Mayo's Rory Brickenden and Eoghan O'Loughlin celebrate after the game. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Mayo seal return to Division 1 at the first attempt after high-scoring clash with Clare

They prevailed following a stern encounter with Clare.

Mayo 2-22

Clare 2-18

Páraic McMahon reports from Cusack Park, Ennis

HAVING SUFFERED relegation from the top tier in 2020 for the first time in 23 years, Mayo have won promotion after holding off a stubborn Clare to prevail by four points on Sunday afternoon.

Hopes of an even contest materialised for the opening nine minutes but from here it was James Horan’s Mayo that dominated. In particular, they punished their opponents on counter-attacks and found it easier than expected to tear the Clare defence apart.

To their credit, Clare found an extra gear in the second half and slowly began to claw away at an 11-point deficit.

With nine minutes on the clock, Colm Collins’ Clare boasted a 0-05 0-03 advantage with white flags from Gavin Cooney, Cathal O’Connor, David Tubridy and a double from Eoin Cleary helping their cohort of the 200 supporters in Ennis to find their voice.

Glimpses of Mayo finding holes in the Clare defence and ripping through them were evident early on and it was highlighted in the conclusion of the first quarter when they tapped on 1-03 without reply.

In his 100th appearance for Mayo, Cillian O’Connor converted a penalty on 14 minutes. Indeed it was the Ballintubber man that was fouled by Cillian Brennan to be awarded the spot-kick by Niall Cullen. Both Cillian and his younger brother Diarmuid were forced off through injury before the sounding of the half-time whistle.

Matters took a further dent for the hosts when Mayo weaved together an excellent move off the back of the game’s first wide. The sequence began with a Rob Hennelly kick out and ended when Oisin Mullin fired the ball past Stephen Ryan to collect their second goal of the encounter on thirty minutes. With three of the last four scores of the half, Mayo went in at the interval leading 2-13 0-08.

Conor Jordan of Austin Stacks Tralee was introduced to make his first appearance in saffron and blue at half-time and was joined by Podge Collins who got his first piece of action this year. Their impact plus that of Emmet McMahon saw Clare put a very strong challenge together in the second half.

Goals from Éire Óg duo Darren O’Neill and Gavin Cooney aided Clare to find their renowned spirit. Cooney’s goal on 45 minutes brought the gap to seven points and with it a stronger sense of belief from the Banner.

Substitute Emmet McMahon kicked three fine points while his Mayo counterpart Paul Towey added vital scores at the other end to keep Mayo’s account ticking over. An Eoin Cleary free reduced the distance to a single score on 69 minutes but his marker Paddy Durcan kicked the final score to grind out the four-point win for James Horan’s charges and a place in Division 1 for the 12-time NFL champions.

Scorers Mayo: C O’Connor (1-04 2f), T Conroy (0-03), P Towey (0-03 2f), O Mullin (1-00), P Durcan (0-02), M Ruane (0-02), R O’Donoghue (0-02), B Walsh (0-01), S Coen (0-01), K McLoughlin (0-01), L Keegan (0-01), R Brickenden (0-01), D McHale (0-01).

Scorers Clare: E Cleary (0-08 6f), G Cooney (1-01), D O’Neill (1-00), D Tubridy (0-03), E McMahon (0-03), C O’Connor (0-01), P Lillis (0-01), P Collins (0-01).


1: Rob Hennelly (Breaffy)

4: Lee Keegan (Westport)

3: Oisin Mullin (Kilmaine)

2: Enda Hession (Garrymore)

5: Rory Brickenden (Westport)

6: Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchells)

7: Stephen Coen (Hollymount Carramore)

9: Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

8: Matthew Ruane (Breaffy)

10: Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)

11: Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)

12: Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber)

13: Tommy Conroy (The Neale)

14: Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)

15: Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet)


20: Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers) for D O’Connor (11) (Inj)

25: Paul Towey (Charlestown) for C O’Connor (35) (Inj)

22: Darren McHale (Knockmore) for O’Donoghue (50)

18: Eoghan O’Donoghue (Belmullet) for Hession (53)

26: Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers) for Conroy (62)

19: Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport) for Brickenden


1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)

2: Ciaran Russell (Eire Og)

3: Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)

4: Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis)

5: Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora)

6: Sean Collins (Cratloe)

7: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry-Ibrickane)

8: Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)

9: Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg)

10: Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare)

11: Eoin Cleary (St Josephs Miltown)

12: Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)

13: Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg)

15: David Tubridy (Doonbeg)

14: Joe Mc Gann (St. Breckans)


20: Conall Ó hÁiniféin (Éire Óg) for Walsh (23)

21: Conor Jordan (Austin Stacks) for E Collins (HT)

17: Padraic Collins (Cratloe) for McGann (HT)

19: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey) for Cooney (51) (Inj)

23: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart) for O’Connor (51)

24: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon) for Ó hÁiniféin (57)

25: Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Lillis (57)

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)

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