Dublin: 13°C Saturday 23 October 2021

A late, late Donegal point books their place in Division 1 semi-finals to deny Mayo

Rory Gallagher’s men will face Cork next weekend.

Donegal's Martin McElhinney with Mayo's Lee Keegan.
Donegal's Martin McElhinney with Mayo's Lee Keegan.
Image: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

Mayo 0-12
Donegal 1-9

STEPHEN GRIFFIN’S POINT two minutes into injury time sealed Donegal’s place in the National League semi-finals next weekend.

Mayo kicked themselves out of the winning of this game, posting nine wides in the second half alone, with Patrick Durcan dropping the ball into Michael Boyle’s hands from close range when Mayo were leading by one and a point.

Mayo finished the game with 14 men after Donal Vaughan was sent off late on when he picked up a black card to go with a previous yellow as he tried to stop a Donegal attack. Diarmaid O’Connor also got shown a black card shortly afterwards as he tried to stop Paddy McGrath in the build up to Griffin’s levelling score.

Mayo had to make a late, late change to their starting 15 right before the throw in when Ger Cafferkey got injured in the warm up. That made three changes from the starting 15 named on Thursday night with both Alan Dillon and Tom Parsons having to cry off injured earlier in the day.

Donegal hit the ground running and Odhrán Mac Niallais and Martin McElhinney landed a point each in the opening minute. Mayo hit back strongly with four points on the bounce. Jason Doherty kicked their first from a free before Barry Moran landed one from play. Another Doherty free and a Kevin McLoughlin effort after he was picked out by Danny Kirby put them two clear.

Donegal hit back right away and scored a great goal, they broke the length of the field with Frank McGlynn and Martin O’Reilly going through the heart of the Mayo defence before Patrick McBrearty drove the ball past Kenneth O’Malley. Mac Niallais added on two more points with McBrearty kicking a free to put Donegal into a 1-5 to 0-4 lead six minutes before the break.


Mayo responded well and kicked three points without reply over the next six minutes with Moran, Vaughan and Aidan O’Shea raising the white flag.

After the break Barry Moran and Diarmuid O’Connor kicked two early scores to put Mayo into the lead. But they failed to make their dominance count as they kicked wide after wide. Colm McFadden levelled the game on 53 minutes, before Michael Conroy and Kevin McLoughlin got two more scores for the home side. Patrick McBrearty fisted the ball over the bar at the end of a break-neck move started in the Donegal full back line to leave it level again with nine minutes left.

McLoughlin found his range after Mayo kicked four wides on the trot to put his team back in front with four minutes left on the clock and the semi-finals beckoned.
But Mayo couldn’t hold on and with the last attack of the game deep in injury time Stephen Griffin found space inside to slot the ball over the bar and send the 2012 All Ireland champions into the semi-finals.

Scorers for Mayo: Barry Moran (0-3), Kevin McLoughlin (0-3, 1f), Jason Doherty (0-2, 2f), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Donal Vaughan (0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1), Michael Conroy (0-1)

Scorers for Donegal: Patrick McBrearty (1-3, 2f), Odhrán Mac Niallais (0-3), Colm McFadden (0-1), Martin McElhinney (0-1), Stephen Griffen (0-1)


1. Kenneth O’Malley (Ballinrobe)

17. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
3. Kevin Keane (Westport)
4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis) (Captain)

5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
7: Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)

8. Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels)
21. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy)

10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
24. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
12. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)

13. Mark Ronaldson (Shrule-Glencorrib)
14. Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
25. Michael Conroy (Davitts) for Ronaldson (HT)
19. Stephen Coen (Hollymount Carramore) for Harrison (45)
26. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen) for Kirby (54)
22. Mikie Sweeney (Kiltane) for Moran (BS, 58)
27. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen) for Sweeney (BS 59)
20. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels) for Boyle (69)
23. Neil Douglas (Castlebar Mitchels) for McLoughlin (67)
18. Michael Hall (Breaffy) for O’Connor (BC 72)


1. Michael Boyle (An Tearman)

7. Frank McGlynn (Ghleann Fhinne)
3. Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
5. Paddy McGrath (Ard an Rátha)

4. Éamon McGee (Gaoth Dobhair) (Captain)
6: Karl Lacey (Na gCeithre Máistir)
12. Ryan McHugh (Cill Chartha)

14. Hugh McFadden (Na Cella Beaga) C
11. Odhrán Mac Niallais (Gaoth Dobhair)

2. Éamon Doherty (Naomh Adhmháin)
8. Martin McElhiney (Naomh Micheal)
9. Christy Toye (Naomh Micheal)

10. Martin O’Reilly (Sean MacCumhaills)
13. Patrick McBrearty (Cill Chartha)
15. Colm McFadden ( Naomh Micheal)


18. Ciaran McGinley (Cill Charta) for Toye (42)
17. Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conail) for Doherty (42)
19. Mark McHugh (Cill Charta) for H McFadden (BC 56)
23. Stephen Griffin (Naomh Naille) for McGinley (58)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

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About the author:

Colm Gannon

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