One more game... Dublin on the brink of immortality
Dublin moved closer to immortality and a record fifth consecutive All-Ireland title after a blistering second-half performance blew away Mayo's challenge in Croke Park yesterday. Having trailed 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time, after a first half dominated by Mayo, they outscored their rivals 3-8 to 1-2 in the second period to book a place in the final against Tyrone or Kerry on September 1.
Before a full house of 82,300, Con O'Callaghan scored two goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half to stun Mayo, the first coming only two minutes after the restart.
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A resurgent Dublin hit Mayo for 2-6 without reply in the 17 minutes after the break.
Lee Keegan scored a second-half goal, hoping to spark a rally, but Brian Fenton had Dublin's third in the 61st minute and there was no catching them.
"We knew they'd bring that pressure and we didn't deal with it well," said O'Callaghan, subdued like many of his colleagues in the first half, when tightly marked by Keegan. "So for us it was about being composed and trying to take the chances when they came. We're just looking forward to the next day and whoever we face we'll be ready for it."
The winners of today's semi-final between Tyrone, last year's finalists, and a youthful Kerry face the unenviable task of trying to stop Dublin's seemingly inexorable drive towards that fifth triumph.
If the championship's finale follows the expected script, Jim Gavin will have managed Dublin to six All-Ireland triumphs.
"We really asked them to keep doing what they are doing," Gavin said afterwards. "They have seen most of what we say to them, their game intelligence is really high. We can't play the game, we give them the framework, we empower them."
Mayo were magnificent in the first half in tying up the Dublin attack and turning them over repeatedly. But they could not live with a transformed opponent in the second half and quickly lost control of the match.
"I thought in the first half we were pretty strong," James Horan, the Mayo manager, commented. "We defended well and built a few good scores.
"I thought we were patient, did well and went in two up - could have been a bit more. At the start of the second half they were very strong and in a short space of time they came at us very hard.
"Con O'Callaghan got a goal and I think before that we put a shot into the goalie's hands and they came down and scored (the goal) from it. I think Lee (Keegan) fell."
Paul Mannion turned in another exceptional performance, scoring five points from play, including a few magical strikes.
"They have such pace and athleticism and skill all over the place," said Horan.
"When Con O'Callaghan got the ball in his hands he was just going to run at his man. When a couple of things like that happen suddenly, your legs get a bit heavy and that kind of stuff, and they took full advantage for that period."
It is over to Tyrone or Kerry now to see if they can find a way of stopping this Dublin juggernaut.
Sunday Indo Sport