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Nickey Rackard Cup Final: Late goals earn Donegal victory

Ronan McDermott, Donegal, and David Kenny, Mayo, during the Nickey Rackard Cup Final at Croke Park.

Ronan McDermott, Donegal, and David Kenny, Mayo, during the Nickey Rackard Cup Final at Croke Park.

Nickey Rackard Cup final

DONEGAL 3-18 MAYO 0-21

By Paul Keane at Croke Park

It's a long way from Tipperary but that clearly hasn't bothered Davin Flynn who delivered for his adopted Donegal in stunning style to help secure the Nickey Rackard Cup title.

Roscrea man Flynn, who played minor and intermediate hurling for his native county, came up with two magic moments to help secure a third title for the Ulster county.

Trailing by a point to a game Mayo outfit in the 66th minute, Flynn capitalised on a long ball in from Stephen Gillespie and blasted to the net at the Hill 16 End.

Moments later, it was Flynn again that played in the teasing ball that powerful full-forward Ritchie Ryan plucked from the air and smashed to the net.

Armagh man Declan Coulter then sniped a point for Donegal, bringing his tally to 0-9 for the afternoon, and suddenly Donegal were six points clear.

That's how it stayed as Donegal completed a quite remarkable turnaround having trailed by eight points mid way through the first-half after a nightmare start.

Credit to Donegal for turning what was looking increasingly like a lost cause back into a serious contest.

With 22 minutes played they trailed by 0-11 to 0-3 and looked in real danger of being wiped out by a slick and coherent looking Mayo who operated two divisions than Donegal in the League.

Donegal were in real bother at the back, particularly when Mayo duo Brian Morley and Eoin Delaney ran hard at them.

Morley won a couple of frees off his marker, full-back Stephen Gillespie, while Delaney was also hauled down for a free that was pointed by Shane Boland.

Free-taker Shane Boland struck seven of those 11 points and Mayo looked to be cruising but Donegal finally found their range and came roaring back into it.

With former Armagh regular Coulter in their ranks, Donegal outscored Mayo by 1-5 to 0-3 in the closing 10 minutes or so of the first-half.

Free-taker Coulter scored two of those points, including an excellent long range effort, and Joe Boyle grabbed the all important Donegal goal.

Boyle was set free down the left following a great run by Gerard Gilmore and Mayo 'keeper Gerald Kelly couldn't stop Gilmore's strike despite getting a hurl to it.

Mayo led by 0-14 to 1-8 at the break but the momentum was with Donegal and they pushed in the third quarter of the game and were back on level terms in the 46th minute.

Flynn came to the fore for Donegal with two excellent points from play after the restart and they would forge two points clear at 1-15 to 0-16.

Mayo recovered to draw level on two occasions and the westerners actually led by one again with four minutes of normal time remaining.

That's when Donegal struck for that 2-1 without reply to secure a memorable title success.

Scorers for Donegal: Declan Coulter 0-9 (7fs), Davin Flynn 1-3, Joe Boyle 1-1, Ritchie Ryan 1-0, Danny Cullen 0-3, Ronan McDermott 0-1, Gerard Gilmore 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: Shane Boland 0-11 (10fs), Brian Morley 0-2, Cathal Freeman 0-2, Sean Kenny 0-1 (65), Eoin Delaney 0-1, Jason Coyne 0-1, Adrian Phillips 0-1, Sean Regan 0-1, Corey Scahill 0-1.

DONEGAL: Luke White; Mark Callaghan, Stephen Gillespie, Gavin Browne; Michael Donaghue, Sean McVeigh, Joe Boyle; Ciaran Mathewson, Danny Cullen; Ronan McDermott, Jack O'Loughlin, Kevin Kealy; Davin Flynn, Declan Coulter, Gerard Gilmore.

Subs: Ritchie Ryan for Kealy (29), Bernard Lafferty for Mathewson (62), Conor O'Grady for Cullen (74).

MAYO: Gerald Kelly; Gary Nolan, Stephen Coyne, John Cassidy; Brian Hunt, David Kenny, Cathal Freeman; Sean Regan, Sean Kenny; Adrian Philips, Shane Boland, Corey Scahill; Jason Coyne, Brian Morley, Eoin Delaney.

Subs: Liam Lavin for J Coyne (51), Cormac Phillips for Delaney (54), Daniel Huane for Hunt (64), Sean Mulroy for Morley (66).

REFEREE: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary).