Mayo drop down to the unfamiliar surroundings of Division 2
Mayo will have to get used to the unfamiliar surroundings of Division 2 next year as their long stay in the top flight came to an end today when they were beaten by Tyrone on a scoreline of 3-14 to 1-19.
Nine points down at one stage and eight behind at half-time, Mayo fought back gallantly in the second half but to lose by just a point but the concession of three goals, two of them in the first half, was always going to be a big hurdle to overcome.
The scenario for Mayo and Tyrone going into today's final round game in the Allianz National Football League at Elverys MacHale Park was simple; a win for either would keep them safe in Division 1. As a result, both teams lined out strongly and the early stages were even, Tyrone leading by a single point – 0-5 to 0-4 – by the time the first water break was signalled.
It was the first time Tyrone had gone into the lead, in fact, but the visitors then hit Mayo for two goals in the second quarter, the first a brilliant finish by Conor McKenna after a build up marked more by tenacity than finesse, while the second was created by McKenna with a brilliant long pass into the path of Darragh Canavan, who spun his marker and fired a stunning shot to the bottom corner of David Clarke's net.
The Ulster men were good value for the half-time 2-9 to 0-7 lead and might well have been further ahead but for some wayward shooting.
That said, Mayo were guilty of some big misses too and by managing to create a couple of goal chances – most notably for Bryan Walsh in the sixth minute when an incisive move left him in the clear, only for Niall Morgan to effect a fine save – there was plenty to suggest they could breach the Tyrone rearguard with wind assistance for the second period.
They got off to a confident start, landing three points without reply, but 1-1 from Tyrone in the space of a minute, the goal coming from Conor McKenna when he capitalised on a misdirected short kick-out, put Tyrone back into a commanding nine-point lead, 3-10 to 0-10.
Mayo outscored their opponents by 1-9 to 0-4 over the remaining half an hour, Tommy Conroy with a well-taken goal, but Tyrone hassled and harried to hold on and cement their Division 1 status and condemn Mayo to the drop.
The starting Mayo team was: D. Clarke, O. Mullin, S. Coen, L. Keegan, P. Durcan (0-1), K. McLoughlin, E. McLaughlin (0-1), M. Ruane (0-1), C. Loftus (0-1), D. O'Connor (0-2), M. Moran, B. Walsh, T. Conroy (1-3), A. O'Shea, D. Coen (0-5). Subs used were: R. O'Donoghue (0-2), F. McDonagh, J. Durcan (0-3), P. O'Hora.
The Tyrone starting team was: N. Morgan, L. Rafferty, R. McNamee, H.P. McGeary, T. McCann, K. McGeary (0-1), M. McKernan (0-1), B. Kennedy, M. O'Neill, M. Donnelly (0-2), C. McKenna (2-2), D. McCurry (0-4), P. Harte (0-3), D. Canavan (1-1), C. Meyler. Subs used were: F. Burns, K. Coney, N. Kelly, N. Sludden, R. O'Neill.
*Pictured above, Tommy Conroy scores Mayo's only goal as they lost by a single point to Tyrone at Elverys MacHale Park this afternoon. Photo: Sportsfile