Saturday 24 March 2018

Dismal Mayo fail to fire in Dublin stroll

Dublin's Michael Fitzsimons holds onto possession despite the efforts of Mayo's Andy Moran. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin's Michael Fitzsimons holds onto possession despite the efforts of Mayo's Andy Moran. Photo: Sportsfile

Dermot Crowe

Dublin footballers stretched their unbeaten run in League and Championship games to 33 at Croke Park last night with a resounding 1-16 to 0-7 win over meek Mayo opposition.

Stephen Rochford's team, who asked serious questions of Dublin in last September's All-Ireland final, arrived on the back of good League wins over Kerry and Roscommon while Dublin had been average in drawing their last two rounds.

But Mayo were a colossal disappointment. David Clarke made a series of critical saves including a second-half penalty attempt from Paddy Andrews, defying the Dubliner twice more in follow-ups. In other dispatches there were goal chances for Eoghan O'Gara, twice, and Michael Darragh Macauley. Mayo scored only two points in the first half, from Cillian O'Connor 45s, and by the interval were six points adrift.

The Mayo attack totally malfunctioned. Half back Stephen Coen, in the 39th minute, had the team's first score from play and at no stage did a Mayo forward match that feat. The only other Mayo scores from open play were kicked by Coen's fellow defender, Colm Boyle, and midfielder Tom Parsons. Andy Moran was suffocated by the outstanding Mick Fitzsimons, and there were strong performances from Philly McMahon, scorer of two points, Dean Rock, whose kicking was impeccable, and Conor McHugh, the scorer of 1-3 who was taken off with 15 minutes to go, the match already beyond Mayo's feeble grasp.

Mayo have failed to beat Dublin in their last 11 meetings in League and Championship, their last win being in the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final. Since then Dublin had won eight and drawn three. Long before the end of a niggardly match that threatened to boil over at points, the home supporters were delighting in Mayo's misfortune and enjoying their own team's finest performance of the League so far.

Earlier, Dublin hurlers found Waterford too powerful and experienced in their third round encounter in Division 1A of the hurling League, losing 1-17 to 2-19, despite having led by two points at the interval. Stephen Bennett fired 2-2 of Waterford's total, with Pauric Mahony adding 12 points, ten of those from frees.

Elsewhere, Donegal footballers had an impressive 1-16 to 0-11 win in Cavan, while Tyrone defeated Monaghan 0-14 to 0-10 at Omagh. Limerick hurlers had to withstand a fierce challenge from Offaly in Division 1B of the hurling League, prevailing by four points, 1-25 to 3014, while Limerick footballers made it a double by defeating London in the Division 4 football League tie at UL, winning 1-13 to 0-12.

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