Mayo 1-19 Down 1-16
Mayo crowned their 100th league game at McHale Park in Castlebar by finishing their campaign with an impressive 1-19 to 1-16 win over a Down side who were already relegated prior to this afternoon's fixture.
Stephen Rochford’s men were in control throughout and the side with the longest stay in Division 1 of the national league always looked good for victory.
It was obvious from the outset that Mayo were fired-up for this one and they raced into a 0-05 to 0-01 lead after just six minutes with Evan Regan getting a couple of frees, while Alan Freeman, Chris Barrett and Aidan O’Shea landed efforts from play.
They would have been further ahead only for Down goalkeeper Michael Cunningham who produced a great save to deny Freeman.
Down, already relegated, got moving with the breeze behind them with Kevin McKernan adding to an earlier point from Ryan Mallon, before goalkeeper Cunningham stepped forward to convert a free from 50 metres.
Mayo led by 0-07 to 0-04 going into the second quarter and they pulled away when Cillian O’Connor expertly struck a penalty into the top left corner after Evan Regan was fouled.
Down responded well with Donal O’Hare getting a free and Darragh O’Hanlon also found the range.
Regan hit back with his fourth point of the half but this was cancelled at the other end by Mark Poland.
Freeman got his second of the match after half an hour but Aidan O’Shea missed a great goal chance after Mayo carved open the Down defence.
Down finished the half well with Peter Turley scoring a good point before O’Hare converted his fourth free to cut the gap to two points at the break at 1-09 to 0-10.
O’Connor extended that lead with two frees in the opening three minutes of the second half and Regan then got another excellent point from play to lead by 1-12 to 0-10 after 42 minutes.
Sean Dornan and Paul Devlin gave Down hope with a couple of points but that just stirred Mayo and they pulled away again with a couple of frees from Regan, one from play by Jason Doherty and another free from O’Connor to lead by 1-16 to 0-12 going into the final quarter.
The Mayo supporters in the crowd of 8,352 had little cause for worry even when Dornan got his second point after 53 minutes.
David McKibbin also pointed for Down and O’Hare got another free to reduce the margin to 1-16 to 0-15 with eleven minutes remaining.
But the home fans were worried when Down goalkeeper Cunningham went forward to convert another free and leave just a goal between them with two minutes left.
Regan eased the home worries with an excellent free from the left as the game slipped into stoppage time.
Then Donal O’Hare blasted to the net for Down to cut the gap to a point but Mayo survived with Andy Moran and Regan shooting points to seal victory.
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, K Keane, C Barrett (0-01); L Keegan, C Boyle, S Nally; T Parsons, S O'Shea; C O'Shea, A O'Shea (0-01), J Doherty (0-01); A Freeman (0-02), E Regan (0-09, 0-07 frees), C O'Connor (1-04, 1-00 pen, 0-04 frees).
Subs: P Durcan for Barrett (28 mins), A Dillon for Freeman (58 mins), B Moran for S O'Shea (58 mins), C Carolan for C O'Shea (63 mins), A Moran (0-01) for O'Connor (65 mins).
Down: M Cunningham (0-02, 0-02 frees); D O'Hagan, G Collins, G McGovern; D McKibbon (0-01), A Carr, D O'Hanlon (0-01); P Turley (0-01), H Brown; M Poland (0-01), R Mallon (0-01), K McKernan (0-01); C McGovern, S Dornan (0-02), D O'Hare (1-05, 0-05 frees).
Subs: P Devlin (0-01) for Mallon (41 mins), C Maginn for Brown (44 mins), D Turley for O'Hanlon (57 mins), B O'Hagan for Poland (63 mins), J Murphy for Carr (70 mins).
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).