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the big drop Mayo relegated for first time in 23 years as McKenna turns on the style


A dejected Mayo side leave the field after the county were relegated to Division Two football

A dejected Mayo side leave the field after the county were relegated to Division Two football


A dejected Mayo side leave the field after the county were relegated to Division Two football

Mayo lost their top flight football league status for the first time in 23 years as they felt the full force of Conor McKenna in Castlebar.

McKenna, in only his second competitive game since returning from AFL, hit 2-2 and laid on Darragh Canavan, making his league debut, for a third goal with a most magnificent long pass.

But the home side went down fighting after falling nine points behind at one stage in the first half, as they faced into a strong wind and some of their younger players struggled with Tyrone's physicality.

In the end, Tyrone did enough, with McKenna setting up Darren McCurry and then converting a free that were effectively insurance scores as Mayo went down fighting, with half-time substitute Ryan O'Donoghue making a huge impact.

Mayo had two good goal chances themselves in the opening half when Tommy Conroy straightened to put Bryan Walsh in but the half-forward kicked tamely into Niall Morgan's arms after only five minutes.

Later on, Darren Coen was put through and should have been more from the opportunity but the ball skidded across Morgan's goalmouth and wide.

Tyrone weren't nearly as wasteful when those opportunities presented at the other end. Off another lengthy kick-out and subsequent scramble for possession, Mattie Donnelly toe-poked to McKenna who stepped back inside on to his left shot and beat David Clarke at his near post for a 1-5 to 0-4 lead on 21 minutes.

It was 2-9 to 0-7 at the break and the game looked to have been tied up when McKenna intercepted a short Clarke kick-out and hammered home a third goal.

But Mayo kept pressing and were rewarded on 58 minutes when Conroy, in scintillating form, turned Liam Rafferty to put pressure on the visitors to leave just three in it, 3-11 to 1-14.

But Tyrone held their nerve down the home straight despite Conor Meyler being black-carded five minutes from time.

SCORERS: Tyrone: C McKenna 2-2 (0-1f), D Canavan 1-1, D McCurry 0-4 (3fs), P Harte 0-3, M Donnelly 0-2, K McGeary, M McKernan (m) 0-1 each. Mayo: T Conroy 1-3, D Coen 0-5 (3fs), J Durcan 0-3 (3fs), D O'Connor (1f), R O'Donoghue (1m) 0-2 each, C Loftus, E McLoughlin, P Durcan, M Ruane all 0-1 each.

TEAMS - Tyrone - N Morgan; L Rafferty, R McNamee, HP McGeary; T McCann, M O'Neill, M McKernan; M Donnelly, B Kennedy; K McGeary, C McKenna, C Meyler; D McCurry, P Harte, D Canavan. Subs: F Burns for O'Neill (29) inj, K Coney for Kennedy (49), N Sludden for Canavan (63), N Kelly for HP McGeary (66), R O'Neill for McCurry (76)
Mayo - D Clarke; O Mullin, S Coen, L Keegan; P Durcan, K McLoughlin, E McLoughlin; M Ruane, C Loftus; D O'Connor, M Moran, B Walsh; T Conroy, A O'Shea, D Coen. Subs: R O'Donoghue for Moran (h-t), F McDonagh for Walsh (h-t), J Durcan for Coen (55), P O'Hora for McLoughlin (55), P Towey for E McLoughlin (75)

Referee - N Cullen (Fermanagh)

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