Derry edge closer to Division 1 final after holding off Mayo comeback in Castlebar

March 17, 2024

Derry's Ciaran McFaul and Paul Towey of Mayo ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Derry took a huge stride towards the Allianz Football League Division 1 final after coming out on top by 3-15 to 2-13 against Mayo in Castlebar this afternoon.

This entertaining contest saw an electric start with a goal at either end inside the opening 10 minutes. Niall Loughlin took a superb assist from Shane McGuigan before finding the net to surge Derry in front in the eighth minute and some 60 seconds later Jordan Flynn would blast a rocket to the roof of the Ulster champions’ net.

The visitors were the team to make more in roads from there as points from Ciaran McFaul and Padraig Grogan were backed up by a Shane McGuigan goal, with the latter score coming after Ethan Doherty claimed a wayward Colm Reape kick-out and fed the Oak Leafers’ talisman inside for an easy finish.

McGuigan’s strike sent Mickey Harte’s men towards a 2-7 to 1-4 half-time lead and it looked to be all over for the Westerners once Conor McCluskey lashed in a third Derry goal eight minutes into the resumption.

Points from Ryan O’Donoghue and Aaron McDonnell started the Mayo fightback though and substitute Paul Towey would have an immediate impact off the bench when he crashed in a 56th minute goal for the trailers.

Reape (a 45), Towey and O’Donoghue raised white flags after that to make it a two-point game with eight minutes left in regulation but, from there, the Ulster side were able to steady the ship with Conor Glass landing a crucial score and McGuigan’s frees seeing them over the line towards a fifth win and top place spot heading into next weekend’s final round of games.

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