Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly saves a penalty from Patrick McBrearty of Donegal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match between Mayo and Donegal at Markievicz Park in Sligo. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Hennelly rescues draw for Mayo

Mayo 0-11

Donegal 0-11

By Stuart Tynan

Rob Hennelly came to Mayo’s rescue as his last-ditch free secured a share of the spoils against Donegal at Markievicz Park in the opening round of Division 1.

The Tir Chonaill pen will be kicking themselves that they allowed this match to get away from them as they spurned numerous goal chances. But credit must be given to Mayo for their fightback with a special mention going to goalkeeper Hennelly.

He twice came to Mayo’s rescue in the first half to deny Donegal before Paddy McBrearty’s penalty midway in the second half. He would send Mayo supporters wild with a free from almost 40 metres to ensure another draw between these two sides in the league.

Donegal outscored Mayo 0-6 to 0-2 in the opening quarter as the Green and Red struggled to gain any foothold in the contest.

Ryan McHugh and Michael Langan, Donegal’s best performer on the day, stretched Donegal’s lead to five before Eoghan McLaughlin sent one over following a great run by Brendan Harrison on the stroke of half-time to see four between the sides 0-7 to 0-3 at the interval.

Mayo came out much improved in the second half as Paddy Durcan and Jason Doherty pointed, with scores from Langan and Michael Murphy keeping Donegal four ahead.

Doherty made it a three-point game before referee Noel Mooney pointed to the spot after Mayo captain Stephen Coen dragged Murphy back when in on goal in the area. Coen was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card McBrearty’s penalty’s was saved.

Points from Murphy (from a 45’) and Langan looked to have made it safe for Donegal yet it would be Mayo who would finish with aplomb. Two points from Ryan O’Donoghue and another from Durcan made it a one-point game before Hennelly stepped up with a stunning free in the fourth minute of additional time.

Mayo will look to build on this result next Sunday when they travel to Clones to take on Monaghan.

Mayo: R. Hennelly (0-1f); B. Harrison, S. Coen, P. O’Hora; P. Durcan (0-2), D. McHugh, E. MacLaughlin (0-1); C. O’Shea, C. Loftus; F. McDonagh, A. Orme, D. O’Connor; T. Conroy, J. Doherty (0-3), R. O’Donoghue (0-4, 3f).

Subs: A. O’Shea, B. Walsh, S. Callinan, J. Flynn.

Donegal: S. Patton; C. Ward, B. McCole, Ó, McFadden Ferry; R. McHugh (0-1), P. Brennan, T. McClenaghan; C. McGonagle, M. Murphy (0-4, 1f, 1m, 1 45’); C. Thompson, P. Mogan, M. Langan (0-4); P. McBrearty (0-1), C. O’Donnell (0-1), E. Bán Gallagher.

Subs: J. McGee (for C. Thompson), J. McKelvey, E. O’Donnell, E. Doherty, N. O’Donnell.

Ref: N. Mooney (Cavan).

*Full match report and reaction in Tuesday's print edition.