Michael Moyles’ charges produced their best performance of the season to beat Castlebar Mitchels, who had already qualified for the knockout stages, by 1-13 to 1-10 at MacHale Park, Castlebar.
The winners’ goal came from the outstanding Cathal Carolan, who also chipped in with a couple of points, while former Mayo star Ciaran McDonald weighed in with a handful of trademark scores.
Brian Benson and Declan Keating also contributed some crucial points.
Stephen Keane scored Castlebar’s goal but, despite the return of ex-Mayo defender Tom Cunniffe from the USA, last year’s beaten finalists were unable to hold out.
The win for the North Mayo side, allied to a draw between Ballinrobe and Kiltane, meant Crossmolina finished as group winners.
That game in Bangor Erris ended in a welter of excitement as Stephen Sweeney converted a wind-assisted 45 in the dying moments to earn Kiltane a 3-5 to 2-8 draw.
The home side had goals from Ultan Corrigan, Sean Carey and Sean Gaughan, while Mervue Utd soccer star Alan Murphy hit 2-7 of Ballinrobe’s tally.
Kiltane now face into the relegation play-offs.
Breaffy and Aghamore will also be fighting for their survival in the top flight next year after they crashed to defeats against Davitts and Shrule-Glencorrib respectively.
Last year’s Mayo intermediate champions, Davitts hammered Breaffy by 1-15 to 0-5 in Ballindine.
Meanwhile in Glencorrib, the locals edged out Aghamore by 0-13 to 1-8 to ensure their survival in the senior ranks.
The Ronaldson brothers, Mark and Eoin, contributed seven points between them while David Geraghty (four) and Kieran Conroy (two) were also on the scoresheet.
Aghamore’s goal came from Colm Caulfield.
Elsewhere, reigning champions Ballintubber encountered no major problems as they maintained their unbeaten record to qualify for the quarter-finals as group winners.
Peter Ford’s team cruised to a 1-14 to 0-5 victory over Claremorris with Mayo’s Jason Gibbons (1-1) and Cillian O’Connor (two) to the fore while Alan Plunkett (four) caught the eye.
Ballaghaderreen maintain their unbeaten record and ensured they finished on top of their group with a deserved four-point win away to Ballina Stephenites.
As a consequence of their 2-8 to 3-9 defeat, Ballina finished bottom of the group and must now face into the relegation play-offs.
The 2005 All-Ireland club champions were without the injured Pat Harte and were unable to stop their recent slide.
Goals from Andy Moran, Barry Regan and Andy Hanley proved crucial for Ballagh’ as the 2008 county champions qualified for the knockout stages.
In the same group, Westport snatched second place by virtue of a comprehensive 0-17 to 0-4 victory at home to Tourmakeady.
The scoring damage was done by Damien Keane, who shot seven points, Lewis Cawley (four) and the outstanding Stephen Broderick (three).