IN a drama-filled day, Mayo’s high-wire act in the final round of the national football league saw them secure what seemed an unlikely league semi-final place and another title bid at Dublin next Sunday in Croke Park after a dramatic win over Cork.
Instead of placing their destiny in the hands of other teams such as Tyrone and Dublin, where results did not go in their favour, Mayo decided the best plan of action was to beat Cork and make sure other results didn’t really matter as the league finished on a knife-edge, with all sorts of permutations being discussed prior to Sunday’s final round meeting with Cork by the Lee.
In the end, the win not only guaranteed Mayo’s division one status but bagged them a place in the last four, and hunting for a league title they last won under Pat Holmes in 2001.
Manager James Horan was unable to conceal his delight at the end of Sunday’s nailingbiting one-point win over Cork (0-11 to 0-10) as all sorts of possibilities were being bandied about prior to the result, and even at half-time former Dublin and Roscommon manager Tommy Carr had called it on RTÉ Radio One.
“It looks like Mayo and Down are gone,” he said. Carr later apologised for his hastiness in dispatching the beaten All-Ireland finalists to division two football.
In a twist of irony, it was Donegal, the All-Ireland champions, who were demoted having been held to a draw by Dublin, while Kerry also survived a scare in Tyrone where they clung on to a narrow victory.