WATCH - 'Sport is cruel' - Emotional Stephen Rochford vows to 'resurrect' Mayo after agonising defeat
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford was magnanimous in defeat after his side came out the wrong side of an epic All-Ireland final against Dublin at Croke Park.
A solitary point was difference between the sides with Dean Rock's late, late free the winning score. The game finished 1-17 to 1-16.
Mayo recovered from the concession of a Con O'Callaghan goal in the second minute to lead by a point at the interval.
It was a thrilling end-to-end second half and the underdogs led by two with 10 minutes remaining but Dublin showed great composure to snatch a win and a third All-Ireland title on the bounce.
An emotional Rochford praised his players after an amazing display in defeat.
"They're all very difficult to take. Too many of them at this stage. It is what it is. Sport can be tough and cruel. Today is about Dublin and congratulations. Three-in-a-row is phenomenal in the modern era," he told The Sunday Game.
"We'll do our best to resurrect over the winter and see where we go from here.
"The winning score is kicked in the 76th minute, we've a free earlier on and it hits the post. It's just fine margins. I couldn't ask anymore of the lads.
"They died with their boots on. I just couldn't be more proud of them."
A huge turning point in the game was the sending off of Donal Vaughan in the second half when he reacted angrilly to a hit from John Small on Colm Boyle that subsequently saw him receive a second yellow.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford: "It's fine margins. I couldn't have asked for any more from them. They died with their boots on." pic.twitter.com/JFwdziSVS9— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) September 17, 2017
On the incident, he said: "If we had an extra man... you can speculate but today we've come second. Fair dues to Jim and Stephen.
"Mayo have the same hunger as Dublin to win but we've just come out the wrong side of results too many times.
"Sport is cruel but the 2018 championship won't be long coming around but it's a bit hard to think about now.
"We've very proud football people and we'll do our best going into the national league and we'll circle the wagons and give it a rattle next year."