Drama was the order of the day as Mayo came from behind to reel off five unanswered points to in the closing minutes to pick up a league win over Armagh in Hyde Park.
Armagh hit the front early doors when Ciaran Mackin looped the ball over the head of Rory Byrne in the Mayo goal seconds after throw-in. Byrne was a late call up to the side after Rob Hennelly picked up an injury in the warm up.
Mayo responded through a pointed mark from Ryan O’Donoghue not long after, but Armagh reeled off three points on the spin over the next eight minutes with Stefan Campbell, Jason Duffy and Rory Grugan all raising the white flag.
The gap was cut back to three before the quarter of an hour mark through a brace of points from O’Donoghue and by the quarter of an hour mark there was just one in it after points from Matthew Ruane and Diarmuid O’Connor.
Job done: Oisin Mullin and Lee Keegan fist bump after full time. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo then lost Frank Irwin to a blood injury, with the Ballina man having shown well on his debut before being forced to leave the action. Rian O’Neill pushed Armagh two clear again, with a fine score from the stand side of the field on 31 minutes before O’Donoghue kept up his part with a long range pointed free to leave just one between the teams. O’Neill had the last say on the half with a long range free of his own to send Armagh in leading 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.
The second half saw Mayo level it up through an Aiden Orme mark just after the restart and O’Connor point on 39 minutes. But Armagh edged themselves back in front through points from Rory Grugan and Conor Turbitt by the 45th minute.
O’Donoghue kept Mayo in touch with another pointed free, before Rian O’Neill drove over another long range point from well past the 45. With nine minutes left on the clock Kevin McLoughin put just one between the sides with a close range point after being picked out by Jack Carney.
Bad start: Mayo watch as Armagh hit the back of the net in the opening seconds. Photo: Sportsfile
The Mayo roar looked to have been quenched when Aidan Nugent kicked two scores inside a minute to push Armagh three back in front, but there was plenty of fight still left in Mayo.
O’Donoghue pointed two free sin a minute, then Paddy Durcan levelled it up. Both sides then engaged in a couple of minutes of turn over after turn over as they tried to edge themselves in front.
Mayo went in front for the first time in the whole contest when Jordan Flynn pointed after some keep ball around the Armagh D was rewarded. Deep into injury time Rian O’Neill had a chance to level it up from a tough long range free. He took to it on and it dropped short, Mayo ran the ball coast to coast and it ended up with Paddy Durcan finishing from close range to put Mayo two clear and send them home with the points.
Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue (0-7, 5f, 1m ), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-2 ), Paddy Durcan (0-2 ), Jordan Flynn (0-1 ), Mattie Ruane (0-1 ), Aiden Orme (0-1, 1f ) , Kevin McLoughlin (0-1 )
Armagh: Rian O’Neill (0-3, 2f ), Ciaran Mackin (1-0 ), Rory Grugan (0-2, 1f ), Adiin Nugent (0-2 ), Stefan Campbell (0-1 ), Conor Turbit (0-1 ), Jason Duffy (0-1 )
Mayo: Rory Byrne; Lee Keegan, Rory Brickenden, Michael Plunkett; Oisín Mullin, Stephen Coen, Sam Callinan; Jordan Flynn, Matthew Ruane; Fionn McDonagh, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor Loftus; Aiden Orme, Frank Irwin, Ryan O’Donoghue. Subs: Kevin McLoughlin, Paddy Durcan, Aidan O’Shea, Padraig O’Hora, Jack Carney, Fergal Boland.
Armagh: Ethan Rafferty; Paddy Burns, Aidan Forker, Aaron McKay; Conaire Mackin, Niall Rowland, Jarly Óg Burns; Ciaran Mackin, Ben Crealy; Stefan Campbell, Rory Grugan, Tiernan Kelly; Jason Duffy, Rian O’Neill, Aidan Nugent. Subs: Conor Turbitt , James Morgan, Stephen Sheridan, Oisin O’Neill, Conor O’Neill
Ref: David Coldrick