Mayo ride a late Clare storm to secure promotion

Visitors see 12-point lead chipped away at Cusack Park before Durcan seals the day

Clare’s Ciaran Russell is challenged by Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Clare’s Ciaran Russell is challenged by Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Mayo 2-22 Clare 2-18

Mayo returned to Division 1 football on Sunday thanks to a four-point victory over a gallant Clare, who having trailed by 12 early in the second half, reduced the deficit to just three late in the game. A captain’s effort by Paul Durcan deep in injury time finally saw the Westerners achieve victory.

James Horan’s men settled early and raced into a 1-6 to 0-5 lead after just a quarter of an hour of play when Cillian O’Connor, who was playing his 100th game for his county, scored a penalty past Stephen Ryan.

It gave Mayo encouragement and a second goal followed in the 31st minute when a forage up-field by fullback Oisin Mullin resulted in Mayo’s second goal.

The visitors were good for their 11 point advantage at the break leading by 2-13 to 0-8. A Matthew Ruane point early in the second half advanced the lead to 12 and it look like there was no way back for Clare.

But they mounted a significant challenge that began with a Darren O’Neill goal. The giant midfielder moved to the edge of the square at the beginning of the half and when a David Tubridy free dropped short, O’Neill out-jumped Mayo goalie Rob Hennelly and he fisted to the net.

Clare grabbed a second in the 47th minute and this one also involved O’Neill. He fielded a cross from the left wing and fed across the Mayo square to an awaiting Gavin Cooney, who calmly slotted home from close range.

Clare then had a pair of points from substitutes Podge Collins and Emmet McMahon and in fact McMahon kicked three superb points overall as his side endeavoured to cause an upset.

They reduced the difference to three - 2-21 to 2-18 - by the 69th minute only for Mayo captain Durcan to secure the insurance score deep into injury time.

Mayo: R Hennelly; E Hession, O Mullin (1-0), L Keegan (0-1); R Brickenden (0-1), P Durcan (0-2), S Coen (0-1); M Ruane (0-2), D O’Connor; K McLaughlin (0-1), A O’Shea, B Walsh (0-1); T Conroy (0-3), C O’Connor (1-4, one penalty), R O’Donoghue (0-2, one free). Subs: J Flynn for D O’Connor (11 mins), P Towey (0-3, two frees) for C O’Connor (35), D McHale (0-1) for O’Donoghue (48), E McLaughlin for Hession (53), C Loftus for Conroy (63), C O’Shea for Brickenden (63).

Clare: S Ryan; C Russell, C Brennan, E Collins; C O’Dea, S Collins, D Walsh; D O’Neill (1-0), C O’Connor; P Lillis (0-1), E Cleary (0-8, six frees), D Bohannon; G Cooney (1-1), J McGann, D Tubridy (0-4, one free). Subs: C Ó’hÁinféin for Walsh (22 mins), P Collins (0-1) for McGann (half-time), C Jordan for E Collins (half-time), A Griffin for Cooney (52), E McMahon (0-3) for O’Connor (52), K Sexton for Lillis (64), C Rouine for Ó’hAinféin (64).

Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh)

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