Gaelic GamesMatch Report

Derry withstand late Mayo rally to go back top of Division One

Shane McGuigan’s scores 1-6 in impressive display from Mickey Harte’s side in Castlebar

National Football League Division One: Mayo 2-13 Derry 3-15

High-flying Derry had to withstand a late rally from the league champions before they escaped to a dramatic victory at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar.

The league leaders looked set to cruise to a comfortable win when they led by nine points midway through the second half, but Mayo came roaring back with a goal from Paul Towey in the 56th minute helping them to close the gap to two points.

But Mickey Harte’s side rediscovered their composure and four points in the final 10 minutes from Conor Glass, Shane McGuigan (free) and two from impact substitute Niall Toner saw them pull clear again in front of a crowd of 9,373.

First-half goals from Niall Loughlin and McGuigan helped the Ulster champions on their way to a fifth victory of this campaign, which keeps them on course for a shot at the Division One title later this month.


Mickey Harte’s men led at the interval by six points and a brilliant goal from Conor McCluskey nine minutes after the restart left the game just beyond Mayo’s reach.

Last year’s league winners now look set to finish in mid-table after this third defeat.

Derry led at half-time by 2-7 to 1-4 after completely dominating the second quarter. They outscored Mayo 1-4 to no score in the final 16 minutes of the half as their slick counterattacking game and efficient finishing left the home defence chasing shadows. McGuigan finished the half with 1-4 and was at his brilliant best from the start.

The sides also exchanged goals through Loughlin and Jordan Flynn inside 60 seconds midway through an eventful first half.

Tommy Conroy’s point in the 23rd minute edged Mayo ahead by 1-4 to 1-3 but was to be the home side’s last score of the half.

Derry, meanwhile, reeled off three points in a row from McGuigan (free), Ciarán McFaul and Pádraig McGrogan to lead by 1-6 to 1-4 after 31 minutes.

A 31st-minute goal from McGuigan after a poor Mayo kick-out propelled the visitors further ahead before Diarmuid Baker rounded off the first-half scoring.

Derry looked set to win at their ease when they raced ahead by 3-11 to 1-8 after 49 minutes, but Mayo launched a dramatic rescue mission to set up a grandstand finish as Towey goaled with his first touch and Aaron McDonnell, Colm Reape (45), Towey and Ryan O’Donoghue all raised white flags.

But Derry got their second wind to close the game out eventually and the last word went to Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea, who notched a point from play on the day he played his 100th league game for the Connacht side.

MAYO: C Reape (0-2, 0-1f, 0-1 45); A McDonnell (0-1), R Brickenden, S Callinan (0-1); D McHugh, S Coen, E Hession; J Carney (0-1), M Ruane; B Tuohy, F Boland (0-1), J Flynn (1-0); A O’Shea (0-2, 0-1f), T Conroy (0-1), R O’Donoghue (0-3, 0-2f).

Subs: C Loftus for Tuohy (44 mins); J Coyne for Hession (47); P Towey (1-1) for Boland (55); F Kelly for McDonnell (65); K Quinn for Loftus (67, inj).

DERRY: O Lynch; C McCluskey (1-0), C McKaigue, D Baker (0-1); G McKinless (0-1), E McEvoy, P McGrogan (0-1); C Glass (0-1), B Rogers; E Doherty (0-1), C McFaul (0-1), P Cassidy; N Loughlin (1-0), S McGuigan (1-6, 0-3f), L Murray.

Subs: N Toner (0-3) for Loughlin (h-t); D Gilmore for McKinless (41 mins); C Murphy for Murray (45).

Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary).