Rock tips arm-wrestle in Dubs' favour to leave Rochford era stuck in neutral
Dublin 0-9 Mayo 0-7
At the same venue last season the two teams shared a total of 34 points, but last night less than half that tally saw Dublin to their second win of their Division 1 campaign at MacHale Park.
Four points from Dean Rock saw Jim Gavin's side to victory and the next time Dublin take to the field against Monaghan in three weeks' time they will just be a few days short of an unbeaten year in all league and championship football.
Colm Boyle and John Small both received second yellow cards in injury-time after two separate rows broke out in the 75th minute, but Dublin held on for their second win with ease.
Without the recently injured Kevin McLoughlin and Lee Keegan, the depth of Stephen Rochford's Mayo squad was severely tested at MacHale Park. But in the early stages - despite playing into a howling gale and sheeting rain - Mayo showed they had the appetite for the battle, and their hunger for contact early on was encouraging.
And their cause was significantly aided in the third minute when Dublin's Philly McMahon - himself a late call up to the starting 15 - was black-carded when he cut across the run of Aidan O'Shea and tripped the Mayo player.
A minute later Diarmuid O'Connor fisted the opening score for Mayo after Robbie Hennelly's free dropped short, but it wasn't until Rock, Diarmuid Connolly and Paul Mannion had registered wides that Rock kicked Dublin's first after a foul on James McCarthy.
A poor wide from the otherwise outstanding Jason Doherty at one end was followed by a point at the other from Connolly as Dublin took the lead after 20 minutes, but the home side levelled two minutes later when Evan Regan blasted over the bar.
A super interception from Caolan Crowe in defence for Mayo launched the attack that saw Hennelly score from a 45 to give Mayo a one-point lead after 27 minutes, but points from Denis Bastick and a Rock 45 gave Dublin a 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the interval.
A fine point from O'Connor levelled the game in the 43rd minute as Mayo settled well with the wind at their back, but Dublin's inevitable purple patch came. Rock landed frees in the 46th and 48th minutes, and in between James McCarthy finished off a terrific move.
In such a low-scoring tussle a three-point lead was something to defend and Dublin began to retain possession as the clock ticked away.
A free from Regan cut that lead to two points with 15 minutes remaining and five minutes later Mayo's chance for victory came.
Aidan O'Shea found himself one against one on the edge of the Dublin square, but it was for the briefest of moments as two other covering Dubliners crowded him out. Mayo's and O'Shea's chance was gone.
Scorers - Dublin: D Rock 0-4 (3f, 1'45), D Connolly, D Bastick, J McCarthy, C Costello, E O Conghaile 0-1 each. Mayo: E Regan 0-3 (2f), D O'Connor, R Hennelly (2'45) 0-2.
Mayo: R Hennelly; G Cafferkey, C Crowe, B Harrison; C Boyle, M Hall, S Nally; T Parsons, A O'Shea; D O'Connor, D Vaughan, C O'Shea; E Regan, J Doherty, M Sweeney. Subs: J Gibbons for Parsons (h-t), D Drake for Vaughan (43), K Higgins for Hall (45), C Carolan for Sweeney (58), D McHale for C O'Shea (66), S McHale for Nally (71).
Dublin: S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, J Cooper, David Byrne; J McCarthy, P McMahon, J Small; D Bastick, E O Conghaile; T Brady, C Kilkenny, D Connolly; D Rock, P Mannion, P Andrews. Subs: J McCaffrey for McMahon (3 BC), S Carthy for Bastick (h-t), C Reddin for Brady (47), C Costello for Mannion (45), P Ryan for Andrews (66), D Daly for Cooper (71 BC).
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).
Sunday Indo Sport