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22nd Jun 2019

Keegan comes up with a big one again for Mayo when they needed him

Niall McIntyre

Mayo 1-16 Down 1-11

No drama from Mayo. Just business.

Going up to Páirc Esler, the word was that James Horan was putting his faith back into the old guard. The old reliables served him well in Newry.

In a dominant and strangely hiccup free performance, Mayo overpowered Down to advance to round three of the qualifiers with their confidence brimming.

They’ll be getting quietly excited out west again.

Down did put it up to them early on though. Caolan Mooney’s 8th minute goal had Mayo fans worried that this was going to be yet another rollercoaster ride but that score seemed to wake them up rather than set them back.

Despite struggling with the Down blanket for large periods, they remained patient and eventually pierced some holes.

Kevin McLoughlin and the impressive Fionn McDonagh kicked points to settle them into the game. Loftus slotted the frees in Cillian O’Connor’s absence while Aidan O’Shea also kicked a rare point from play.

Despite their fast start, Down were struggling to gain a foothold into the game and Chris Barrett’s point on the stroke of half-time meant the away side went into the break leading by three points.

And they’d kick on off the whistle too. Loftus fired to the net after some quick thinking from a free before Lee Keegan came alive. The gallant Westport half back kept on bombing forward in the second half and he ended it with three of the finest points from play.

There was a little squeaky bum time towards the end as Down reduced the lead to three but then Diarmuid O’Connor, sub Ciaran Treacy and again that man Keegan stepped up to seal the deal.

Elsewhere in the qualifiers, there were wins for Tyrone and for Laois. You can catch reports of those games here.

Clare made light work of Leitrim with Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone and David Tubridy going to town. 3-17 to 0-17 was the final score there.

Monaghan were well beaten by Armagh and their manager Malachy O’Rourke stepped down after seven years at the helm afterwards.

Westmeath defeated Limerick 2-13 to 1-10 and Kildare cantered past Antrim in Corrigan Park.

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