National Football League: Mayo 1-13 Down 3-7
Parading no fewer than 11 of the side that lost to Cork in last year's All-Ireland final, Down looked in a strong position when they led Mayo by five points entering the final quarter of this first-round clash at McHale Park, Castlebar, on Saturday evening.
However, Mayo's new manager, James Horan, appears to have stirred something in the psyche of Mayo football as his side clawed their way back from arrears, which, at one stage, stood at seven points. In the end, a late point from Andy Moran earned his side a deserved draw.
James McCartan's men were boosted by a rather fortuitous goal when Martin Clarke's '45' found the back of the Mayo net.
Benny Coulter opened a gap for the second of the Clarke brothers, John, to crack home a superb goal.
This was extended to seven by Martin Clarke, before a fine run by Alan Freeman ended with a cracking goal.
Conor Maginn nailed Down’s third goal.
However, the visitors could only manage one more point for the rest of the game.
Points from Andy Moran, Freeman, Kevin McLoughlin and Moran brought Mayo to within a point, but the score of the match proved to be the leveller from Enda Varley,
Down replied, Maginn scoring what appeared to be the winner. But Moran earned a share of the spoils with the leveller and Down can have few complaints.
Scorers: Mayo: A Moran 0-6 (3f), A Freeman 1-1, M Ronaldson 0-3, E Varley, K McLoughlin, A Dillon 0-1 each.
Down: M Clarke 1-3 (2f) J Clarke 1-1, C Maginn 1-1, D Hughes 0-2.
MAYO: K O'Malley, T Cunniffe, C Hallinan, K Higgins, R Feeney, G Cafferkey, K McLoughlin, R. McGarrity, J. Gibbons, A. Moran, A. O'Shea, A Dillon, E. Varley, A. Freeman, M Ronaldson. Subs: P Gardiner for Feeney (45), N Douglas for Ronaldson (45), T Parsons for J Gibbons (56), C O Connor for A Freeman (63).
DOWN: B McVeigh, A Brannigan, D Gordon, L Howard, G McCartan, K McKiernan, P McPolin, P Fitzpatrick, K King, D Hughes, M Polan, M Clarke, P McComiksey, J Clarke, B Coulter. Subs: C McGinn for C King (47), R Murtagh for J Clarke (49), P Morney for P McPolin (61).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).