Wednesday 21 February 2018

Injury-time equaliser sends Donegal into semi-finals at Mayo's expense

Mayo ......0-12 Donegal... 1-9

Eamonn McGee in action against Matyo's Kevin McLoughlin, Mayo at Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Eamonn McGee in action against Matyo's Kevin McLoughlin, Mayo at Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A point from substitute Stephen Griffin three minutes into injury-time propelled Donegal into the Division One League semi-finals at Mayo's expense in MacHale Park.

Mayo were primed to make the penultimate stages for much of the second half once they hit the front through Diarmuid O'Connor in the third quarter.

But they couldn't shake off a resilient Donegal and paid the price for so many wasted opportunities.

Patrick's Durcan's opportunity in the 71st minute was the most gilt-edged but his weak kick off his left foot into Michael Boyle's hands after an impressive counter-attack with the home side leading by a point gave Donegal a reprieve.

A score would surely have pushed it beyond their reach at that stage and denied them a first Division One point on the road since 2009.

But with nine second half wides Mayo, who didn't have Cillian O'Connor and Alan Dillon, can look to quite a spread of reasons as to why they just fell short.

Donegal, who were without the injured Neil Gallagher and the suspended Michael Murphy, had played with a slight wind advantage in the opening half used it to build up a four-point lead by the 23rd minute.

Their 20th minute goal was worked magnificently through the hands of five different players off Michael Boyle's kick-out with Frank McGlynn's double intervention they key as he linked with Martin O'Reilly before offloading to Patrick McBrearty who unleashed too much power for Mayo goalkeeper Kenneth O'Malley to deal with.

When Odhran MacNaillais kicked a third point in typically effortless fashion it pushed the visitors 1-5 to 0-4 clear.

But Mayo lifted the tempo of their own game considerably and began winning turnovers and individual battles all over the field.

Seamus O'Shea drove them forward relentlessly from midfield and with Colm Boyle and Donie Vaughan getting on top behind them they had the platform to chase down the deficit and trail by just a point at the break, 1-5 to 0-7.

Barry Moran had a magnificent second half and, with O'Shea, dominated midfield but Mayo could never make that dominance count as McBrearty kept Donegal in touch before Griffin struck late.

Scorers - Mayo: B Moran, K McLoughlin (1f) 0-3 each, J Doherty 0-2 (2fs), D Vaughan, M Conroy, A O'Shea, D O'Connor all 0-1 each.

Donegal: P McBrearty 1-3 (0-1f), O MacNiallais 0-3, M McElhinney ,C McFadden, S Griffin all 0-1 each.

Mayo: K O'Malley; B Harrison, K Higgins, K Keane; L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle; B Moran, S O'Shea; D O'Connor, K McLoughlin, J Doherty; A O'Shea, D Kirby, M Ronaldson. Subs: M Conroy for Ronaldson (ht), S Coen for Harrison (45), A Moran for Kirby (54), P Durcan for Boyle (65), N Douglas for McLoughlin (69), M Hall for O'Connor (73)

Donegal: M Boyle; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; E Doherty, K Lacey, R McHugh; H McFadden, C Toye; F McGlynn, M McElhinney, O MacNaillais; C McFadden, P McBrearty, M O'Reilly. Subs: C McGinley for Toye (42), A Thompson for Doherty (42), M McHugh for H McFadden BC (48), S Griffin for McGinley (58).

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

Division 1 Results

Derry 2-15 Cork 1-11, Mayo 0-12 Donegal 1-09, Monaghan 1-11 Dublin 1-22, Tyrone 0-17 Kerry 1-14


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