Donegal 0-13 Mayo 0-13
It was certainly a case of lucky 13 for Mayo as Kevin McLoughlin’s point 20 seconds from the end of normal time was enough to confirm their place in Division 1 for next year at Donegal’s expense.
In front of a crowd of 11,250 in Ballybofey, Donegal will return to the second flight for the first time since 2014 and Declan Bonner’s team will rue a late chance that saw Patrick McBrearty drop a shot short into the hands of David Clarke.
With Andy Moran on form, Mayo were 0-5 to 0-1 in front by the 10th minute, while Conor Loftus would score six points in all.
Donegal, with McBrearty on form, kicked seven points on the bounce to go in at half-time with a 0-9 to 0-6 lead.
Ciaran Thompson, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Michael Murphy and Jamie Brennan all chipped in with scores for the home side, who had to win to maintain their top-flight status.
They looked to be in control of their own fate as with just six minutes left, Donegal were 0-13 to 0-10 ahead.
However, Loftus’ sixth point and a score from Eoin O’Donoghue left the margins at the minimum before McLoughlin’s decisive late point.
Donegal: P McBrearty 0-4, 2f, E Ban Gallagher, J Brennan 0-2, M Murphy 0-2,1f, C Thompson, O MacNiallais, H McFadden 0-1
Mayo: C Loftus 0-6, 5f, A Moran 0-3 K McLoughlin 0-2, J Doherty E O’Donoghue 0-1
Donegal: S Patton; P McGrath, N McGee, E Doherty; P Brennan, L McLoone, E Ban Gallagher; C Thompson, H McFadden; F McGlynn, M Murphy, O Mac Niallais; N O’Donnell, P McBrearty, J Brennan. Subs: M McHugh for O’Donnell (45), S McBrearty for Thompson (58), C Morrison for McGrath (58), C Ward for McGee (61), C Mulligan for Brennan (68).
Mayo: D Clarke; C Crowe, D Drake, E O’Donoghue (0-1); C Boyle, S Coen, P Durcan; S O’Shea, T Parsons; K McLoughlin (0-2), A O’Shea, D O’Connor; J Doherty (0-1), A Moran (0-3), C Loftus (0-6, 5f). Subs: M Hall for Drake (63), F Boland for S O’Shea (65), B Moran for Parsons (68), A Freeman for Doherty (70).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).