Mayo have squeaked into the next round of the qualifiers, courtesy of a thrilling extra-time win against Derry in Castlebar. Mayo kicked just 0-10 in the first 67 minutes of this game, with their performance merely a succession of dreadfully errant shooting, mixed with a touch of bad luck and some fine shot-stopping by Derry's madcap 'keeper.
Ultimately, Mayo were rescued by their 20-year-old substitute Conor Loftus, who rifled a stunning goal to the net to put Mayo two points clear. He then extended that lead by floating a stunning point from play over the bar, with Mayo looking like escaping the ambush but for a late equalising goal by Derry.
Ultimately, Mayo's superior fitness saw them pull away comfortably in extra-time, but the game was a lot closer than the final scoreline read.
The story of this game prior to Loftus' dramatic intervention was Mayo's terrible shooting and lack of composure in front of goal, with Ciaran Whelan saying on RTE that their forward play is simply not good enough. That was prior to Loftus, however. He ended up as RTE's Man of the Match, and Mayo fans were all asking the same question: why doesn't he start?
Why is Conor Loftus not starting for Mayo???
— rónánmcevoy. (@ronanmcevoy7) July 1, 2017
68mins on the clock and Loftus delivers 1:01. The bravery of youth shines through. Why not start him? #MayovDerry
— Alan Kelly (@allengaels4) July 1, 2017
Conor loftus must start the next day
— The crying Mayoman (@cursemebollix) July 1, 2017
Conor Loftus is a breath of Fresh air in this Mayo Team.... Needs more game time #MayoGAA
— Ciarán (@Ciaran__McG_) July 1, 2017
If Mayo have found out anything it is Loftus was given a chance, took it and is a definite starter if Mayo get through
— Alan Kenny (@AlanKenny1) July 1, 2017