NUIG ......... 1-21
Mayo ......... 2-16
WITH the options available to Mayo manager Stephen Rochford very limited due to 27 of his panel holidaying in South Africa, it was always going to be a big ask from what was essentially a rookie side to produce a result.
But, to their credit, a young, but plucky Mayo team almost pulled it out of the fire, and with 14 men for the last quarter at that.
They found themselves six points adrift in this FBD Connaught League first round clash at Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar, but managed to pare it back to two points as injury-time ticked away.
James Durcan, the twin brother of Patrick, almost stole it at the death but his shot was saved by the NUIG goalkeeper and with it came the final whistle of what was an entertaining, and indeed, an interesting game which featured the much talked about mark.
Mayo went to-to-toe with a college side who had a handful of very experienced players, none more so than Damien Comer, who played a huge role in getting them over the winning line in the second half.
But the other student who caught the eye was Mayo Gael's man, Adam Gallagher, who is not long back from a serious hip operation which curtailed his football for the last year and he finished on 0-9, including three from play.
The highlights of the first half came from Mayo who nailed two goals, Neil Douglas firing home from the penalty-spot after the Castlebar Mitchels player was fouled as he was about to pul the trigger.
Minutes alter his club colleague, Danny Kirby, a man who hit four goals for Mayo in a Connacht League game two years ago, drilled low to the bottom corner as Mayo shot 2-7 to 0-10 clear, only to be reeled in by the interval: 2-7 to 0-13.
Mayo were two points clear within four minutes of the restart thanks to back-to-back points from Brian Reape, but then the students unleashed1-5 without reply, Comer beating Rory Byrne with a stinging shot to the bottom corner.
The double yellow card on Ray O'Malley, followed by three frees from Gallagher and further points from Comer and Michael Daly, saw Maurice Sheridan's team kick on.
Despite going six adrift Mayo fought doggedly to the end as Rochford emptied his bench and they might well have stolen it at the death, although it would have been an outrageous piece of pilfering had they won.
NUIG: T. O'Malley, S. Brennan, J. Kennedy, A. O'Connor, K. Molloy (0-1), M. McClean, E. Boland, M. Barrett, E. Tierney (0-3), S. Conroy, M. Daly (0-4), A. Gallagher (0-9, 3F), R. Greene, D. Comer (1-3), O. Gallagher (0-1).
Subs: K Quinn for McClean (40), D McCormack for Barrett (50), A McCormack for Boland (54),
Mayo: R. Byrne, N. McMenamon, R. O'Malley, D. Newcombe, B. McDermott, E. O'Reilly, M. Plunkett, S. Nally (0-2), D. Kirby (1-0), F. McDonagh (0-1), C. Costello, F. Boland (0-4), L. Irwin (0-3, 3F), N. Douglas (1-1, pen, 1f), B. Reape (0-3).
Subs: J Forkan for Costello (51) F. Duffy (0-1) for Reape (53), J. McCormack for McDonagh (59), J. Durcan for Irwin (60), D. Cannon for Nally (65).
Referee: B. Judge (Sligo).