Both sides get out of jail as fans gear up for final replay
Published 19/09/2016 | 02:30
In one of the most bizarre finals in recent history, both Dublin and Mayo supporters left Croke Park with a similar feeling - relief.
In a topsy-turvy game of anarchic intensity, both sets of fans were just happy to leave the stadium knowing that they'll have another shot at glory.
It was a case of 'we got out of jail' for Mayo, who scored late to equalise, but Dublin played so poorly that they'll think it can only get better in two weeks' time.
'Memory man' Jimmy Magee said it was "a strange game".
But his grandson backed the draw.
"I came to the match with him and he said, 'I backed the draw today' - I said, 'You must be joking'," he said.
"I think Mayo might have left the game behind them.
"After today, how can you go with anything (predicting the replay)," he added.
Minister Michael Ring, a Mayo man, agreed with Magee.
"We left it behind us, I thought in the last few minutes we might sneak it," he said.
"Now we were lucky to get a draw in the end but I thought today was going to be our day," he added.
Vinnie O'Reilly from Westport said if someone offered him a replay at half time - when five points down - he would have bitten their hand off.
He said the mood in Mayo would be subdued but very hopeful for a win the next day.
"I think we were lucky to draw," he said.
"It's all to play for the next day. It'll be a drier day and we'll see what happens.
"I'm more hopeful now (for the replay) than I was going into this game.
"I think we can match them and we can beat them the next day," he added.
Robbie Lupton, from Inchicore in Dublin, said the Dubs would live to fight another day.
"We got out of jail," he said. "We can't play as bad again.
"There's always a worry (about tickets) for the replay, but we got them for this one, so hopefully we'll get them again," he added.
While the replay offers both sides another crack in two weeks' time, it does make travel arrangements a lot more complicated for both sets of supporters.
None more so than Seamus McHugh (31), originally from Castlebar, who travelled all the way from Thailand to see his beloved Green and Red attempt to scratch their 65-year itch for All-Ireland success.
"I just came back. I'm living in Thailand the last five years," he said.
"I'm supposed to be flying out in the morning, but not now, I won't be going back for another two weeks.
"I'll cancel work, whatever, I'll wait," he added.
Meanwhile, Matt Mooney (30) and his partner Janice Lowry (29) from Raheny are season ticket holders, but had been due to fly out the day of the replay for Matt's birthday.
Not any more, they explained.
"We'll have to change our flights, we're not too happy about that," Janice explained.
"We'd rather be here, we're going to do it all over again - they'll definitely win it in the replay," she added.
Glasnevin man Declan Bolger is involved with Ballymun Kickhams, who had four players - Dean Rock, John Small, Philly McMahon and James McCarthy - in the Dublin team.
"It's huge for the community, it's massive for the whole area," he said.
"To have four lads from the club representing your county is unbelievable," he added.
His son David (19) was involved with the Dublin under-21 team this year.
Despite his mum being from Mayo, he admits it would have been difficult to take a defeat.
And he feared the worst, when there was confusion over whether Mayo were getting a free kick in the dying seconds of the match.
Thankfully for him, the decision went in Dublin's favour.
"It was nerve-racking," David said. "My nerves were shattered.
"I thought they were going to give a free in at the end there and I would have been out the door if Mayo had won.
"My mother is from Mayo, but I wouldn't be able to stand them winning," he added.
So, while there were 31 counties in Ireland backing the westerners to end their drought in Croker, supporters in blue were certainly not in the business of showing any mercy.