Monday 11 December 2017

Dublin's late blitz blows Mayo away

Dublin 3-15 Mayo 1-14

Philip McMahon celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal in the win over Mayo at Croke Park last night
Philip McMahon celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal in the win over Mayo at Croke Park last night
Philip McMahon, Dublin, scores a second half goal past Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly
Aidan O'Shea, Mayo, in action against Dublin's Philip McMahon
Dublin's Jack McCaffrey, right, and Michael Fitzsimons celebrate after the game
Dublin's Ciarán Kilkenny powers past Patrick Durcan of Mayo

Damian Lawlor

Two goals and two points in the space of four minutes turned this fascinating replay on its head at HQ yesterday evening. For long stages Dublin looked tired and ragged. They trailed by four points with 15 minutes to go and Mayo looked well set for a famous win.

But then it all changed in a flash. Dublin made changes and Alan Brogan, Michael Darragh Macauley and Kevin McManamon all ran at Mayo. McManamon's late goal, his side's third, was as good as you will see and killed the game off. His directness played a part in two earlier goals - scrappy ones - for Bernard Brogan and Philly McMahon. From being in the driving seat Mayo failed to score for eight minutes. The game went from under them, even with Paul Flynn and the besieged Diarmuid Connolly well below par.

McMahon was under the microscope last week for his lack of discipline. Yesterday he was sublime. A real leader. He drove at May from the start. His display was just another of the many sub plots and twists and turns in the lead-up to this game, with Connolly's suspension top of the pile.

Twice on Sunday last Dublin looked like they were going to romp home but both times they were pegged back, and failed to score for the last 10 minutes.

The question yesterday was, would Mayo set up to contain Dublin? Or would they go all out and tear at the Dubs? Both sides made a couple of changes. A near-capacity crowd looked on as these two, their rivalry as strong as any of recent vintage, went to war one more time. The game began in the same helter skelter fashion as the draw with five scores from the first five shots. The Dubs led 0-3-0-2 after eight minutes, with Paddy Andrews and Barry Moran impressing. Mayo started with three in midfield to attempt to keep Dublin from dominating, and Cillian O'Connor equalised on 10 minutes with one of the points of the season.

The quality was high; both sides went for it. Dublin then went nine minutes without a score. Dean Rock missed his first free and they conceded a free after some petulance as O'Connor sent his side two points ahead after 16 minutes. Mayo were flying and O'Connor's brother Diarmuid was on fire.

Andrews, despite living on scraps, hit his third point after 23 minutes. Rock equalised three minutes later as the intensity picked up again. Andrews hit his fourth point soon after; the Naomh Brid man was putting on an exhibition.

Mayo needed Aidan O'Shea on top form but he was quiet. The long-ball tactic into him was not working. He should have been brought out the field much earlier. Eventually he found his range and levelled on 30 minutes.

It was gripping stuff. Dublin looked vulnerable when being run at but luckily for them Mayo persisted with the long ball, and it was 0-10 apiece at the break. Donie Vaughan came off with an injury just before the interval and on the restart Mayo also lost Seamus O'Shea for a black card offence on Johnny Cooper.

They brought Andy Moran on and within three minutes he won a free which was pointed and set up a goal which Cillian O'Connor converted clinically to put Mayo 1-11 to 0-10 ahead. They missed three chances to drive on and Dublin brought on Macauley and Mick Fitzsimons. This replay exploded. Rock pointed a free and missed another as his side trailed by three. Alan Brogan was next to be summoned as Mayo failed yet again to hammer home their advantage.

Dublin looked off the pace: they replaced Paul Flynn which says it all. Pat Durcan found space with his first championship point to put them four up.

The home side kept battling and James McCarthy surged ahead to point. It was anyone's game. It turned again when Bernard Brogan latch onto Brian Fenton's drilled pass. The stadium erupted as the affair was levelled for the eighth time.

Brogan then got to the end-line and hand-passed a ball across for McMahon to palm it home. Mayo looked dead and buried - from three points ahead to three down in three minutes. From there Dublin hit fifth gear and never looked back. Incredible comeback.

Dublin: M Fitzsimons for J Cooper (43), MD Macauley for D Bastick (43), A Brogan for P Flynn (50), K McManamon for D Rock (51), E Lownes for D Connolly (68), J Small for B Brogan (70)

Mayo: P Durcan for D Vaughan (34), A Moran for S O'Shea (43), A Freeman for B Moran (54), D Drake for Colm Boyle (60), A Dillon for T Parsons (65), M Ronaldson for K McLoughlin (70)


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 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) 0-1 each.

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)

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