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Super sub McLoughlin bags late goal against Meath to hand Mayo first league win

Kevin McLoughlin dispatched 1-2 after his half-time introduction.

Mayo 1-9

Meath 2-5

KEVIN MCLOUGHLIN SCORED 1-2 off the bench in the second-half to save Mayo’s bacon and hand them a late victory over Meath in a full-blooded encounter. 

kevin-mcloughlin-the-winning-goal Mayo's Kevin McLoughlin hits the winning goal. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

It was the proverbial game of two halves amid galeforce conditions in Navan. Mayo were full value for their six-point half-time lead but badly lost their urgency after the break. Meath, driven on by powerhouse Bryan Menton at midfield, scored two goals between the 50th and 54th minutes to take control.

Mayo hadn’t scored for the entire second period when McLoughlin curled over a 63rd minute free. He added one from play in the 68th minute to draw Mayo level before rattling in the game-winning goal two minutes later. 

McLoughlin then turned over Robin Clarke and slipped it to Ryan O’Donoghue, who returned the favour. The Knockmore ace finished past Marcus Brennan to send the travelling Mayo support into raptures. 

The Royals brought the deficit down to one in the dying minutes but time eventually ran out on their challenge.

A first win of the Division 1 campaign will ease Mayo’s relegation fears. eath, despite their spirited performance here, leave empty-handed and are looking set for an immediate return to the second tier after a third straight defeat.

mayo-players-celebrate-after-the-game Mayo players celebrate after the game. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Aidan O’Shea and Lee Keegan arrived into the Mayo team as late additions. O’Shea went into full-forward in the first-half and played at midfield in the second period, while Keegan was one of four visiting players on the half-back line. 

It took Mayo a while to get going, even with the wind at their backs. Some lovely long-range shooting from Paddy Durcan and Fergal Boland helped James Horan’s side settle into the game. 

Marcus Brennan, the 35-year-old veteran who stepped into the fray last week after Andrew Colgan’s knee injury, once again manned the goals for the Royals. He had a difficult task to outmanoeuvre Mayo’s full-court press on restarts against the gale.

Boland stroked over two stunning efforts from the outside of the boot that his coach Ciaran McDonald would have been proud of. Meath were creating chances against the gale but their finishing let the down. They converted just one of six shots with Menton’s 20th minute effort their sole contribution to the scoreboard in the opening period.

bryan-menton-and-stephen-coen Meath's Bryan Menton and Stephen Coen of Mayo. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Mayo went in 7-1 ahead at the interval. Horan pulled O’Shea out to the middle third and left O’Donoghue in the full-forward line on his own. Meath seriously upped the ante as Mayo started to to run down cul de sacs up front. 

Then the Royals struck 2-1 in a devastating four-minute spell that turned the game on its head. Menton’s fetch at midfield started off a flowing move that saw Donal Keogan and  James McEntee exchange a pair of one-twos before the latter finished past Rob Hennelly.

Bryan McMahon stroked over a free and then Ronan Jones smashed in their second goal to send Andy McEntee’s side into the lead for the first time. 

Mayo’s opening score of the half arrived in the 63rd minute via a free from substitute Kevin McLoughlin. That drew them level, but Cillian O’Sullivan immediately restored Meath’s one-point lead with a glorious free from distance.

A Paddy Durcan point attempt dropped into the hands of O’Donoghue, who fed McLoughlin to draw the Westerners level with two minutes to spare. McLoughlin’s struck for his goal in the 70th minute and Mayo left with their opening win of the campaign. Just about.

Scorers for Mayo: Kevin McLoughlin 1-2 (0-1f), Fergal Boland and James Carr (0-1f) 0-2 each, Paddy Durcan, Ryan O’Donoghue and Tommy Conroy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: Ronan Jones and James McEntee 1-0 each, Bryan MacMahon 0-2 (0-1f), Bryan Menton, Cillian O’Sullivan (0-1m) and Thomas O’Reilly 0-1 each.

Mayo

1. Robert Hennelly (Breaffy)

5. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet)
3. James McCormack (Claremorris)
4. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)

19. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber)
7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)

8. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet)
12. James Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)

13. Tommy Conroy (The Neale)
26. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
14. James Carr (Ardagh)

Subs

15. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore) for Carr (ht)
23. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina) for Conroy (ht)
20. Eoghan McLoughlin (Castlebar) for McCormack (55)
22. Ciaran Treacy (Ballina Stephenites) for James Durcan (60)
21. Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber) for Boland (68)

Meath

1. Marcus Brennan (Navan O’Mahonys)

3. Conor McGill (Ratoath)
20. Ronan Ryan (Druim Samhradh)
4. David Toner (Curraha)

6. Brian Conlon (Simonstown Gaels)
2. Robin Clarke (Duleek Bellewstown)
7. Donal Keogan (Rathkenny)

8. Bryan Menton (Donaghmore Ashbourne)
9. Ronan Jones (St Peter’s, Dunboyne)

5. James McEntee (Curraha)
11. Bryan McMahon (Ratoath)
22. Ethan Devine (Na Fianna)

13. Cillian O’Sullivan (Moynalvey)

14. Thomas O’Reilly (Wolfe Tones)
24. Shane Walsh (Na Fianna)

Subs

15. Joey Wallace (Ratoath) for Walsh (47)
12. Eamon Wallace (Ratoath) for Devine (53)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone) 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Pairc Tailteann

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