FL1: McLoughlin secures precious win for Mayo
26 March 2017
Tyrone's Conor Meyler in action with Mayo's Tom Parsons
Kevin McLoughlin landed a 73rd minute winning point as Mayo overcame Tyrone in a heated battle in Omagh.
It was far from a spectacle at Healy Park but in the end McLoughlin’s late strike could prove the difference for staying in Division 1 for Stephen Rochford’s charges after last weekend’s conquerors Cavan scored a late draw against Kerry earlier in the afternoon.
Tom Parsons’ 26th minute goal proved to be the difference between the sides in the first-half, as Mayo led by the minimum at break, and they were forced to rely on two Cillian O’Connor frees before McLoughlin eventually cancelled out Mark Bradley in injury-time.
It means that the Connacht men’s survival fate will be decided next weekend, as they get set to host Donegal while Cavan travel to face a pointless Roscommon side.
Patrick Durcan drove forward to give Mayo their first advantage after three minutes but it was the hosts that led after five minutes of play.
Points from Darren McCurry and Bradley looked to have settled the fancied Ulster champions in nicely into this repeat of last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final meeting but they wouldn't have much their own way here.
Shane McNally and McLoughlin had the Westerners’ noses back in front by the 13th minute – ahead of Niall Sludden tying things up again before being black-carded much to the dismay of the home contingent.
O’Connor and Kieran McGeary kept things even as the game passed its 20-minute mark and the deadly McCurry soon fired the Red Hands back in front.
Mayo would lose ‘Football of the Year’ Lee Keegan to a black card as well, prior to Sean Cavanagh doubling their opponents’ advantage, as the home side looked set to kick on, having registered their eighth wide beforehand.
The visitors came up with the perfect response however, as midfielder Parsons raced through Tyrone’s centre to be teed up by Andy Moran and buried a brilliant finish beyond Niall Morgan for three points.
O’Connor added to the lead in the lead in the very next attack, as Mark Bradley and Durcan cancelled each other out towards half-time and Cavanagh landed a huge long range score in the added minutes, leaving it at 1-6 to 0-8 at the half.
There we nine scoreless opening minutes in the restart, as defences continued to dominate, with McGeary’s long range point levelling matters again for Mickey Harte’s men.
O’Connor, who put in a much improved display from his off-colour performance against Cavan seven days ago, had landed an accurate ‘45’ but would be outdone by Tyrone ‘keeper Morgan sailing over a free from long range five minutes later.
Tiernan McCann pointed from an acute angle to put the hosts noses’ back in front on 53 minutes.
Aidan O'Shea was introduced by the visitors a minute and a brace of O’Connor frees ensured the lead was theirs heading into the final quarter of an hour.
Bradley nipped in for a close range score to square things up once more for Harte’s men but in a tense finish it was McLoughlin that came up trumps for the west siders in the third minute of added time.
Tyrone would have a half chance cut out by ‘keeper David Clarke at the death as the Connacht outfit held out for what could prove to be a priceless win heading into the final round of games next weekend.
Mayo - D Clarke; B Harrison, K Higgins, C Barrett; C Boyle, L Keegan, P Durcan (0-2); T Parsons (1-0), D Kirby; F Boland, C O’Connor (0-5, 3f, 1'45), S Nally (0-1); K McLoughlin (0-2), A Moran, D Drake. Subs: S Coen for K Higgins (BC), D O’Connor for F Boland, D Vaughan for D Kirby (BC), A O’Shea for A Moran, J Doherty for D Drake, C O’Shea for S Nally.
Tyrone - N Morgan (0-1f); P Hampsey, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, A McCrory, T McCann (0-1); C Cavanagh, M Donnelly, K McGeary (0-2), N Sludden (0-1), P Harte; M Bradley (0-3), S Cavanagh (0-2, 1f), D McCurry (0-2). Subs: C Meyler for N Sludden (BC), C McShane for R McNamee, H Loughran for R McNabb, J Munroe for A McCrory.
Referee - C Lane.