Mayo through at Cork's expense

Cork 0-11 Mayo 0-16, Pairc Ui Chaoimh

Cork 0-11 Mayo 0-16, Pairc Ui Chaoimh

Mayo got the required result as they qualified for the Allianz NFL Division 1 final by defeating fellow finalists Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

John O’Mahony's men, who finished top of the table, pulled clear in the second half with points from Alan Dillon, Conor Mortimer, Andy Moran and Aidan O'Shea.

The sides were level at 0-7 apiece at half-time, with Kevin McMahon, Donncha O'Connor and Colm O'Neill scoring for Cork.

But Mayo were much more eager in the second period, hoping to pip Dublin to a final spot with Cork already having qualified, and the five-point margin was just about right in the end.

Cork welcomed back team captain Graham Canty from a leg injury for his first league appearance, but Anthony Lynch and Michael Shields were not fit to start.

Mayo also tweaked their starting line-up, with leading scorer Enda Varley failing a fitness test on his hamstring and Mark Ronaldson joining the attack. Ger Cafferkey and Chris Barrett also started, with a knee injury ruling Keith Higgins out.

The game was only 29 seconds' old when Alan Dillon pointed Mayo in front and the Connacht champions kept ahead with two more frees from Dillon and a well-struck effort from Conor Mortimer.

Cork's Fintan Goold was denied a goal by a solid save from David Clarke, but Goold did launch over a point soon after following a neat catch and shimmy.

Cork hit three points on the bounce as McMahon pointed from play and O'Connor and O'Neill landed frees from both flanks.

There was little sign of urgency from both sides at this point, but some good work by Aidan O'Shea set up a levelling point for Mortimer.

Cork nosed back in front with two points from play from John Hayes, but efforts from corner back Barrett and midfielder Seamus O'Shea brought Mayo level for half-time at 0-7 apiece.

Canty did not appear for the second half, with Cork manager Conor Counihan undoubtedly mindful of the final in two weeks' time.

The Bantry Blues clubman went on a powerful run before the break but shipped a heavy shoulder challenge which led to him being replaced.

It is doubtful if Canty's presence on the pitch would have made a difference in the second period, as Mayo were able to dominate for long stretches, taking their points well.

They opened with three successive efforts from Ronaldson, Moran and Mortimer. Mayo's growing hunger was obvious, with O'Mahony's half-time words obviously having an effect.

Ciaran Sheehan stopped the rot for Cork, but further scores from Moran and the impressive Dillon left the Rebels 0-12 to 0-8 adrift.

There was no sign of a comeback from Counihan's men as they played out the remaining minutes in lacklustre fashion, and with one definite eye on the divisional decider.

Two points from Aidan O'Shea took his side's tally to 0-15 and were arguably the highlights of a slow-burning final quarter, as Mayo made it through to their first league final since 2007.

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