Goals win matches and that certainly was the case today in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny as a brace of goals for Mayo in a couple of minutes early in the second half effectively killed this game off as a contest.
Donegal showed signs of early season rustiness in their first outing in this National League Division 2B encounter.
In the first half it was only the excellent free taking of Mc Cumhaills Lee Henderson that kept them in touch. Mayo led at half time 1.7 to 0.8.
Donegal started the second half brightly and another long range free from Henderson reduced the gap to a single point, but all was to change in the next few minutes as Mayo rattled home two goals.
Midway through the second half the Connacht men led 3.09 to 0.10 but credit to Donegal they never gave up and battled gamely to the end.
With less than 5 minutes to go Aodh Ruadh’s Eddie Lynch drilled the ball to the net but unfortunately it was a case of too little too late.
Mayo finished the scoring with a last minute point to run out comfortable winners by 8 points. It was a big step up in standard but Donegal more than held their own, those couple of minutes lack of concentration cost them dearly.
It was an encouraging start to the season considering Donegal lined out without regulars Danny Cullen, Sean Mc Veigh and Paddy Hannigan they also lost captain Joe Boyle mid way through the 1st half due to a recurring groin injury.
Best for Donegal were Paul Sheridan, Lee Henderson and Ciaran Matthewson.
Next up for Donegal is a trip to the Athletic Grounds in Armagh next Sunday to play the Orchard men.