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Honeymoon over for 'tentative' Mayo as Dubs inflict 'beating'

Dublin 1-12 Mayo 0-7

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Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan is dragged back by Mayo’s Donal Vaughan late in the game at Croke Park on Saturday. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan is dragged back by Mayo’s Donal Vaughan late in the game at Croke Park on Saturday. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan is dragged back by Mayo’s Donal Vaughan late in the game at Croke Park on Saturday. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The honeymoon period has ended for James Horan in his second spell as Mayo manager, with his county's bid for a first competitive win over Dublin since 2012 falling well short at Croke Park on Saturday night.

Afterwards, he tried to untangle a troubling defeat, their first of the 2019 League, which would have been significantly worse but for the heroics of keeper Rob Hennelly.

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Mayo keeper Rob Hennelly is tackled by Dublin’s Jonny Cooper. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Mayo keeper Rob Hennelly is tackled by Dublin’s Jonny Cooper. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Mayo keeper Rob Hennelly is tackled by Dublin’s Jonny Cooper. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

"I just thought we were tentative and we stood off right from the start," he began. "We didn't have any composure. We had 18 or so attacks in the first-half and we gave 11 turnovers out of 18. It doesn't matter who you're playing, if you play like we started tonight you'll get beaten.

"Dublin were very good. They were physical, bullied us a little bit and that was it, as simple as that. We got what we deserved. We were probably lucky we didn't get beaten by more."

The turnover statistic was paraded as a root cause of their difficulties.

"If you keep giving turnovers away, like I just said, you're going to be under pressure. I thought our one-on-one defending was very good considering the amount of turnovers we gave. There's always a reason for one-on-one defending like that, we just gave the ball away too much."

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Jason Doherty of Mayo in action against Michael Fitzsimons of Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Jason Doherty of Mayo in action against Michael Fitzsimons of Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Jason Doherty of Mayo in action against Michael Fitzsimons of Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Cormac Costello hit 1-4, the goal a confident finish after 18 minutes, and Dublin forced Hennelly into making seven more saves, as the All-Ireland champions threatened to run riot in front of 35,213 fans.

Mayo, with 14 wides, a missed penalty by Jason Doherty - which Evan Comerford did well to save - and a series of other chances that dropped short, were toothless in attack.

Only one of the starting forwards scored and in open play Comerford was rarely tested. Horan did not seek to hide those deficiencies.

Snatching

"We were poor, we hadn't conviction in our shots. We had 20-something shots, any stats you want, but when you're a little bit off all those stats go. We had men off the field for 20 minutes as well, that didn't help, all that stuff added up.

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Darren Gavin of Dublin in action against Aidan O’Shea of Mayo. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Darren Gavin of Dublin in action against Aidan O’Shea of Mayo. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Darren Gavin of Dublin in action against Aidan O’Shea of Mayo. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

"We were off with a lot of little things and that added up to us getting a fairly comprehensive beating tonight. Lads snatching at points, stuff like that can be fixed. Some of the shots we took weren't the right shots and then, I don't know, did we fully commit to some of the shots?

"We'll have a chat about it and we'll move on very quickly with the learnings from it."

Black cards issued to Lee Keegan in the first-half and substitute Seamie O'Shea in the second - both merited - didn't help the Mayo cause, leaving them a man down for 20 minutes of the match. However, even when they had the full deck they were in trouble, with Dublin's running and strength in numbers creating gaps and goal chances.

The match saw returns to competitive action for Cian O'Sullivan, who kept a tight guard on Aidan O'Shea, and Ciarán Kilkenny, while Jack McCaffrey had his first start and was one of those players who might have hit the net but for Hennelly's alert reactions.

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Cormac Costello of Dublin in action against Keith Higgins of Mayo. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Cormac Costello of Dublin in action against Keith Higgins of Mayo. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Cormac Costello of Dublin in action against Keith Higgins of Mayo. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

James McCarthy, one of their better players in Tralee, didn't feature due to injury, but the team bounced back from that defeat with a commanding performance.

Costello's goal, finished powerfully after he slipped past Keith Higgins - who was making his 150th appearance - gave Dublin a 1-2 to 0-2 lead, shortly after Fionn McDonagh had kicked Mayo's only point from play in the first-half.

Their other two scores of the half came from their goalkeeper, off a free and a '45'. They went in at the interval trailing 0-3 to 1-6 and fortunate not to have been further behind.

The much-needed response after the interval break never surfaced. Dublin continued to dominate possession and they closed down Mayo, ensuring they had no way back into the game.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin said James McCarthy had a slight niggle, but should be fit for the Roscommon game next Sunday at Hyde Park.

"It's going to be a really tough game down there, and that's just where our focus is and we've just taken it one game at a time," he said.

"Games have gone with us or against us. It's a really competitive league and you have to be on song for each of the games you play. Our focus will shift to Roscommon."

He saluted the contribution of Costello, whose speed and slippery movement caused Higgins endless torture and the Whitehall man could have scored two more goals, when Hennelly had to save Mayo from deeper embarrassment.

"Cormac worked really hard in the off-season, so he's very fresh," said Gavin.

"He's obviously very fit now as well so that's great to see. Above all he's a team player and I thought he set up some great scores and gave some great assists there during the game."

Gavin, who recalled Davy Byrne after injury, said that Stephen Cluxton may return against Roscommon.

Scorers - Dublin: C Costello 1-4 (2f); P Mannion, D Rock (1f) 0-2 each, C Kilkenny, C O'Callaghan, B Fenton, J McCaffrey 0-1 each. Mayo: R Hennelly (1f, 1'45), J Doherty (2f) 0-2 each, F McDonagh, M Ruane, K McLoughlin 0-1 each.

Dublin - E Comerford 8; M Fitzsimons 7, J Cooper 7, D Byrne 7; J McCaffrey 8, C O'Sullivan 7, E Murchan 7; B Fenton 7, D Gavin 7; B Howard 7, C O'Callaghan 6, N Scully 6; P Mannion 7, C Kilkenny 7, C Costello 8. Subs: D Rock 6 for Kilkenny (49 mins); P Andrews 6 for Mannion (57); S Bugler 6 for Howard & D Daly 6 for Cooper (64); MD Macauley 6 for Gavin (67).

Mayo - R Hennelly 9; K Higgins 6, G Cafferkey 6, B Harrison 7; L Keegan 5, C Boyle 6, P Durcan 5; M Ruane 6, D Vaughan 6; F McDonagh 7, A O'Shea 6, C Treacy 6; A Moran 5, B Reape 5, J Doherty 5. Subs: C Barrett 6 for Cafferkey (inj 20 mins); K McLoughin 6 for Treacy (inj 35); S O'Shea 5 for Durcan (half time); F Boland 6 for Moran (58); S Coen 6 for Reape (69).

Ref - B Cassidy (Derry).


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