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How Mayo can beat the drop

Sport

FLASHBACK Mayo’s Ciaran McDonald tackles George Doyle of Laois  during their National Football League round 2 match in Graiguecullen, Co Carlow in November of 1998. It was the first of 22 consecutive seasons that Mayo have been in the top-flight of the league. Pic: Sportsfile

Feature

Edwin McGreal

SCENARIO 1
Mayo: Win one and lose one of their last two games. Or draw both.
Total points: 5
Other results: Mayo need Donegal, currently on five points, to lose at home to Tyrone and away to Kerry and also need to bridge a huge gulf of a 33 points scoring difference gap as the head-to-head is not a factor due to the fact the teams drew in the opening round.
Were Monaghan, also on five points as of now, to lose both games as well, it would make the scoring difference gap to them more attainable. There is still a considerable 17 points gap to bridge there. Were Donegal to pick up points — and just Mayo and Monaghan tied on five points — Mayo would be relegated on head to head after their defeat in Clones.
Chances: Somewhere between slim and none.

SCENARIO 2
Mayo: Beat Galway and draw with Tyrone
Total points: 6
Other results: If either Donegal (home to Tyrone, away to Kerry) or Monaghan (home to Kerry, away to Meath) lost both their final two games, Mayo would be safe on six points. Should Donegal pick up one more point, the same unlikely scoring difference gap as outlined in box one would need to be bridged, ditto with Monaghan joining both teams on six points. Theoretically, Dublin could also end up on six points but only in the extremely unlikely scenario of them losing to both Meath and Galway. Tyrone will go to seven points and safety with a draw with Mayo.  
Chances: The most likely way this can keep Mayo safe would be for Donegal to lose both games which is not impossible, but unlikely.

SCENARIO 3
Mayo: Draw with Galway and beat Tyrone
Total points: 6
Other results: This differs from box two as it potentially brings Tyrone into the equation. If the red hand men lose in Donegal and then Mayo turn them over in Castlebar, they will be stuck on six points with Mayo and Mayo would overtake them in head-to-head if it is only two teams on six points and on scoring difference if it is three or more.
Mayo are currently one point behind Tyrone in scoring difference, and a draw and a win for Mayo, combined with a scenario where Tyrone lose both games, would see Mayo automatically overtake them on scoring difference.
Tyrone winning in Donegal would require Mayo needing Kerry to beat Donegal in the final game to stay up. Were Monaghan to remain on five points, Mayo would be safe on six points. An unlikely scoring difference swing would be needed if Mayo were tied on six points with Donegal and Monaghan.
Chances: More likely than box two because it brings Tyrone into the equation. Should Mayo draw in Salthill and Tyrone lose in Donegal, Mayo’s fate would be within their own control again.

SCENARIO 4
Mayo: Beat Galway and Tyrone
Total points: 7
Other results: In theory Mayo can catch any of the five teams directly above them if they get to seven points but the reality is that Tyrone and Donegal are the two teams most likely to be in Mayo’s firing line.
Two wins, combined with Donegal beating Tyrone, keeps Mayo safe. Two wins also keeps Mayo safe if Donegal and Tyrone draw because of the head to head and scoring difference consequences as outlined in box three as Tyrone would be on seven points if they draw their next game. Therefore, Tyrone failing to win in Donegal puts Mayo in control of their destiny going into the final game if they win in Salthill.
However, Tyrone winning in Donegal will leave Mayo relying on other results. It would mean Tyrone would be safe and not having the same need for a result in Castlebar but it would also mean Mayo hoping Kerry would, at the least, draw with Donegal in Tralee.
Monaghan would end up below Mayo if they only pick up one point or less in their final two games.
Should Donegal lose to Tyrone and beat Kerry, this would also leave them on seven points and a considerable scoring gap would have to be bridged. If Monaghan enter the equation on seven points with Mayo and Donegal, the gap is still considerable in scoring difference terms. As stated in other scenarios, if it is just Mayo and Monaghan locked together in joint second last, Mayo go down on head to head.
Chances: Naturally, two wins gives Mayo the best possible chance. It will keep them up if Donegal beat Tyrone next time out. A draw between Donegal and Tyrone will be enough for Mayo to stay up if they win both games. Tyrone beating Donegal leaves Mayo relying on results from elsewhere going their way or an extremely unlikely scoring difference swing.

 
3 key questions

Can Mayo be relegated in Salthill?
YES. Mayo will be relegated to Division 2 if they lose in Salthill and Donegal get a result against Tyrone.

How long are Mayo in Division 1?
MAYO have played in Division 1 for 22 consecutive seasons, every season since the 1998/99 year when they competed in Division 1A after the leagues were restructured. They had played in Section A the previous season, 1997/98, which saw teams split evenly across divisions ahead of the restructuring the following year. The previous season, 1996/97, Mayo were in Division 2 and had to beat Clare in a relegation play-off in Tuam to avoid relegation to Division 3.

When were Mayo last relegated?
MAYO were relegated from Division 2 to Division 3 in the 1994/95 season but bounced back up in the 1995/96 season. Ironically their final game of the campaign in which they were last relegated was against Tyrone, who will be Mayo’s last opponents in this year’s campaign.

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