When Mayo look back on the winning of this game down by the Lee, they can thank their goalkeeper David Clarke who pulled of a fantastic save to deny Fintan Goold what looked a certain goal 12 minutes into the second half. That save along with brace of pointed sidelines from Cillian O'Connor and a top class display from Colm Boyle in defence were the winning of a gritty, messy game on a wet and windy afternoon in Rebel county. Mayo kept Cork to only scoring two points in the second half and scoreless for the final 13 minutes of the contest.
Kevin McLoughlin opened the scoring with a point after two minutes. Seamus O'Shea drove the ball into the Michael Conroy's corner. The Davitts man won his ball and laid it back to McLoughlin who fired over from 30 meters out. Cork leveled the game a minute later after Jason Gibbons and Seamus O'Shea went for the same ball and collided. The breaking ball fell to a Cork man and it was worked down to Aidan Walsh who fired over the bar from the river side of the ground. Cork went into the lead two minutes later when Fintan Goold found space in a similar position following the break down of a Mayo attack, when Seamus O'Shea was blown up for over-carrying. Daniel Goulding had a chance to put his side into a three point lead after Graham Canty was fouled, but he sent his free wide of the post on the far side on the ten minute mark.
Mayo had a half-chance of a goal two minutes later when the ball broke to Cillian O'Connor, but he didn't connect cleanly with his shot under pressure and it skewed wide of the left hand post. Fintan Goold stretched the lead out to three points in the 17th minute when he stepped back half a step to create the space he required to drive the ball over the bar from 45 meters out, after Mayo had forced Cork to work the ball laterally over and back the 45m line with some dogged tackling. Cork stretched their lead even further with two more pointed free's in three minutes, one from Goulding and the other from Mark Collins. Mayo were lucky to escape not conceding a goal during that three minute spell, when an misplaced Aidan O'Shea pass was intercepted by Aidan Walsh and he set up a half chance for Barry O'Driscoll but Colm Boyle came to Mayo's rescue. With ten minutes left in the half pushed themselves half a dozen points into the clear after Goulding kicked over another free to leave the score 0-7 to 0-1 and Mayo hanging on to their division one status by their fingertips with the results coming in from elsewhere not in their favour. With seven minutes left in the half, Mayo kicked their first score in 26 minutes when Kevin McLoughlin slotted over a 30 meter free from the right hand side, but Cork went right back down the field and kicked their 8th point through Paudie Kissane, up from his wing back position.
In the final five minutes Mayo kicked up the gears and reeled off three points on the bounce, Michael Conroy shook his hips to create some space for a neat finish after he picked up a long ball in from Seamus O'Shea to cut the gap to five. Aidan O'Shea won a long ball dropped in by Jason Gibbons following a short free kick routine and scooped it over the bar from close range. The final score of the half should have have been a goal for Mayo. Colm Boyle picked out Alan Freeman close into goal, the Agahamore man was under some pressure from his man, but still had the advantage going for goal but his effort flew over the bar to leave the Rebels leading 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
Donal Vaughan put only two between the sides with a score from distance not long after the resumption as Mayo went looking to use the wind to their advantage in the second half. Cillian O'Connor tried to cut the gap back to a single point in the 37th minute, but his free from around 50m out came back of the post. With 40 minutes gone on the clock, Ger Cafferkey had to make a timely intervention to palm away a Paul Kerrigan pass that looked like it was going to put the Nemo Rangers man clean through on goal. The hosts reinstated their three point lead 42 minutes in when Goold kicked a point from close range. At this stage Mayo made their first change of the game with Enda Varley coming on for Michael Conroy who looked to have picked up a knock at the end of the first half. Cillian O'Connor brought the gap back to two points with a close range free after Colm Boyle had been fouled after delivering the ball in from distance.
With 47 minutes on the clock, David Clarke came to Mayo's rescue with a wonderful save after Kerrigan slipped in Goold on the overlap. The Macroom man tried to put it low past Clarke but the Ballina man pulled off a super save. With 21 minutes to go, Kevin McLoughlin put just on between the sides with a pointed free from far side of the field. It was the Knockmore man who leveled the contest up with 18 minutes gone int he second half. Cillian O'Connor took a quick sideline ball to McLoughlin who cut in a few yards before drifting the ball over the bar from 35m out. With 12 minutes to go, Daniel Goulding hit a sweet free from the ground out near the sideline on the stand side to put Cork back into the lead. But the lead was short lived as Cillian O'Connor kicked over a sideline from 40 meters out to bring a huge roar from the traveling faithful. The Ballintubber man then repeated the trick from the opposite side to put Mayo into the lead for the first time since early in the first half with 63 minutes on the clock. The final few minutes were nerve wracking for the Mayo players and supporters alike with Cork peppering their goal with efforts, Aidan Walsh pulled a free wide of the posts with a minute left in injury time, then Fintan Goold was called back by referee Maurice Deegan when he looked to be clean through for an earlier foul. But Mayo dug in and put their bodies on the line to ground out the win and the two points that most importantly kept them in division one.
Cork: K O'Halloran; J McLoughlin, J O'Sullivan, M Shields; P Kissane (0-1 ), N O'Leary, T Clancy; A Walsh (0-1 ), G Canty; M Collins (0-1, 1f ), F Goold (0-3 ), A O'Sullivan; D Goulding (0-4, 3f ), B O'Driscoll, P Kerrigan. Subs: P O'Neill, L Shortan, D Crowley,
Mayo: D Clarke;L Keegan, K Keane, G Cafferkey; S McHale, D Vaughan (0-1 ), C Boyle; J Gibbons, S O'Shea, K McLoughlin (0-4,2f ), A O'Shea (0-1 ), C Carolan; C O'Connor, (0-3, 1f 2s ) A Freeman (0-1 ), M Conroy (0-1 ). Subs: E Varley, R Feeney, J Doherty, E Regan, C Barrett, D Coen (blood sub )
By M Deegan (Laois )