Mayo book final berth as Donegal look destined for the drop

Donegal manager Paddy Carr says fight went out of his side after Mayo’s early second-half goal

Donegal 0-9 Mayo 1-17

Only a mathematical miracle can preserve Donegal’s stay in top flight now after a limp 11-point defeat to Mayo has them in the Division One quicksand, with relegation now looking inevitable.

“We are totally dependent on something that is very unlikely to happen,” agreed Donegal manager Paddy Carr.

Ryan O’Donoghue netted the goal two minutes into the second half that evaporated any remaining hope for Donegal.


The game began to creep away from Donegal in the closing stages of the first half, but when O’Donoghue weaved his way in from the left-hand side and coolly tucked to the Town End net, Mayo’s rear-view mirror showed only dust.

“When Mayo got the goal, the fight seemed to go out of our lads. That is a worry. There is no getting away from that. Heads went down and that’s not what lads are sent out to do,” said Carr.

Shaun Patton saved from Fionn McDonagh early on and when Ciarán Thompson posted two frees in quick succession on 18 minutes, the sides were level, 0-4 apiece.

With the attendance huddling into their overcoats for another classic between these two old foes, the script was soon tossed aside by Mayo, who had never won in Donegal on nine previous visits.

Now, with Stephen Rochford back in the Mayo set-up having spent the last four years coaching Donegal, they were back west with the maximum points and a place in the Division One final.

Even Kevin McStay’s post-match interview was conducted with ease.

“The conditions were heavy but it was just a matter of getting the ball and giving it to a fellah with the same coloured jersey,” McStay said. “That would do just fine.”

O’Donoghue and man-of-the-match Aidan O’Shea put 10 points between the sides as Mayo strolled through.

“There was no need to get swanky but it was excellent how we got there,” McStay said.

The margin would’ve been greater only for Patton saving from Tommy Conroy, who came off the bench by Mayo in the second half.

Donegal’s already bleak injury picture was worsened with Oisín Gallen limping off.

With an Ulster Championship clash with Down fast approaching, Carr and Donegal have a huge body of work.

“Collectively, we went into a shell there,” he said. “We will have to be a different beast for the championship.”

DONEGAL: S Patton; M Curran, C Ward, C McColgan; C Thompson (0-3, two frees), B McCole, E Gallagher (0-1); C McGonagle, J McGee; M Langan (0-3, two frees), D O Baoill, C O’Donnell; H McFadden, J Brennan (0-1), P Mogan.

Subs: O Gallen (0-1) for McColgan (h-t), J Mac Ceallabhui for Mogan (43 mins), R O’Donnell for Thompson (52), J Bradley-Walsh for Brennan (60), K Barrett for Gallen (62).

MAYO: C Reape (0-1, a 45); J Coyne, D McBrien, S Callinan; S Coen, C Loftus, P Durcan (0-2); M Ruane (0-3), D O’Connor; F McDonagh, J Carney, J Flynn (0-2); A O’Shea (0-4, two frees), J Carney (0-1), R O’Donoghue (1-3, one free).

Subs: T Conroy for Carr (46 mins), K McLaughlin for McDonagh (52), P O’Hora for Coyne (62), B Tuohy for O’Connor, P Towey (0-1) for O’Donoghue (both 69)

Referee: S Hurson (Tyrone).