Donegal’s Brendan McCole, left, and Aidan O’Shea of Mayo in action in the game at Ballybofey. [Inpho/Lorcan Doherty]

Mayo beat Donegal by 11 points, raising expectations for 2023

Mayo 1-17; Donegal 0-9

Mayo are like a different animal this year,  and fans leaving MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey on Sunday wondered would this finally be their time to recapture old glories.

No, they weren’t talking about winning the league which they could easily do; they were talking about the white heat of championship fever where they have flattered only to deceive so much since Sean Flanagan’s double winning side of 1950-51.

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Donegal were whipped by 11 points but it’s the power play of Kevin McStay’s side that is making people revise their predictions on who is the best equipped team to bring Sam Maguire home this summer.

Their defense is always solid but at midfield Matthew Ruane is playing as good as Brian Fenton has ever been for Dublin while Aidan O’Shea is having an Indian Spring (we await the Summer) in the No 13 jersey where he turned in a man of the match performance on Sunday.

More than that, Cillian O’Connor still hasn’t been asked to make any real contribution yet while  the return of Tommy Conroy is cheering the hearts of Green Above The Red fans everywhere. And that’s without taking Ryan O’Donoghue or his 1-3 on Sunday into account.  

Donegal post Michael Murphy is in crisis with relegation making it hard for new manager Paddy Carr to rouse his squad for the upcoming cut-throat Ulster championship.

Donegal started well in the first quarter but once O’Shea got going and Ruane got going, it meant Mayo really got going too.

O’Donoghue and Paddy Durcan shot fine points to leave them leading by 0-11 to 0-6 half-time.

Mayo are finding a killer instinct and once O’Donoghue ran through to score a goal within two minutes of the restart and Jordan Flynn added a quick point, it was game over. Donegal went 20 minutes without a score and had to thank sub Oisin Gallen raised their white flag.

Even then Mayo drove on with Conroy showing up  well to pass to O’Donoghue for another point. O’Shea slotted over a point from a placed ball and Jamie Brennan found the range for the home side.

Mayo had the skill to keep making inroads on the pitch and on the scoreboard - something that was more token than real for Donegal on the day.

Mayo: C Reape (0-1,’45’); J Coyne, D McBrien, S Callinan; S Coen, C Loftus, P Durcan (0-2); M Ruane (0-3), D O’Connor; F McDonagh, J Carney (0-1), J Flynn (0-2); A O’Shea (0-4,0-2m, 0-1f), J Carr, R O’Donoghue (1-3,0-1f) Subs: T Conroy for J Carr (46); K McLoughlin for McDonagh (52); P O’Hora for Coyne (63); B Tuohy and Towey (0-1) for D O’Connor and O’Donoghue (69).

Donegal: S Patton; M Curran, B McCole, C Ward; D Ó Baoill, E Bán Gallagher (0-1), C McColgan; C McGonagle, J McGee; M Langan (0-3,0-2f), C Thompson (0-3,0-1m, 0-1f), C O’Donnell; P Mogan, H McFadden, J Brennan (0-1) Subs: O Gallen (0-1) for McColgan (ht); J Mac Ceallabhuí for Mogan (43); R O’Donnell for Thompson (52); J Bradley Walsh for J Brennan (59); K Barrett for Gallen (inj 63)

Ref: S Hurson (Tyrone)

Galway 1-8; Armagh 1-6

Galway  may or may not qualify for the national league final but you can be sure that Padraic Joyce’s management term will look at results like this one to keep his players on their toes for All Ireland glory.

After a first half of mediocrity, the maroons upped their game and once Matthew Tierney got in for a goal, they then showed the composure  to hold out for victory in a fiery end to the game at the Athletics Grounds on Saturday night.

Tierney’s 69th-minute goal from a long Shane Walsh pass forward means Armagh are now in serious relegation trouble and may need to win against Tyrone away next weekend to secure their divisional status.

Joyce has his team currently in second spot and knows that if they beat Kerry at home on Sunday they will go on to meet Mayo in the league final. However that takes place one week before the two face off in the Connacht championship, so Galway could decided that a loss this weekend might be better than showing their hands to Mayo before the championship tete-a-tete.

Armagh would love to have Galway’s problems but manager Kieran McGeeney will be worried that his side failed to score for 35 minutes of the second moiety and then only got two points. Galway showed their mettle by coming from four points in arrears to achieve a notable victory - the sort of game they would have lost last year.

That shows how their progression is going and with players still to come back from injury, there are good signs on the horizon for the Tribesmen.

 Galway: C Gleeson; J McGrath, S Kelly, S Fitzgerald; D McHugh, J Daly, C Hernon;  P Conroy (0-1), P Kelly;  M Tierney (1-0), J Heaney (0-2), J Maher;  P Kelly, S Walsh (0-2fs), Cl Sweeney (0-1) Subs: R Finnerty for Kelly (ht), T Culhane (0-2ms) for P Kelly (43), Dl O’Flaherty for Maher (68), B Mannion for Hernon (70), R Monaghan for J Daly (76).

Armagh: E Rafferty (1-0); B McCambridge, A McKay, A Forker; C Mackin (0-1) G McCabe, J Og Burns;  S Campbell (0-1), T Kelly; C Cumiskey (0-1), R Grugan (0-1f), J McElroy; R O’Neill (0-1), A Murnin, J Duffy Subs: J Hall for Cumiskey (29), S Sheridan for Kelly (ht), C Turbitt for McCabe (48), R McQuillan for McKay (51), N Grimley for Sheridan (58), A Nugent (0-1) for O’Neill (65).

Ref: D Gough (Meath).


Div 1

Mayo 1-17; Donegal 0-9

Tyrone 2-15; Monaghan 0-13

Kerry 1-12; Roscommon 0-12

Galway 1-8; Armagh 1-6

Div 2

Dublin 2-17; Meath 1-11

Derry 0-14; Clare 0-4

Louth 1-10; Cork 0-10

Kildare 3-10; Limerick 2-7

Div 3 

Antrim 1-17; Cavan 2-12

Offaly 2-14; Tipperary 0-13

Fermanagh 0-15; Westmeath 2-8

Down 1-19; Longford 1-14

Div 4

Waterford 2-9; London 2-5

Sligo 2-10; Carlow 0-11

Wexford 0-19; Wicklow 0-13

Leitrim 2-14; Laois 0-18


Div 1A

Limerick 2-20; Wexford 0-15

Galway 4-27; Westmeath 1-12

Clare 2-18; Cork 2-18

Div 1B

Kilkenny 0-18; Waterford 0-16

Dublin 1-29; Laois 0-20

Tipperary 2-28; Antrim 2-16