time Subs:
21. Neil Forester (Baile Stil) for McFaul
25. Gavin O’Neill (Beannchar) for Loughlin
22. Conor Doherty (Droichead Nua) for Heron.
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