DONEGAL 0-17 MAYO 1-07
BY CHRIS MCNULTY IN BALLYSHANNON
DONEGAL got back to winning ways in style this afternoon as they made an inspired comeback to defeat Mayo at Fr Tierney Park.
Despite having Rory Kavanagh sent off in first-half injury time, Donegal came from two down at the break to win by seven.
Kavanagh was given a straight red card by referee Marty Duffy when he appeared to swing an arm back at Kevin McLoughlin, who had fouled the St Eunan’s man and was still holding onto the midfielder.
McLoughlin went unpunished for the foul, but Donegal may yet appeal Kavanagh’s red card and will make a decision upon receipt of the referee’s report tomorrow.
Mayo had Ger Cafferkey sent off eight minutes from the end for a second yellow card offence, but by that stage the game was long since over as a contest.
Enda Varley netted for Mayo after just ten minutes and James Horan’s men led 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.
In the second-half, Donegal hit nine points in a row to take charge, keeping a poor Mayo scoreless until the final minute.
“It was a brave learning curve for us down in Kerry, but today we took the thing by the scruff of the neck,” said Jim McGuinness after the win.
“For us, it was about getting back to basics and getting a performance, which we got today.
“The last day we stood back and watched a very good Kerry team playing. As I said last weekend, we weren’t the first team that did that and had to pay a price.
“Every day is a schoolday and you’re learning all the time though.
“The boys will have learned a lot from the Kerry game. I don’t think today’s performance was based on that, but it was about trying to get our own performance right and it was encouraging in the second-half.”
The win gives Donegal a real chance of avoiding the drop now with Dublin next up in Croke Park on Saturday night.
Colm McFadden hit seven points, while Michael Murphy was excellent, scoring five points and proving to be a real handful for Mayo, with Neil Gallagher again commanding the midfield area.
Donegal’s full-forward line contributed fourteen points, with Leo McLoone influential from hallf-back, scoring a great point in the second-half. Donegal were without Neil McGee, who was sick, with his brother Eamon deputising at full-back.
As inspired as Donegal were, Mayo were every bit as insipid. Manager James Horan reckoned afterwards that his team was ‘terrible’ and it was hard to argue with his observation.
“We were just terrible today in every aspect of the game,” he said.
“We looked every bit a terrible team and we’ve got a bad beating, a very bad beating. We need to react in the right way.
“The amount of ball that we turned over today was unbelievable. We wouldn’t have won a Division 4 game today, never mind a game in Division 1.”
DONEGAL: P Durcan; F McGlynn, E McGee, P McGrath; K Lacey (0-1), L McLoone (0-1), A Thompson; R Kavanagh, N Gallagher; M McHugh (0-1), R Bradley, M O’Reilly; C McFadden (0-7, 6f), M Murphy (0-5, 2f), P McBrearty (0-2). Subs: M McElhinney for O’Reilly (half-time); D Molloy for Bradley (56 mins); D Walsh for McBrearty (70 mins).
MAYO: D Clarke (0-1, 1 ’45); K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; P Gardiner, D Vaughan, L Keegan; S Ó Sé, B Moran; K McLoughlin, A Moran (0-1), A Dillon (0-1); C Mortimer (0-3, 3f), A Freeman, E Varley (1-0). Subs: P Harte for Freeman (half-time); R Feeney for Keegan (43 mins); C O’Connor for Varley (61 mins); J Doherty for McLoughlin (60 mins); M Conroy (0-1) for Mortimer (70 mins)
REFEREE: Marty Duffy (Sligo).