Donegal’s dismal run of form continued as they were handed a heavy defeat by a far superior Mayo team in Sunday’s Allianz National Football League Division One meeting in Ballybofey.
Donegal . . . 0-09, Mayo . . . 1-17
It means Donegal remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table going into the final round of matches next weekend.
Donegal, odds on to be relegated, travel to play Roscommon next Sunday a point behind Monaghan and two points worse off than Armagh – both of whom have a far better scoring average.
With survival at stake, Donegal supporters would have gone to MacCumhaill Park hoping to see their team put it up to the league leaders.
But while there were positives to take from their first half display, Donegal were very disappointing after half time. Mayo scored the only goal of the game through Ryan O’Donoghue right at the start of the second half and that almost decided the game there and then.
In difficult conditions and on a surface that quickly cut up, Donegal kicked the game’s opening score when Eoin Ban Gallagher ran a distance from inside his own half, took a pass and found the target.
Mattie Ruane leveled for Mayo but Ciaran Thompson restored Donegal’s lead with a good score of his own.
Mayo however, kicked three points without reply to go 0-4 to 0-2 up – the excellent Aidan O’Shea among their scorers.
O’Shea would end the half with three points, two from marks, while midfielder Ruane hit three points from play, the last of which was a superb effort off the right boot.
Donegal enjoyed some good passages of play in that first half and playing in at full forward, Hugh McFadden did cause Mayo some problems.
But the visitors looked a well organised side and their strength in possession was a big factor as they went in at half time five points to the good, 0-11 to 0-6.
It got better for them immediately after half time when O’Donoghue produced a wonderful finish for his team’s goal.
O’Donoghue ended with 1-3 and when he was replaced late on, he received a standing ovation from the travelling supporters gathered in the main stand.
They had watched their team ease to victory as Donegal managed only three points in the second half as they tamely went down to another defeat.
Donegal scorers: Ciaran Thompson 0-3 (1 mark, 1f), Michael Langan 0-3 (2f), Eoin Ban Gallagher, Jamie Brennan, Oisin Gallen 0-1 each.
Mayo scorers: Ryan O’Donoghue 1-3 (1f), Aidan O’Shea 0-4 (2 marks, 1f), Mattie Ruane 0-3, Jordan Flynn 0-2, Paddy Durcan 0-2, Colm Reape 0-1 (‘45), Jack Carney, Paul Towey 0-1 each
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Mark Curran, Caolan Ward, Caolan McColgan; Daire O’Baoill, Brendan McCole, Eoin Ban Gallagher; Jason McGee, Caolan McGonigle; Michael Lagan, Conor O’Donnell, Ciaran Thompson; Peadar Mogan, Hugh McFadden, Jamie Brennan.
Subs: Oisin Gallen for McColgan (half-time), Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí for Mogan (43), Rory O’Donnell for Thompson (51), Joel Bradley Walsh for Brennan (59), Kane Barrett for Gallen (61).
Mayo: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Sam Callinan; Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus, Paddy Durcan; Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn; Aidan O’Shea, James Carr, Ryan O’Donoghue.
Subs: Tommy Conroy for Carr (45), Kevin McLaughlin for McDonagh (51), Padraig O’Hora and Donncha McHugh for Coyne and Callinan (59), Bob Tuohy and Paul Towey for Ruane and O’Donoghue (68),
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).