Conor Loftus. . .Mayo's man of the match against Down.

Mayo back up and running in championship series

MAYO are back up and running in the All-Ireland SFC series.

They returned to winning ways in Newry this evening with a 1-16 to 1-11 victory over Down in a full-blooded second round qualifier.

Having led by 0-10 to 1-4 at half-time, a period which saw the visitors concede an early Caolan Rooney goal as well as losing Darren Coen to a black card, Mayo maintained the upperhand on the resumption.

A key factor in that regard was a splendid 41st minute goal by in-form Conor Loftus from an Andy Moran pass to open up a six-point lead.

Lee Keegan also came into his own in the second half, executing three vital points.

The attacking pace and power of Down caused serious problems for Mayo throughout the second half.

This was graphically illustrated when goalkeeper David Clarke was forced to come off his line to deny Down a second goal through Connaire Harrison.

Down paid a heavy price for their profligacy, resistering 11 wides, but they did succeed in cutting the margin to three points before Mayo pulled away with late points O'Connor, Fergal Boland and Ciaran Treacy.

Mayo go into Monday's draw and will face one of the other round two winners next weekend.

But question marks still remain despite a sharp reduction in the side's wide count to six.

Mayo scorers: C. Loftus (1-4), L. Keegan (0-3), A. O'Shea and A. Moran (0-2 each), K. McLoughlin, C. Barrett, F. Boland, D. O'Connor, C. Treacy (0-1 each).

Down scorers: C. Rooney (1-1), D. O'Hare, C. Harrison, C. Quinn (0-2 each), P. Havern, O. McCabe and J. Johnstone (0-1 each).