Gone in sixty seconds for Mayo hurlers in Croker

GAA: Nickey Rackard Cup Final; Mayo 0-21 Donegal 3-18

Hard to take: Mayo players after full time in Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfle

Hard to take: Mayo players after full time in Croke Park. Photo: Sportsfle

It was a case of gone in sixty seconds for the Mayo hurlers in Croke Park on Sunday, having battled back to edge their noses back in front through a Shane Boland pointed free with five minutes of normal time left Mayo were left crushed when Donegal struck back with two goals inside of a minute to claim the Rackard crown.

The first of that double whammy came when Davin Flynn reacted quickest to a flick down from Ritchie Ryan after a long free dropped short in front of the Mayo goal and he hammered it home for his sides second goal of the day.

Just a matter of seconds later Ryan got his sides third goal beating Gary Nolan to a high ball in and flashing it past Gerald Kelly and from then on the game was up for Mayo.

They struggled with Donegal’s physicality especially in the second half and they were under pressure from as soon as Donegal got their first goal of the game midway though the first 35 minutes.

At the second half water break Mayo had it all to do as they trailed for the first time since the opening minute after Declan Coulter landed his sixth point of the day to put Donegal into a 1-14 to 0-16 lead - the Ulster men overturning at half time deficit of three points and at one that gap had been eight points in Mayo’s favour.

In the third quarter Donegal outscored Mayo 0-6 to 0-2 with Davin Flynn hitting four points and Declan Coulter two for Mickey McCann’s side who had Mayo all at sea after a very promising start.

The breaks were going Doengal’s way at that point as the ball stopped sticking for Mayo and Donegal were winning the physical battles all over the park after ditching the tactics they had started the game with initially.

Mayo did go in leading by three at the break after Donegal reeled in Mayo’s early surge that saw them lead by six points at the water break on a score go 0-9 to 0-3.

The opening exchanges saw Mayo get moving at a breakneck pace moving the ball long into their forwards who were taking advantage of the wide open spaces of Croke Park brining the Donegal defenders on a run.

But in the second quarter Donegal took advantage of some sloppiness in Mayo rearguard with Joe Boyle’s goal on 32 minutes bringing them right back into game.

Gerard Gilmore beat Cathal Freeman for pace cutting in from the right and he found Boyle who hammered the ball past Gerald Kelly in the Mayo goal from distance.

Shane Boland was the main man for Mayo in the first half on the scoreboard hitting eight points with seven of those coming from frees, while Brian Morley chipped in with two fine early scores.

Declan Coulter hit the first score of the game pointing for Donegal inside the first minute - but Mayo responded strongly hitting five points on the spin over the next ten minutes through Boland, a Morley brace and one each from Eoin Delaney and Jason Coyne.

Danny Cullen cut the gap back to four with a long range effort for the Ulster men before Boland hit four on the bounce for Mayo three from frees and one from play with Cullen responded for Donegal to send Mayo in leading 0-9 to 0-3 at the water break.

Mayo pushed that lead lead out to eight points through two more Boland frees and looked to be well on their way to building up a winning lead - but Donegal weren’t going to throw in the town with Boyle pointing 21 minutes in. That was followed by a trio of points form Coulter to cut the gap back to four.

Mayo looked to have settle their nerves through points from Boland and Adrian Phillips - but Donegal kept coming and they brought in Ritchie Ryan to bolster their attack and the hit the back of the Mayo net through Boyle and followed it up with a well taken Cullen point to eat into the Mayo lead.

Seán Kenny landed a 65 for Mayo with the last puck of the half to send Mayo in leading 0-14 to 1-8 but knowing they were very much in a game and one that in the end they couldn't keep control of when it counted.

Scorers

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: 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.

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 ).

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 ).

 

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