Aidan O'Shea's has hailed the character of his Mayo teammates following their dramatic draw against Donegal, which ensures they will retain their Division 1 status for 2019.

Mayo were chasing the game for large portions of the contest but Kevin McLoughlin snatched an equalising point at the death in Ballybofey to produce a 0-13 0-13 result which protects Mayo from relegation, while Donegal drop to Division 2.

Stephen Rochford's side were dealt a double blow earlier this week when it was announced that team captain Cillian O'Connor and Lee Keegan were ruled out of this fixture through injury. Mayo however, managed to survive against a tough Donegal side in their absence.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport after the game, O'Shea highlighted the importance of Mayo maintaining their longstanding presence in Division 1 and praised his teammates for the resolve they showed when the game looked to be slipping away from them. 

"People know what we're like at this stage, it's hard to keep us down especially when our backs are against the wall. I'm just delighted for a lot of the younger lads today because people are saying we're not bringing through players but you look at the likes of Stephen Coen, Eoin O'Donoghue, Conor Loftus -- those guys really stood up today. 

 "[They're] All-Ireland U21 and minor winners and delighted on this stage today, they were the men that drove us on.

"We've been around the block, we wouldn't like to see ourselves drop into Division 2 and you can see that by our performance levels today. We really dug it out towards the end and thankfully Kevin got that one over the bar.

"We knew Donegal in Ballybofey was going to be a tough game. We wanted to get a good start and we did that. Unfortunately we let that slip very quickly with seven points on the bounce to Donegal. But they're a really good side, we know that."

Mayo will now turn their attentions to the Connacht SFC, where they will prepare to renew their rivalry with Galway in the provincial quarter-final on 13 May.

Mayo have struggled against their neighbours in their last three meetings across the league and championship

Cillian O'Connor is expected to recover from a torn hamstring in time for that fixture which will be a boost for Mayo, but O'Shea acknowledges that they will need to adopt a different approach for the clash in MacHale Park this time around.

"They beat us in the last three games and we know what's ahead of us on 13 May. It's not nice to be losing to your neighbours and definitely not three times on the bounce in competitive football.

"We know it's going to be a tough challenge in MacHale Park. What we've done in the last couple of years simply hasn't been good enough against them so we need to come up with something different and we need to be ready for that game."