MAYO’S bench came to the rescue in a game of high drama at Elverys MacHale Park this evening as substitutes Jason Doherty and Conor Loftus fired home a goal each to lift the siege of Derry, who came within minutes of ending Mayo’s championship bid for 2017.
Having kicked 17 wides in normal time, Mayo’s blushes were saved at the end of a qualifier game that took a number of dramatic twists, winning by 2-21 to 1-13 after extra time.
Conor Loftus came on with 10 minutes to go to kick 1-1 and bring his side from being a point behind to go ahead by three - 1-12 to 0-12.
But as normal time was about to end, Derry struck for a goal of their own to send the game to extra-time as it finished 1-12 apiece.
However, it was in the first period of normal time that Mayo burned off the visitors as they hit 1-5, the goal coming from Jason Doherty.
Derry had a chance of getting back into the game as the first period of normal time came to an end but David Clarke stretched full-length to deny James Kielt from the penalty spot.
Derry led at half-time by 0-8 to 0-7 and could well have snatched this game in normal time had they taken one or two good chances, yet the game could have been settled late on had Cillian O’Connor - who finished on 0-12 (0-10 from placed balls) - not seen his effort come back off the post for what surely would have been the winning point.
Despite losing Paddy Durcan to a straight red card at the end of the fist period of extra-time, Mayo took control of this game in the added-on period.
The home side were aided by a powerful performance from Aidan O’Shea, who was in from the start instead of his brother Seamus.
The Mayo team (and scorers) was: D. Clarke, B. Harrison, G. Cafferkey, C. Barrett, C. Boyle, L. Keegan (0-1), P. Durcan (0-1), T. Parsons, D. Vaughan, F. Boland, A. O’Shea (0-1), S. Coen, K. McLoughlin (0-1), C. O’Connor (0-12, 9f, 1 45'), A. Moran (0-2). The subs used were: D. O’Connor (0-1) for Boland (HT), S. O’Shea for Vaughan, J. Doherty (1-1) for Coen, C. Loftus (1-1) for Moran (58), D. Drake for Harrison (65), C. Crowe for Barrett (83), S. Nally for Keegan (85), D. Kirby for McLoughlin (87).
The Derry team (and scorers) was: B. McKinless, N. Keenan, B. Rogers, K. McKaigue, C. McFaul, S. McKaigue, C. MacWilliams, C. McAtamney, D. Heavron (0-1), R. Bell (0-3), N. Loughlin (0-6, 4f), E. Lynn, D. Tallon M. McEvoy (0-1), B. Heron (0-1). The Derry subs used were: E. McGuckian for C. McAtamney (BC, 34), M. Lynch (1-0) for D. Tallon (45), J. Kielt (0-1) for Bell (60), S. McGuigan for E. Lynn (66), C. Nevin for M. McEvoy (74), G. O’Neill for Loughlin (84).