Down manager Eamon Burns said he was proud of the spirited performance his men produced at McHale Park in Castlebar to force Mayo to dig deep for the win which ensured their survival in the top flight.
Down may have been relegated before this clash but that wasn't apparent as they battled superbly throughout.
Burns feels this will fuel them as they prepare for start of the Ulster championship against Monaghan in eight weeks.
He said: "Very encouraging performance from our fellas. They battled really hard."
Mayo were full of running and quickly opened up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after just six minutes.
Mayo led by 1-9 to 0-10 at the break after Cillian O'Connor fired home a 20th minute penalty.
Two more Evan Regan points and one apiece from Jason Doherty and O'Connor pushed Mayo 1-16 to 0-12 in front going into the final quarter
But Down rallied again. Dornan got a second point and David McKibbin and Donal O'Hare cut the gap to four with 11 minutes remaining. Regan eased the home fans' nerves with another free before Down's Donal O'Hare burst through to rattle the net to leave just a point between in stoppage time but Mayo secured the win with points from Andy Moran and Regan.
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrison, K Keane, C Barrett 0-1; L Keegan, C Boyle, S Nally; T Parsons, S O'Shea; C O'Shea, A O'Shea 0-1, J Doherty 0-1; A Freeman 0-2, E Regan 0-9 (0-7f), C O'Connor 1-4 (1-0pen, 0-4f).
Subs: P Durcan for Barrett (28m), A Dillon for Freeman (58m), B Moran for S O'Shea (58m), C Carolan for C O'Shea (63m), A Moran 0-1 for O'Connor (65m).
Yellow cards: C Barrett (25m)
Down: M Cunningham 0-2 (0-2f); D O'Hagan, G Collins, G McGovern; D McKibbon 0-1, A Carr, D O'Hanlon 0-1; P Turley 0-1, H Brown; M Poland 0-1, R Mallon 0-1, K McKernan 0-1; C McGovern, S Dornan 0-2, D O'Hare 1-5 (0-5f).
Subs: P Devlin 0-1 for Mallon (41m), C Maginn for Brown (44m), D Turley for O'Hanlon (57m), B O'Hagan for Poland (63m), J Murphy for Carr (70m).
Yellow cards: D McKibbon (50m), G Collins (51m)
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan)