FL1: Mayo win again to cut Derry adrift

March 08, 2015

Mayo's Colm Boyle and Derry's Mark Craig

Mayo 2-12
Derry 1-13

Mayo remain joint-top of Division 1 with Cork after Mikey Sweeney's late goal sealed a hard-earned victory over Derry at Celtic Park.

Sweeney had only been on the pitch a few minutes when he struck to give the Connacht champions a 2-12 to 0-13 lead. But they were left hanging on for their third win of the campaign after Brian Og Gilligan replied with a three-pointer for the Oak Leafers, who are still without a win.

With only one point from four outings and two points behind second-from-bottom Dublin, last year's league finalists are staring at a return to Division 2 in 2016.

Jason Doherty opened the scoring for the visitors before frees from Benny Heron and the returning Mark Lynch put Brian McIvor's men ahead. But it would be the only time they would lead as Mayo hit back with two points from Cillian O'Connor (one free) and Mark Ronaldson.

Mark Craig reduced the deficit to the minimum, only for Aidan O'Shea and O'Connor to reply with Mayo scores. When Mark Lynch pointed in the 25th minute, the visitors' lead was back to the minimum, 0-6 to 0-5, but four minutes later, Ronaldson goaled after O'Connor's free had rebounded from the upright to leave four in it, 1-7 to 0-6, at the break.

O'Shea extended Mayo's lead before goalkeeper Kenneth O'Malley twice came to their rescue with saves from Herron and Michael McIvor. Heron clawed back two points, but another Ronaldson score had Mayo 1-9 to 0-8 ahead approaching the midway stage of the second half.

Substitute James Kielt was central to a late Derry fight-back, scoring four points either side of a fisted effort by Fergal Doherty. Kielt's fourth point drew the hosts level, but the Westerners were able to respond with a Kevin McLoughlin brace.

Ronaldson and Kielt both received black cards for separate incidents before goals were scored at either end in a dramatic finale.

Mayo - K O'Malley; T Cunniffe, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, G Cafferkey, C Boyle; S O'Shea, D Kirby; K McLoughlin (0-2, 1f), A O'Shea (0-3), M Forde; M Ronaldson (1-2), C O'Connor (0-4, 3f), J Doherty (0-1). Subs: A Dillon for M Forde, B Moran for D Kirby, A Freeman for C O'Connor, D Drake for G Cafferkey, M Sweeney (1-0) for M Ronaldson (BC).

Derry - E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, D McBride; B Og McAlary (0-1), K Johnston, SL McGoldrick; M Craig (0-1), B Og McGilligan (1-0); C McWilliams, M Lynch (0-2f), E Lynn; D McKinless, B Heron (0-4, 2f, 2'45), A McAlynn. Subs: M McIver for A McAlynn, J Kielt (0-4, 3f) for D McKinless, E McGuckin for B Og McAlary, T O'Brien (0-1) for C McWilliams, S Brady for J Kielt (BC).

Referee - C Branagan.

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