Manager Brian McIver rages as Derry slip up against Mayo
Derry 1-13 Mayo 2-12
Derry manager Brian McIver blasted the performance of referee Ciaran Branagan after his side's defeat by Mayo at Celtic Park left their survival hopes in tatters.
McIver, who complained bitterly about the performance of David Coldrick in his side's derby with Tyrone last weekend, was visibly annoyed after the game.
"I'm disgusted. Not taking anything from Mayo but they got a jammy goal and every decision going," claimed the Oak Leaf boss.
His side lost James Kielt to a black card for dissent in the final few moments, not long after Mayo's Mark Ronaldson had been sent to the line for pulling down Kevin Johnston.
The frustration was visible in the Derry players during the second half as they complained time and again at the Down official's decisions, with Mark Lynch vocal in querying how Barry Moran had escaped a card after chopping him down as he bore down on goal.
"With James Kielt, we got men around and they got a free and we got a black card. They do the same with us and it's a free out for overcarrying. How do you work that one out?" added McIver.
Derry had produced their best display of the campaign but were ultimately beaten by Mikey Sweeney's last-minute goal. Brian Óg McGilligan's fisted effort seconds later proved only a consolation.
When Sweeney netted, the table-toppers led by 2-12 to 0-13 after they'd been pushed to the pin of their collars. The Oak Leafers built up a head of steam, led by the introduction of Kielt, and hit four points to pull themselves level at 0-13 to 1-10.
But the next two scores crucially went to Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly's side. Kevin McLoughlin's pace took him away to rifle over before he pointed a free. Derry reacted furiously to its award.
Derry planted Aidan McAlynn as a sweeper and Carlus McWilliams dropped back to double up. It wasn't quite the 15 men in their own half, but they did their best to make life difficult for Holmes' side. Mayo's transition from defence to attack was fluid. They posted Aidan O'Shea inside in the first half and he proved an able ball-winner, and notched two scores from play for himself.
Mayo led 1-7 to 0-6 at the break, but it was a fairly insignificant advantage given the strength of the breeze they'd enjoyed.
Derry found their groove and got themselves level. But in the end, the absence of Fergal Doherty told as Mayo were able to win crucial ball.
Sweeney's goal was enough to keep them level with Cork and set up a big clash with Dublin.
DERRY: E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, D McBride; B Óg McAlary (0-1), K Johnston, SL McGoldrick; M Craig (0-1), B Óg McGilligan (1-0); C McWilliams, M Lynch (0-2f), E Lynn; D McKinless, B Heron (0-4, 0-2f, 0-2 45'), A McAlynn. Subs: M McIver for McAlynn (31), J Kielt (0-4, 0-3f) for McKinless (HT), E McGuckin for McAlary (48), T O'Brien (0-1) for McWilliams (57), S Brady for Kielt (black card, 68)
MAYO: K O'Malley; T Cunniffe, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, G Cafferky, C Boyle; S O'Shea, D Kirby; K McLoughlin (0-2, 0-1f), A O'Shea (0-3), M Forde; M Ronaldson (1-2), C O'Connor (0-4, 0-3f), J Doherty (0-1). Subs: A Dillon for Forde (48), B Moran for Kirby (55), A Freeman for O'Connor (61), D Drake for Cafferky (61), M Sweeney (1-0) for Ronaldson (black card, 65)
Referee: C Branagan (Down)