Wednesday 23 August 2017

Wayward Mayo survive scare to eventually shake off Derry

Mayo 2-21 Derry 1-13

Conor Loftus celebrates scoring a goal for Mayo against Derry in Elverys MacHale Park last night. Photo: David Maher. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Loftus celebrates scoring a goal for Mayo against Derry in Elverys MacHale Park last night. Photo: David Maher. Photo: Sportsfile

Seán McGoldrick

Last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo survived a huge scare in Castlebar last night before securing a place in tomorrow's third round qualifying draw when they beat Derry - but only after extra-time.

The home side struggled through normal time though a goal from substitute Conor Loftus looked to have secured a win in the 69th minute only for the visitors to equalise through substitute Mark Lynch's goal to sent the contest to extra-time.

Mayo's Seamus O'Shea edges ahead Derry's Benny Heron. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo's Seamus O'Shea edges ahead Derry's Benny Heron. Photo: Sportsfile

Having looked in trouble for long periods, Mayo dominated extra-time, scoring 1-9 with Derry only managing a point and their last chance of securing a famous win disappeared when James Kielt's 77th-minute penalty was saved by David Clarke.

Right from the start Derry belied their underdog status as they ran at Mayo and three excellent points from Niall Loughlin, Benny Heron and Ryan Bell had the visitors 0-5 to 0-3 up after 17 minutes. Mayo almost had a goal in the 19th minute when a dipping shot from Andy Moran was tipped off the post by Ben McKinless before he brilliantly saved the rebound from Cillian O'Connor. But at the other end Mayo had an equally fortunate escape when after Clarke had saved well from Carlus McWilliams, the rebound ricocheted off the upright and dropped wide of the post.

Mayo were totally reliant on O'Connor's placed balls to keep the scoreboard ticking over and a free from Niall Loughlin in the third minute of injury-time gave Derry a deserved lead at the break (0-8 to 0-7).

The poverty of Mayo's efforts up front was reflected in the fact that they managed two points from play in the first half - Derry hit four - and only one of the Mayo forwards, Andy Moran, scored from play.

Derry's Emmett McGuckin and Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo tussle. Photo: Sportsfile
Derry's Emmett McGuckin and Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo tussle. Photo: Sportsfile

But Derry suffered a bad blow just before the break when influential midfielder Conor McAtamney was black-carded for a drag-down foul on Tom Parsons. Ryan Bell notched his third play from play immediately after the resumption. As the home fans began to get more agitated, Mayo responded with Lee Keegan leading the line and they managed back-to-back points to draw level by the 40th minute.

A monster point off the post from Danny Heavron had Derry in front again but they were riding their luck at the other end. Andy Moran rifled a shot off the upright and McKinless brilliantly saved O'Connor's rebound. The latter - whose free long-range free-taking was wayward - did nail the resultant '45, but with 20 minutes left a Loughlin free at the other end restored the visitors' slender lead.

McKinless was emerging as the Derry hero and he saved another point-blank shot from Moran in the 56th minute. A free from substitute James Kielt left Derry two clear with ten minutes remaining. The confidence was ebbing visibly from the Mayo side as the clock ticked down.

But there was more drama in the closing five minutes than in the preceding 65. Patrick Durcan kicked Mayo's fourth point from play; Chrissy McKaigue missed a chance but there were several more twists. Mayo's best move of the game involving Seamus O'Shea, Cillian O'Connor and Conor Loftus culminated in the latter blasting to the net in the 69th minute and when he added a point, they looked safe.

But Derry went straight down the field and sub Mark Lynch punched a McWilliams cross to the net to level the game at 1-12 each. Mayo had two decent chances in six minutes of injury time - but a shot from O'Connor rebounded off the upright while a long-range effort from Seamus O'Shea drifted wide. It was their 17th wide.

But Mayo dominated the first half of extra-time, hitting 1-2 without reply, the goal coming from substitute Jason Doherty after McKinless miscued a short kick-out but the keeper then made his fourth outstanding save to deny Cillian O'Connor.

Derry missed a chance to get back into the contest when Kevin Loughlin upended Shane McGuigan in the Mayo penalty area but Clarke comfortably saved James Kielt's effort from the spot.

Mayo added two more points but they lost Patrick Durcan to a straight red card at the end of the first period of extra-time - but were now in control leading 2-17 to 1-13. Mayo added six more points in the second half but Lee Keegan was forced off with a shoulder injury.

Scorers

Mayo: C O'Connor 0-12 (9f, 1 '45); C Loftus, J Doherty 1-1 each; A Moran 0-2; L Keegan, P Durcan, A O'Shea, K McLoughlin, D O'Connor 0-1 each.

Derry: N Loughlin 0-6 (5f); M Lynch 1-1; R Bell 0-3; D Heavron, B Heron, J Kielt (f) 0-1 each.

Derry: B McKinless; N Keenan, B Rogers, K McKaigue; C McFaul, C McKaigue, C McWilliams; C McAtamney, D Heavron; R Bell, N Loughlin, E Lynn; D Tallon, M McEvoy, B Heron. Subs: E McGuckin for McAtamney (BC 35+3); M Lynch for Tallon (47); J Kielt for Bell (58); S McGuigan for Lynn (67), C Neville for McEvoy (70+5). ET: N Forrester for McFaul (75); G O'Neill for Loughlin (85); C O'Doherty for Heron (87).

Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, G Cafferkey, C Barrett; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; A O'Shea, T Parsons; F Boland, K McLoughlin, D Vaughan; S Coen, C O'Connor, A Moran. Subs: D O'Connor for Boland (h-t); S O'Shea for Vaughan (55); J Doherty for Coen (55); C Loftus for Moran (63); D Drake for Harrison (63). ET: C Crowe for Barrett (82); S Nally for Keegan (85), D Kirby for McLoughlin (87).

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)

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