Allianz FL D1: Mayo hold out against battling Down
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1
Mayo 1-19 Down 1-16
By CIARÁN McGREAL at McHale Park
Mayo had to withstand a late rally from Down before securing victory in an exciting finish at McHale Park in Castlebar.
Mayo looked to be coasting to victory with the wind behind them in the second half but Down, although already relegated, never gave up.
A Cillian O'Connor penalty after 20 minutes proved crucial while Evan Regan also impressed, helping himself to nine points.
Down got to within a point of Mayo at the death as Donal O'Hare beat David Clarke with an excellent goal in the third minute of stoppage time. Down besieged the Mayo defence but Andy Moran and Regan made it safe for the hosts with late scores.
Alan Freeman got Mayo off the mark after just 18 seconds with a well-taken score. Corner-back Chris Barrett kicked their second score less than a minute later after a Tom Parsons pass.
Ryan Mallon responded for Down before two Evan Regan scores and a point from Aidan O'Shea saw the home side lead 0-5 to 0-1 after just six minutes.Down Michael Cunningham produced a good save to deny Freeman a goal in the sixth minute and the goalkeeper helped himself to a point from a long-range, wind-assisted free in the ninth minute to make it 0-5 to 0-3 after Kevin McKernan's earlier score.
Mayo put some daylight between the teams in the 20th minute through a Cillian O'Connor penalty. Regan was fouled in front of goal and referee Joe McQuillan awarded the spot kick which O'Connor dispatched to the top corner of Cunningham's net to make it 1-7 to 0-4.
Down, already relegated, kept themselves in contention with some good scores. Darragh O'Hanlon and Mark Poland split the posts for the visitors with Dónal O'Hare kicking four frees in the first half.
Aidan O'Shea missed a glorious chance for Mayo two minutes before the break. His brother Conor played him in and the Breaffy forward put the ball wide with the goal at his mercy. Points from Turley and O'Hare before the break saw Down trail by just two points.
Mayo had the wind at their backs in the second half and started strongly. Two O'Connor frees and a Regan point from play saw them lead 1-12 to 0-10 after 42 minutes.
The visitors had a good five minute spell, picking off three points to get within four points of the hosts with 12 minutes to go. Barry O'Hagan was denied brilliantly by David Clarke in injury time before O'Hare's goal set up a nervous finish but Moran and Regan made it safe.
Scorers for Mayo: E Regan 0-9 (0-7f); C O'Connor 1-4 (1-0pen, 0-4f); A Freeman 0-2; C Barrett, A O'Shea, J Doherty & A Moran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: D O'Hare 1-5 (0-5f); M Cunningham (0-2f) & S Dornan 0-2 each; D McKibbon, D O'Hanlon, P Turley, M Poland, R Mallon, K McKernan & P Devlin 0-1 each.
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, K Keane, C Barrett; L Keegan, C Boyle, S Nally; T Parsons, S O'Shea; C O'Shea, A O'Shea, J Doherty; A Freeman, E Regan, C O'Connor.
Subs: P Durcan for Barrett (28), A Dillon for Freeman (58), B Moran for S O'Shea (58), C Carolan for C O'Shea (63), A Moran for O'Connor (65).
Down: M Cunningham; D O'Hagan, G Collins, G McGovern; D McKibbon, A Carr, D O'Hanlon; P Turley, M McKay; M Poland, R Mallon, K McKernan; C McGovern, S Dornan, D O'Hare.
Subs: P Devlin for Mallon (41), C Maginn for Brown (44), D Turley for O'Hanlon (57), B O'Hagan for Poland (63), J Murphy for Carr (70).
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).