National League: Mayo run riot in Galway, Donegal edge Tyrone
Mayo and Donegal picked up wins in Division 1 as the National League turns for home. Meanwhile, Kildare and Wexford made moves towards promotion in the lower tiers.
Galway 0-17 Mayo 3-23
Mayo ran riot in Tuam to pick up two valuable points as they bid to avoid relegation in Division 1.
Mark Moran and Oisín Mullen made serious cases for starting berths in the championship with eye-catching performances, while Galway struggled to deal with Aidan O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor in the full-forward line.
Moran and Paddy Durcan found the net in the first half, as James Horan’s charges stormed into a 2-17 to 0-7 lead at the break.
The intensity dropped in the second half, with Mayo already having wrapped up the victory. Conor Loftus added a third goal to push further ahead.
The away side held out for a 15-point win, breathing fire into their bid to extend their 23-year stay in the top flight.
It was an afternoon to forget for Galway, who lost Damien Comer and Johnny Duane to injury. The Tribesmen surrendered top spot in the table to Kerry, and the manner of the defeat rocks their momentum ahead of the championship.
Galway: Conor Gleeson; Conor Campbell, Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh, Johnny Heaney; Liam Silke (0-2), Johnny Duane, Cillian McDaid (0-1); Cein D’Arcy, John Maher; Eamonn Brannigan, Damien Comer, Jason Leonard; Robert Finnerty (0-7 – 0-6 frees), Ian Burke, Paul Conroy (0-3).
Subs: Michael Daly for Damien Comer, Gary O’Donnell (0-1) for Johnny Duane, Adrian Varley (0-1) for Eamonn Brannigan, Tom Flynn for John Maher, Matthias Barrett (0-1) for Cein D’Arcy.
Mayo: David Clarke; Oisín Mullen, David McBrien, Lee Keegan; Patrick Durcan (1-2), Stephen Coen (0-1 – 0-1 mark), Eoghan McLaughlin; Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus (1-2 – 0-1 mark); Fionn McDonagh, Mark Moran (1-2), Diarmuid O’Connor; Tommy Conroy (0-3), Aidan O’Shea (0-3), Cillian O’Connor (0-10 – 0-8 frees).
Subs: Bryan Walsh for Fionn McDonagh, Padraig O’Hora for David McBrien, Ryan O’Donoghue for Diarmuid O’Connor, Darren Coen for Cillian O’Connor, Jordan Flynn for Matthew Ruane.
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Donegal 2-17 Tyrone 2-13
Donegal gained the psychological edge ahead of the Ulster Championship quarter-final in two weeks, with a hard-fought four-point win over Tyrone.
The big talking point ahead of throw-in was Conor McKenna starting for the Red Hands, coming straight into the team after returning from Australia.
Nonetheless, it was the home side who enjoyed a fast start, with Jamie Brennan firing over a brace of points off either foot, and Peadar Mogan sending a rocket into the top corner of the net. Darren McCurry converted a penalty for the visitors, after McKenna was dragged down close to goal, but Donegal took a 1-9 to 1-6 lead into the break.
The crucial moment came in the second half, as Michael Murphy played in Brennan, who slid it under the on-rushing Niall Morgan. It was a blow from which Tyrone failed to recover. The Red Hands finished with 13 men, after Kieran McGeary and Rory Brennan were both shown late red cards.
Nonetheless, there were positives for Mickey Harte, as McKenna impressed upon his return, bringing his tally to 1-2 with a late goal.
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Neil McGee, Stephen McMenamin; Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Jeaic McKelvey; Hugh McFadde, Caolan McGonigle; Peadar Mogan, Niall O’Donnell, Ciarán Thompson; Jamie Brennan, Michael Murphy, Oisin Gallen.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Liam Rafferty, Ronan McNamee, Rory Brennan; Tiernan McCann, Kieran McGeary, Michael McKernan; Padraig Hampsey, Frank Burns; Mattie Donnelly, Conor McKenna, Darren McCurry; Niall Sludden, Conall McCann, Conor Meyler.
Division 1 table
Clare and Kildare picked up crucial home victories in the second tier, overcoming Fermanagh and Cavan respectively.
The Banner beat a depleted Erne side 1-11 to 1-9, with Joe McGann scoring the crucial goal in Ennis.
Meanwhile, Jack O’Connor’s Lilywhites held off a late Breffni fightback for a 1-21 to 0-20 victory.
Division 2 table
A Conor Sweeney penalty was the difference as Tipperary overcame Offaly 1-16 to 0-16.
The Premier are not yet safe, as they battle with the Faithful County and Leitrim to stay in Division 3.
Division 3 table
Despite the loss of manager Paul Galvin in recent weeks, Wexford took a major step towards relegation with a 1-13 to 1-10 away win over Limerick.
Division 4 table
Antrim sealed their return to hurling’s top table, with a 2-23 to 2-20 win over Kerry in the Division 2A final. Darren Gleeson’s charges will be back in Division 1 in 2021.
Meanwhile, Down beat Derry 2-16 to 0-17 in the 2B decider, as Sligo overcame Leitrim 3-17 to 2-16 in the 3B showpiece.
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