Mayo's Cillian O'Connor converting the match-turning penalty kick.PHOTO: SPORTSFILE.

High drama as Fermanagh pay the penalty

Mayo ............ 2-14
Fermanagh .....1-12

THERE was high drama today at Elvery’s MacHale Park, Castlebar, before Mayo had their passport to the third round of the qualifers stamped in controversial circumstances before a crowd of 12,000 on a fine afternoon for football.

Trailing by six points at half-time (1-10 to 1-4) it looked as if Mayo would follow the same route as 2010 when they crashed to Longford when they came through the back door as they looked under pressure in that opening half against a strong visiting side.

However, fate intervened seven minutes from time as they trailed by a point when referee Joe McQuillan pointed to the penalty-spot after Aidan O’Shea came down in the square as he went to gather a centre from Kevin McLoughlin.

Full-back Che Cullen pleaded his innocence but the Cavan official judged it to be a trip and Cillian O’Connor buried the resultant penalty into the roof of the net with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

It put Mayo two clear - 2-11 to 1-12 - but the impetus was now with Stephen Rochford’s side as they kicked on with points from Lee Keegan, Aidan O’Shea and veteran Alan Dillon, who made a big impact when introduced for the second half.

Fermanagh did launch one late rescue attempt but David Clarke saved the day to deny Paul McCusker.

Fermanagh looked the smarter side playing with a strong wind in the first half and picked off 1-8 from play as Mayo feel into early arrears their only score coming from Diarmuid Connor in the fourth minute.

Keith Higgins and Evan Regan were involved in creating the Mayo goal which was finished by Alan Freeman and a Cillian O’Connor point had Mayo ahead by two on 13 minutes.

But the lead was shortlived as Sean Quigley got the better of Kevin Keane after a stray pass from Higgins put Fermanagh on the attack and the big full-forward rounded Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke before firing into an empty net to make it 1-5 to 1-2 on 15 minutes.

The impetus now swung towards Fermanagh who kicked on to lead by 1-10 to 1-4 at the break.

But they met a different Mayo in the second half as the home side deservedly moved on to a clash with either Longford, Cork or Kildare next weekend.

Mayo: D. Clarke, B. Harrison, K. Keane, K. Higgins, L. Keegan (0-2), C. Boyle (0-1), P. Durcan, S. O’Shea, S. Coen, K. McLoughlin, A. O’Shea (0-1), D. O’Connor (0-2), E. Regan (0-1, 1f), A. Freeman (1-0), C. O’Connor (1-5, 3f, pen , ‘45).
Subs used: D. Vaughan for Durcan (34), A. Dillon (0-2) for Freeman (45) B. Moran for Coen (50), A. Moran for Regan (61), J. Doherty for A. O’Shea (70).

Fermanagh: C. Snow, M. Jones, C. Cullen, M. O’Brien, D. McCusker, D. Kelly, A. Breen (0-3), E. Donnelly (0-1), R. O’Callaghan, B. Mulrone (0-2), R. Jones, R. Lyons (0-1), R. Corrigan, S. Quigley (1-1, 1f), T. Corrigan (0-4, 2f).
Subs used: P. McCusker for R. Lyons (46), J. McMahon for M. O’Brien (52), C. Flaherty for R. O’Callaghan (67), P. Cadden A. Breen (70).

Referee: J. McQuillan (Cavan).