Sunday 25 February 2018

Five talking points from Dublin and Mayo's All Ireland final draw

David Smith

Play it again Sam. Dublin and Mayo will face each other once again On Saturday, October 1, after today's dramatic draw in Croke Park. Here is five talking points from the match.

What a bizarre first half

What a strange first half in Croker today. I can’t remember one own goal in an All-Ireland final, never mind two! Who could have predicted that no Dublin player would register a score in the opening half hour?

Mayo started well, and were the better team, but those two goals gave Dublin the advantage. Dublin failed to perform in the first half, but found themselves leading by five points at half time.

Dublin underperform

It took a Dublin player over 30 minutes to register a score today, and the boys in blue only managed nine scores in 79 minutes. 

They benefited from two unfortunate own goals, but the Mayo defence handled the deadly Dublin attack extremely well.  Brogan, McManamon and Flynn all struggled to impose themselves, while Dean Rock’s free-taking was uncharacteristically inconsistent.

Dublin never looked near their best today, despite some good individual performances, such as that of John Small.

Jim Gavin’s side are as unlikely to play as badly in the replay, which is worrying for Mayo.

Colm Boyle of Mayo scores an own goal under pressure from Dean Rock of Dublin, Dublin's second goal, during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The black card rule remains inconsistent

James McCarthy received a controversial black card in the first half for a hit on Diarmaid O’Connor. Was it intentional, or merely clumsy?

How can a referee decide with certainty whether these incidents are deliberate or not?

Michael Darragh Macauley dragged down Lee Keegan with a cynical foul in the first half, yet he received neither a yellow nor a black card. His reckless second half foul on Cillian O’Connor was equally worthy of a black card, but this time he received a yellow.

The rule has been controversial and divisive since its introduction, and today further illustrated that it needs refining.

James McCarthy of Dublin watches on from the Hogan Stand after being shown a black card during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Connolly and Keegan renew their rivalry

Diarmuid Connolly is the best forward in the country, but he sometimes makes the headlines for the wrong reasons. Connolly and Lee Keegan have history together, and their match up was always going to be fascinating today. Things came to a head in the second half, with both players receiving a yellow card for an off the ball incident. Both players were pulling each other’s jersey, and Connolly appeared to slap at Keegan’s face more than once.

It was Keegan who came out on top today.

Did Mayo miss their chance?

Mayo deserve huge credit for their performance today, but it’s hard to imagine Dublin playing as poorly when the sides meet again on October 1st.The champions were far from their best today, but still led for the majority of the contest, and may feel aggrieved at nine minutes of stoppage time.

Will Dublin improve in the replay? Can Mayo nullify that Dublin forward line so impressively again?

After the game, Andy Moran remarked on his missed goal chance in the second half, and many will feel that Mayo won’t have a better chance to clinch their first Sam Maguire in over 65 years.

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