Derry 2-15 Mayo 1-15
Fourteen-man Derry have reached the Allianz National Football League Division One final after defeating Mayo in a thrilling semi-final at Croke Park this afternoon.
Leading by a single point at half-time, Derry came from behind with less than five minutes on the clock to win a game, the result of was in doubt up until the final kick.
Both managers made changes from the starting line-ups to last week’s league encounter, Brian McIver making 13 changes while James Horan five, brought in Brendan Harrison, Lee Keegan, Aidan O’Shea, Jason Gibbons and Kevin McLoughlin for Kevin Keane, Shane McHale, Tom Parsons, Seamus O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor respectively.
Brian McIver’s side had to play the entire second period with a man less after Fergal Doherty’s dismissal for a second yellow card in the 25th minute.
Mayo raced into a two point lead after only four minutes before Mark Lynch put over a free for Derry’s first score in the sixth.
After Alan Freeman had restored Mayo’s two point lead, points by Ciaran McFaul and Emmett McGuckin saw Derry level the scores in the 12th minute.
However, Mayo regained the lead almost immediately before Cailean O’Boyle found the back of the net in the 14th minute after great work by Lynch to put Derry ahead for the first time.
Fergal Doherty restored the two point lead in the 22nd minute after Mayo had reduced the lead.
However, a minute later a quick Mayo break after Derry had lost possession deep in the opposition half resulted in Andy Moran firing past Mallon to put Mayo back in the lead with 23 minutes gone on a scoreline of 1-5 to 1-04.
Following Doherty’s dismissal, Derry levelled through Lynch but Mayo responded straight away to restore the single point lead.
Sean Leo McGoldrick brought Derry level four minutes from the break but great point from play a minute later by Sweeney put Mayo back in front.
Two Mark Lynch points, one a 25 yard free, put Derry back in the lead by one in the the first minute of injury time.
Benny Herron missed the chance to increase the lead when he curled a free just wide with the last kick of the half.
Derry emerged for the second half with Mark Lynch in midfield in place of Doherty but the Westerners, as they did in the first period, put over two early points to lead by one with 37 minutes gone.
After Cailean O’Boyle had brought Derry level again in 39th minute, points from Doherty, Freeman and Gibbons swung the game Mayo’s way.
Keeper Mallon kept Derry in the game when he brilliantly saved Vaughan’s attempt on goal.
The save boosted Derry as, almost immediately, Kevin Johnston brought them level when he fisted to the net in the 51st minute after being set up by Sean Leo McGoldrick.
Freeman and Farley points were counteracted by two Mark Lynch frees to see the sides level on 2-11 to 1-14 with ten minutes to go.
Thomas Mallon pulled off another great save to push a Keegan shot away for a 45 which Freeman duly converted to put Mayo one point in front with just five minutes left.
However, Enda Lynn, Mark Lynch and Paddy Bradley pointed to put Derry three in front deep into injury time.
Moran went for goal from a free to draw Mayo level but his effort, the last of the game, went over the bar.