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Brian Hurley lands killer punch for battling Reds as Mayo let winning position slip

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Tempers flare as players fro Cork and Mayo tussle during yesterday's game in Pairc Ui Rinn

Tempers flare as players fro Cork and Mayo tussle during yesterday's game in Pairc Ui Rinn

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Cork full-back Michael Shields dives to make a block on a shot from Mayo's Danny Kirby during yesterday's clash at Pairc Ui Rinn

Cork full-back Michael Shields dives to make a block on a shot from Mayo's Danny Kirby during yesterday's clash at Pairc Ui Rinn

SPORTSFILE

Mayo's Aiden O'Shea in action against John O'Rourke of Cork

Mayo's Aiden O'Shea in action against John O'Rourke of Cork

SPORTSFILE

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Tempers flare as players fro Cork and Mayo tussle during yesterday's game in Pairc Ui Rinn

Mayo supporters must be wondering if getting beaten by a late goal is any easier to digest than being well turned over as they were last time against Dublin.

The Connacht champions made the long journey to Cork yesterday and seemed poised to having a good win to comfort them on the return trip but, not for the first time, victory was let slip from their grasp.

They will, unlike the 2-18 to 0-10 defeat they suffered in Castlebar to Dublin last time out, at least have the consolation of being in contention throughout this one in Pairc Ui Rinn yesterday.

Concession

Ultimately, though, a poor start and the concession of an injury-time goal put paid to their hopes as Cork, also finding the strong swirling wind difficult to deal with, did enough to advance.

They struck in the dying seconds of a poor contest for Brian Hurley to punch home the winner just when it seemed Mayo were about to triumph.

"We were very lucky to get the two points," admitted Cork manager Brian Cuthbert afterwards. "The players are showing good belief and it is important that they keep going to the end.

"I thought we played very well in the first 20 minutes, controlled the game, but then took the foot off the gas, gave Mayo plenty of initiative and certainly after Mayo got that to go two points ahead you would have been thinking there would only be one winner," added the Cork manager.

Cork laid the foundation for a good performance with a strong start against the wind, with Hurley and Colm O'Neill kicking pointed frees.

But the real break came when Hurley intercepted a pass from Mayo captain Keith Higgins to send a ball across goal which Mark Collins finished to the net to make it 1-2 to 0-0 after nine minutes.

Tom Parsons settled Mayo when he got the first of his three excellent points to get them off the mark after ten minutes. They followed up with Jason Doherty, Danny Kirby and Parsons again adding points to cut the margin to a point after 20 minutes.

Mark Ronaldson landed a good point to put the Connacht champions in front for the first time after 28 minutes.

Donal Vaughan added one from distance approaching the interval, but Hurley reduced the margin to just a point at the break with an excellent score from the right to make it 0-7 to 1-3.

Aidan O'Shea worked hard to double Mayo's lead just after the restart but Fintan Goold responded for the Rebels as the tempo of the game lifted.

Centre-back Conor Dorman levelled the match after 48 minutes when his massive kick from out the field bounced in front of goal and over the bar to make it 1-5 to 0-8.

Parsons hit back with a superb effort for Mayo, who lost sub Michael Conroy to a black card within a minute of coming on, and then Doherty soloed through to put them two up with 12 minutes left.

Cork responded with another point from Goold but it looked like Mayo would get their fourth win of the campaign when McLoughlin scored and then sub Stephen Coen put them two up with time running out.

But there was still time for Cork to regroup and centre-back Dorman surged forward to fist the ball across the goal and Hurley came in strongly to connect with it and score the winner, leaving Mayo joint manager Pat Holmes to rue a missed opportunity.

"It is disappointing we lost the game but we didn't get a great start to the match," said Holmes.

"We conceded 1-2 or whatever, we were slow out of the blocks and we had a good few handling errors in the first 15 minutes. Maybe you look back at that and say that was costly as well."

Holmes said that this outing was not about trying to prove something after the Dublin mauling.

"It wasn't about redemption. We know we didn't play well the last day. We didn't compete against Dublin the way we would like to compete and the way Mayo like to compete."

The loss leaves Mayo with a lot to play for next weekend in their final game when they host Donegal, with a semi-final spot or possible relegation hanging on it but Holmes said they wouldn't be treating the game any differently.

"Our thoughts going into that match is the same as any other match. Every match we play we go to win. We will get back to recovery this evening and back to training during the week with a view to putting in a big performance on Sunday," added Holmes.

Man of the Match: Brian Hurley

Scorers - Cork: B Hurley 1-2 (1f); M Collins 1-0; F Goold 0-2; C O'Neill (f), D O'Connor (f), C Dorman 0-1 each. Mayo: T Parsons 0-3; J Doherty 0-2 (1 '45), K McLoughlin 0-2 (1f); M Ronaldson, D Kirby, D Vaughan, A O'Shea & S Coen 0-1 each.

Cork - K O'Halloran 7; N Galvin 7, M Shields 6, J Loughrey 6; T Clancy 6, C Dorman 7, B O'Driscoll 6; F Goold 7, J O'Sullivan 7; K O'Driscoll 6, P Kerrigan 7, C O'Driscoll 6; C O'Neill 6, M Collins 7, B Hurley 8. Subs: E Cadogan 7 for O'Sullivan (21), P Kelly 6 for C O'Driscoll (44), D O'Connor 6 for Kerrigan (47), J O'Rourke 6 for Collins (53), D Goulding 6 for O'Neill (58), J Hayes 6 for K O'Driscoll (64).

Mayo - D Clarke 6; G Cafferkey 6, K Keane 7, K Higgins 6; L Keegan 7, C Boyle 6, D Vaughan 6; B Moran 6, T Parsons 8; K McLoughlin 7, A O'Shea 7, J Doherty 6; M Ronaldson 5, D Kirby 6, A Dillon 5. Subs: M Conroy 4 for Dillon (47), C O'Shea 6 for Conroy (49 BC), M Sweeney 7 for Ronaldson (55), S Coen 7 for Keane (56), A Freeman 6 for B Moran (64), A Moran 6 for Kirby (71).

Ref - E Kinsella (Laois)

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