Second half surge from Dublin blows Mayo away after epic encounter
Dublin 3-15 Mayo 1-14
Published 05/09/2015 | 18:39
When Lee Keegan went scything through the Dublin defence in the 43rd minute of this absorbing All-Ireland quarter-final after an incisive move involving Aidan O'Shea, Keith Higgins and Jason Doherty, the surge of momentum behind him was electrifying.
Mayo had scored their only goal through Cillian O'Connor to lead by four points and there was a sense that Dublin were really on the rack at that stage.
Nail it and they might well have been looking at end-game.
Keegan, normally efficient in such situations, dropped his kick short in Stephen Cluxton's arms however and the momentum was lost.
Straight away the ball was transferred out of the danger zone and into Mayo territory where Chris Barrett appeared to have made a perfectly legitimate challenge on Paddy Andrews but instead had a free awarded against him.
Dean Rock obliged and Dublin drew welcome breath.
It may not have felt like the moment this replay shifted direction at the time but it was.
From that point on Dublin swept to a glorious victory, fueled by the impact of Alan Brogan, Michael Darragh MacAuley, Mick Fitzsimons and Kevin McManamon off the bench.
It took a little bit of luck mixed with a touch of genius to really turn things their way as the game entered the last quarter.
Mayo substitute Patrick Durcan and James McCarthy traded points before Alan Brogan put Brian Fenton into space behind the Mayo cover in the 55th minute.
Fenton screwed his attempt across the goal but Bernard Brogan's instinctive reaction was to poke it home at close range.
It looked simple, it looked even fortunate but to control a ball as he did coming at that pace and at such short range took real skill and Dublin were level, 1-12 each.
After that they simply soared in confidence and never looked like losing.
Mayo lost three consecutive kick-outs, one of which led to that Brogan goal, and the control that Mayo seemed to have in the third quarter evaporated.
Bernard Brogan wriggled some room for himself along the end line and somehow managed to get a fist pass across the Mayo goalmouth where corner-back Philly McMahon was on hand to bat him home just a minute later.
There was a hint of an illegal pass from Brogan but Eddie Kinsella consulted his officials and allowed the goal to stand.
With Paddy Andrews and McMahon, Dublin's strongest contenders for "man of the match" pouring through for further points Mayo were on the receiving end of a nine point swing in just 10 minutes, having led by four points after Durcan's 53rd minute.
From that there was no recovery.
For good measure McManamon did his usual party piece with another goal off the bench in the 66th minute when less ambitious players might have opted for a point. But the place was surging with volts by then and there's no better man to plug into that mood that the much heralded supersub.
For Mayo there will be huge regret that they didn't protect their lead better but they were emptied by the end, over run by a team full of running and ambitious attacking. Dublin simply poured through gaps.
Seamus O'Shea was black-carded in the 38th minute for throwing Jonny Cooper to the ground off the ball after Cooper had barged into him and that looked like a blow to Mayo.
But O'Shea's replacement, Andy Moran made a quick impact, winning a free off Cooper for O'Connor to convert before making the vital incision off a Tom Parsons delivery for O'Connor to finish deftly from close range and give the Connacht champions a four-point lead early in the second half.
It was a compelling first half, the sides level on seven different occasions without ever mirroring the cynicism of the drawn game.
Wearing No.18 Connolly never really managed to make an impact after his three successive nights in the committee rooms that eventually led to his suspension for the match being set aside in that opening period but there plenty of other Dublin forwards willing to pick up the mantle again, Paddy Andrews especially who knocked over four points to give Keith Higgins a torrid time with Ciaran Kilkenny adding two.
Mayo started Barry Moran and he was on the mark early with a long range point and that was essentially Mayo's best weapon with Diarmuid and Cillian O'Connor picking off impressively from distance as Dublin threw numbers behind the ball to defend.
Mayo twice led by two points in that opening half but Dublin never really allowed Aidan O'Shea to make his mark until late on when he picked off a point after a Cian O'Sullivan error and was then awarded a free off the ball for an apparent foul by his marker Philly McMahon which Eddie Kinsella spotted and Cillian O'Connor converted just before the break to make it 0-10 each.
Mayo never managed to keep the pressure on Stephen Cluxton that reaped so much reward six days earlier with Cluxton finding the target for all bar one of his kick-outs.
With Rory O'Carroll back in harness McMahon handled O'Shea well and Mayo missed a trick by allowing the Ballymun man to get forward to hit 1-2 and be joint-highest scorer with Andrews.
Scorers - Dublin: P McMahon 1-2, P Andrews 0-5, K McManamon, B Brogan 1-1 each, D Rock (2fs), C Kilkenny 0-2 each, J McCarthy, B Fenton,all 0-1 each.
Mayo: C O'Connor 1-6 (0-5fs), D O'Connor 0-2, A O'Shea, K McLoughlin, P Durcan, B Moran, L Keegan, A Moran (f) all 0-1 each.
Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, D Bastick; P Flynn, C Kilkenny; D Connolly; D Rock, P Andrews, B Brogan. Subs: MD McAuley for Bastick (44), M Fitzsimons for Cooper (44), A Brogan for Flynn (51), K McManamon for Rock (53), E Lowndes for Connolly (67), J Small for B Brogan (71).
Mayo: R Hennelly; C Barrett, K Higgins, G Cafferkey; L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle; S O'Shea, T Parsons; D O'Connor, B Moran, K McLoughlin; J Doherty, A O'Shea, C O'Connor. Subs: P Durcan for Vaughan (34), A Moran for S O'Shea (BC) (39), A Freeman for B Moran (54), D Drake for Boyle (60), S Coen for Parsons (65), M Ronaldson for McLoughlin (70).
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois).