History was in the air at Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday as a 3,000-plus crowd witnessed the first inter-county penalty shoot out at the newly renamed Avantcard Páirc Seán MacDiarmada.
In the drama surrounding the penalty shootout it was almost forgotten that Leitrim had drawn with their illustrious opponents in an absorbing game.
Returning Mayo manager James Horan conceded: "I was impressed with Leitrim, they should have won."
But Horan was pleased with the performance of some new faces, including Brian Reape, Fergal Boland and Fionn McDonagh.
Leitrim boss Terry Hyland lamented: "We had several goal chances and you have to take them at this level."
Leitrim made a flying start with points from Pearse Dolan, Shane Quinn and Dean McGovern, but Mayo responded with brilliant goals from Reape and Boland, as well as a free from Jason Doherty - all inside the opening eight minutes.
Shane Moran should have scored a goal for Leitrim in the eighth minute but his effort came off the post. Mayo took control, outscoring Leitrim by seven points to two over the next 15 minutes.
However the home side remained competitive, reducing the arrears with points from Jack Heslin, Moran and Evan Sweeney to leave the half-time score 2-9 to 0-8.
McDonagh and Heslin exchanged points in a quiet opening to the second period before the home side exploded into life in the 46th minute, stunning Mayo with superb goals by Sweeney and sub Ryan O'Rourke within the space of a minute to leave just a point between the sides.
Domhnaill Flynn's free in the 54th minute levelled matters but Boland and Doherty restored Mayo's lead.
In an exciting finale Leitrim reduced the arrears with a Sweeney free before Boland's point a minute from time restored the cushion.
However, as the game went into added time Leitrim managed to respond with a Sweeney point in the 71st minute followed by the levelling score from substitute Damien Moran to send the game to a first ever penalty shoot-out.
Leitrim's luck was to run out, however, as Doherty, Reape, Boland and Evan Regan all scored to put Mayo into a semi-final meeting with Galway.
SCORERS - Leitrim: E Sweeney 1-3 (0-2fs), J Heslin 0-3, R O'Rourke 1-0, P Dolan 0-2, D Flynn (f), S Quinn, D McGovern, C McGloin, S Moran 0-1 each. Mayo: F Boland 1-3, B Reape 1-1, J Doherty 0-3fs, E Regan 0-2 (1f), R Hennelly ('45'), F McDonagh, C Moran, E O'Donoghue 0-1 each.
LEITRIM - D McKiernan ,P Maguire, F McTague, A Flynn, C Reynolds, R Mulvey, S Quinn, D McGovern, S Moran, S McWeeney, C McGloin, J Helsin, E MSweeney, P Dolan, D Flynn. Subs: M Plunkett for Flynn (39), R O'Rourke for McGloin (40). G Plunkett for Heslin (49), D Moran for Dolan (63), D Rooney for Mulvey (67).
MAYO: R Hennelly, E O'Donoghue, G Cafferkey, B Harrison, Lee Keegan, James McCormack, D Vaughan, S O'Shea, S Coen, F McDonagh, J Doherty, F Boland, C Moran, B Reape, E Regan. Subs: C Crowe for Cafferkey (h-t), J Kelly for Coen (56), B Doyle for O'Donoghue (59), O McLoughlin for Moran (64), C Tracey for F McDonagh (67).
Ref - J Molloy (Galway).