Mayo fail to put down Mourne county men

GAA: NFL Division 1

Down 0-13

Mayo 0-11

A third loss on the bounce for Mayo, but much like last Saturday nights game in Croke Park this was one that Mayo could have taken home the points from. With six minutes left on the clock it looked like they had done the hard work by pulling themselves level on 0-11 each through Kenneth O'Malley's 45', but it was the Mourne county men who were able to find a higher gear in the closing stages of the game. Mayo did contribute to their defeat over the closing few minutes in somewhat controversial fashion. (Referee David Coldrick, won't be getting many glowing reports from the Mayo fans who made the trip ) Down were awarded a free out on the stand side of the field 45 meters out from goal, Donal O'Hare was shaping up for a long range effort, but referee David Coldrick judged that Kevin Keane was fouling his man inside close to goal and he moved the free into a much more scorable position. From which O'Hare did what was required of him. The same man kicked the final score of the game in the 70th minute with fine effort from play. Mayo tried to create a goal scoring chance in the three minutes of injury time, but they were unable to find the lock to pick open the last line of the Down defence.

The Ulster men started the first few minutes of the game the brightest and lead by 0-2 to 0-1 after the opening ten minutes thanks to an O'Hare free and a point from Paul Comiskey. Mayo's first score came from Jason Doherty six minutes in and he leveled the game up with his second point shortly after Commiskey's effort.

By the quarter of an hour mark Mayo had pushed themselves into a two point lead and looked to be getting to grips with the game thanks to points from Michael Conroy on and Cathal Carolan, whose point from distance was to be Mayo's final score of half though. Mayo went the entire final 20 minutes of the half and first five of the second without scoring, while their hosts reeled off seven unanswered points, four before the break and three in a row after the turn around. That run of Down points was started by a Dona O'Hare free from close range after Ger Cafferkey was judged to have pushed Benny Coulter in the back. The same man leveled the game up in the 22nd minute from another free after this time Lee Keegan gave away the free for a foul on Mark Poland, after Down had made a quick break down the field after a loose Colm Boyle pass was intercepted by the Down defence. Mayo turning over the ball from a long pass into the forward line was a feature of the first half, with a number of probing balls aimed at Michael Conroy were cleared up by a sweeping down defender. Conor Laverty and Ryan Mallon both go in on the scoring action too, before the break.

Mayo had a lot of work to do after the break and the loss of Ger Cafferkey through injury only made their task even harder. The second half started as the first ended, with James McCartan's men on top, three points in the opening five minutes of the half had them leading by 0-9 to 0-4 and Mayo on the rack. But over the next 17 minutes, Mayo found their grove and reeled off five points on the bounce themselves, with Cathal Carolan and Jason Doherty kicking two each with Barry Moran adding the other. The big Castlebar midfielder could have had a goal himself early on the half but his close range effort was well saved by Brendan McVeigh.

Down hit back almost as soon as Mayo had pulled the game level though a brace of O'Hare frees to put his side back into a two point lead with ten minutes left on the clock. But Mayo didn't give in and Kevin McLoughlin landed a pointed free and O'Malley squared it all up again from his 45', before Down hit back for a final time with their late brace of points to seal the win.

Down: B McVeigh; D McCartan, B McArdle, R Boyle; R Mallon, A Carr, K Quinn;K King, K McCkernan; C Laverty, M Poland, P McComiskey; D O'Hare, C Harrison, B Coulter. Subs: D O'Hagen for R Mallon (44 ), J Johnson for K Quinn (54 ), C Gough for K King (61 ), O McCartan for C Harrison (61 )

Mayo: K O'Malley; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins, D Vaughan, L Keegan, C Boyle. B Moran, A O'Shea; K McLoughlin, R Feeney, C Carolan; E Varley, J Doherty, M Conroy

Subs: K Keane for G Cafferkey (inj, 34 ), T Cunniffe for R Feeney (43 ), A Freeman for D Vaughan (54 ), E Regan for E Varley (62 )

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