Thursday 19 April 2018

How the final was drawn

Mayo's Jason Doherty of Mayo reacts after scoring a point. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Mayo's Jason Doherty of Mayo reacts after scoring a point. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

2.58 - Perhaps a sign of things to come later in the game as Dublin seem to get their timing wrong and arrive late onto the pitch, according to the official itinerary, which leads to a brief kerfuffle as the team pictures are being taken.


With Mayo pressing up on Dublin's defence Stephen Cluxton is forced to go long but his arrowed 70m kick immediately puts them on the attack. From there a succession of off-the-shoulder runs splits the Mayo defence in two. Danger looks to be averted, however, with Bernard Brogan's scrambled effort going wide before an involuntary split-second reaction from Kevin McLoughlin sends the ball into his own net for an outrageously fortuitous goal.

Dublin 1-0 Mayo 0-2


The Dubs are struggling for traction up front with ace attacker Diarmuid Connolly peripheral but he produces a moment of genius to delightfully angle a free over Colm Bolye and into Rock's chest. Unusually, he spills the ball under pressure but the back-tracking Boyle is horribly unlucky to flick the ball past David Clarke for another own-goal.

Dublin's Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin in action against Mayo's Patrick Durcan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin's Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin in action against Mayo's Patrick Durcan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin 2-0 Mayo 0-3


James McCarthy is harshly black carded in the 24th minute for a shoulder on Cillian O'Connor in what looked a borderline third man tackle and Dublin lose one of their most important cogs. Ciarán Kilkenny seamlessly reverts to half back and Paddy Andrews fires over two points within ten minutes of his introduction, the second of which is a beauty from the right wing as Dublin forge ahead before the break

Dublin 2-4 Mayo 0-5


After going in five down at half-time despite dominating for large periods, Mayo explode out of the blocks and are level within ten minutes of the second half with Cillian O'Connor on fire. O'Connor collects a misplaced kick-out from Cluxton, as a result of a manic Mayo attack, and points.

Dublin 2-4 Mayo 0-10


With Mayo in the ascendancy a series of what seem like game-defining moments occur within 60 seconds as both teams surge forward only for the moves to break down in the final third. After all is said and done Brian Fenton shoots a neat point for the Dubs, their first point of the second half in the 51st minute, and sends them back into a one-point lead.

Dublin 2-5 Mayo 0-10


Dean Rock fires over immediately after Fenton as Jim Gavin's reigning champions get back into their groove and look to pull away once again. But Mayo are having none of it and almost take the lead when Andy Moran blazes over the bar with the goal seemingly at his mercy after a magnificent incisive run from Jason Doherty.

Dublin 2-6 Mayo 0-11


Stephen Rochford springs Alan Dillon from the bench in the hope that his wise head will give Mayo that extra guidance they need to win the game in the home stretch and he delivers an exquisite point from the right wing. Kilkenny is caught flat-footed when taking a handpass in the middle of the park and McLoughlin nips in superbly to rob possession before Dillon provides the killer punch and sends the ball over for the leveller as Croke Park begins to reverberate with Mayo fans anticipating that this could finally be their day in the sun (rain).

Dublin 2-6 Mayo 0-12


The loss of Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey to the Dublin fold hasn't been as sorely felt as many would have envisaged with John Small fitting in seamlessly at half-back. And showing pace not too dissimilar to the previous wearer of the No 7 jersey, he leaves Aidan O'Shea trailing in his wake to edge the Dubs ahead yet again.

Dublin 2-7 Mayo 0-12


While all the attention in the build-up was on Cluxton's restarts, David Clarke operated in a similar fashion choosing to regularly kick low out to the touchline rather than bombarding the midfield area with long deliveries. But with the game in the melting pot, there's a rare kick-out error which is duly punished by Diarmuid Connolly, who got on a rare possession after being well marshalled by Lee Keegan throughout.

Dublin 2-9 Mayo 0-12


Just minutes after Aidan O'Shea taking an ill-fated potshot from long range, it's looking like Mayo's goose is cooked and Sam Maguire is remaining in Dublin's grip, there's a similar mind blank at the other end when Connolly and Kilkenny squabble over a sideline ball within scoring range.

The St Vincent's attacker demands the ball off Kilkenny but rather than retain possession and run the clock down, he chooses to shoot at the posts in difficult conditions, a shot Gavin says he has regularly nailed in training, and his effort fades wide.

Mayo have one last chance and Clarke kicks short as they build from the back before the ball ends up in the able hands of Cillian O'Connor who shows nerves of steel with their All-Ireland dreams hanging by a thread. The Ballintubber man fires over with his usual panache, the last score of a gripping game as Mayo earn another bite of the cherry.

Dublin 2-9 Mayo 0-15


The replay is confirmed for Saturday, October 1 at 5pm after a contest which occasionally lacked quality but more than compensated for it in drama.

Irish Independent

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