Armagh Minors' Championship journey came to a crushing end in yesterday's first installment of a triple header in Croke Park.
Defending All-Ireland Minor Champions Mayo possessed too much craft and ingenuity up front and two second half goals in quick succession blew Armagh's hopes out of the water.
Despite suffering the heavy defeat, with 17 members of the panel available to return to Minors next season, the experience in Croke Park should stand to the Armagh players and Orchard Minor manager Paul Doyle had no qualms about the result.
"Mayo were the better team, there is no point in making excuses but we are proud of our lads and we have told them that," said Doyle.
Armagh grabbed the first point with a fine strike from Crossmaglen's Oisin O'Neill with 16 seconds played but after 20 minutes of a tight tussle where scores went tit for tat, with Mayo's Matthew Ruane, Gary Boylan and the lively Cian Hanley (2) trading scores with Armagh's Ryan McKeown, Ryan Hughes and Jarlath Og Burns, the Westerners took control.
First Barry Duffy's point edged Mayo in front but Fionan Duffy's goal, after Hanley supplied the pass, bridged the gap on the scoreboard and Brian Reape tagged on another score to give Mayo a 1-06 to 0-04 lead at half-time.
There was to be no rousing comeback from Armagh. Instead Mayo turned the screw as Fionan Duffy hit two quick points before Reape bagged two goals in as many minutes, the first after a looping pass from Hanley and the second a close-range strike after Armagh's mix up in defence.
Armagh did respond with fine points from captain Caolan McConville, O'Neill and substitute Conor Grimley to close the gap to 0-9 to 3-10 with 52 minutes played but Mayo held firm and rallied late with Hanley and substitutes Conor Byrne and Oisin Horan all scoring.
Armagh can be content with reaching the last eight stage, while Mayo will face the winners of Kerry against Kildare, who play today.
ARMAGH: R Kearney, F Quinn, A Rushe, C Donnelly, P Judge, C McKinney, C McMcNicholl, J Og Burns (0-1), R McKeown (0-1), J Rafferty, O O'Neill (0-4, 3 frees), K Mallon, R Hughes (0-1, free), S Conlon and C McConville (0-1). Subs: C Cullen for McKeown ht', C Grimley (0-1) for Conlon 41', C Higgins for Judge 45', C Murphy for McNicholl 47', P Quinn for Hughes 55'.
MAYO: M Flanagan, C Kilkenny, S Cunniffe, E O'Donoghue, J Forkan, B Duffy (0-1), S Conlon, G Walsh, M Ruane (0-1), G Boylan (0-1), Cian Hanley (0-4, 2 frees), S Akram, Fionan Duffy (1-2, 1 free), TJ Byrne (0-1) and Brian Reape (2-1). Subs: C Byrne (0-1) for Boylan 38', S Brennan for Kilkenny 45', D Clarke for Forkan 50', L Byrne for F Duffy 55, O Horan (0-1) for Ruane 58'.