Horan relieved after Mayo survive London scare
Mayo 0-19 London 2-10 (After extra-time)
A SHELL-SHOCKED Mayo came within minutes of crashing out of the Connacht championship after an inspired London display in Ruislip.
Trailing by two points (1-9 to 0-10) with four minutes to go, points from substitutes Trevor Mortimer and Kevin McLoughlin sent the game into extra-time after a nail-biting final quarter.
From here, Mayo were always favourites to win, but they were forced to endure another big scare when London's Cathal O'Sullivan punched a goal, leaving one point between the sides with 80 minutes played.
"You can make a load of excuses about travelling and the occasion and how it can put players off," said Mayo manager James Horan. "But London were good today and we were a bit off-kilter.
"They were organised, their fitness looked pretty good, they played with great heart and great commitment and they gave us a real battle. It's only a matter of time before someone gets caught here.
"London were strong and not afraid to take us on up front, but we made it hard for ourselves, missed a penalty and a few things like that, but we came through it and that was the objective coming over."
London had been written off, but a goal from man of the match Paul Geraghty after 20 minutes was inspirational as the Exiles led from the start, right through to the 72nd minute when Andy Moran pointed for Mayo to force extra-time.
"Two minutes to go and two points down, it wasn't looking good," said Horan. "We played in fits and starts and made an awful lot of wrong decisions, but we stuck at it. Looking ahead to Galway in Castlebar, this form goes out the window."
London led by three points (1-4 to 0-4) at the interval and the majority of the 4,000 crowd expected Mayo to kick on in the second half with the wind, but their wastefulness continued to hold them back.
However, scores from McLoughlin, Andy Moran and Alan Dillon provided signs of a recovery.
With 10 minutes to go, Mayo had London's lead down to a single point, Moran and James Kilcullen finding their range.
The London defence was coming under increasing pressure and another pointed free from Moran brought the sides level. But back came the home side, with Geraghty and sub Killian Phair registering quick-fire points.
Mortimer responded for Mayo and then McLoughlin landed the levelling score, before, to their relief, they squeezed home in extra-time.
Scorers -- Mayo: A Moran 0-7 (2f), A Dillon 0-4, K McLoughlin 0-2, J Doherty, T Mortimer, J Kilcullen, C O'Connor, A Freeman, R Hennelly ('45) 0-1 each. London: P Geraghty 1-1, C O'Sullivan 1-0, E O'Neill (2f), B Comer, K Phair (1f) 0-2 each, M Gottsche, J Collins, S McVeigh 0-1 each.
Mayo -- R Hennelly 6; T Cunniffe 6, A Feeney 6, D Geraghty 5; R Feeney 5, D Vaughan 5, C Barrett 6; J Kilcullen 5, J Gibbons 5; A Campbell 6, A Moran 8, A Dillon 7; T Howley 6, A Freeman 5, J Doherty 6. Subs: A O'Shea 7 for Gibbons (43), K McLoughlin 7 for Campbell (43), C O'Connor 7 for Howley (60), P Gardiner 6 for Dillon (60), T Mortimer 7 for Barrett (67), A Dillon for Doherty (83).
London -- E Byrne 7; B Comer 8, M Moloney 9, D McGreevy 7; S Doolan 7, T Gaughan 7, J Scanlon 7; D Hagan 6, S McVeigh 7; C McCallion 5, P Geraghty 9, M Gottsche 7; K O'Leary 6, P McGoldrick 5, E O'Neill 6. Subs: S Kelly 6 for McCallion (31), K Phair 7 for McGoldrick (53), J Collins 6 for O'Neill (55), C O'Sullivan 7 for Hagan (59), N Tuohy 6 for Scanlon (60), C Conneely 6 for Comer (76), M McCoy 6 for Comer (80), L Gavaghan 6 for Kelly (83).
Ref -- M Collins (Cork).