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Mayo 1-19 Down 1-16

Sunday 3rd April 2016

Mayo preserved their top-flight status with a hard-earned 1-19 to 1-16 victory over Down at Castlebar.

The Mourne County were already relegated and, despite a spirited display this afternoon, finish their campaign with the wooden spoon, while Stephen Rochford’s men stay up courtesy of score difference, having finished level on the final league table with Monaghan, Donegal and Cork. All four teams have six points but the Rebels go down due to their terrible scoring average.

Evan Regan (two frees), Alan Freeman, Chris Barrett and Aidan O’Shea had the hosts 0-5 to 0-1 ahead and Cillian O’Connor’s 20th-minute penalty goal left six between them, 1-7 to 0-4, but Down were within touching distance at the short whistle – 1-9 to 0-10 – thanks to scores from Donal O’Hare, Darragh O’Hanlon, Mark Poland and Peter Turley.

With the wind at their backs, the winners pointed through O’Connor (2) and Regan upon the restart and further scores from O’Connor (2), Regan and Jason Doherty left seven points between the teams at the three-quartes stage, 1-16 to 0-12.

Down kept plugging away and O’Hare’s goal two minutes from the end had the gap back to the minimum and Mayo suddenly in danger of relegation. But late points from veteran Andy Moran and Regan - his ninth - saw them home.