On a knife edge until the bitter end, this was another classic in the Dublin v Mayo Championship rivalry
We continue our Countdown to the All Ireland Senior Football Final. There’s definitely been some great battles in the last decade between Dublin and Mayo. And in 2017 it was as rivetting as ever; just what we’re used to when these two counties collide.
From King Con’s early to Lee Keegan’s discarded GPS unit, it was another scintillating battle between two great rivals of a decade. And not for the first time, when the final whistle blew, there was nothing between them. For Mayo, it was another opportunity left behind. For Dublin it was their third All Ireland Football Championship on the bounce, and another step towards immortality.
Dean Rock showed nerves of steel to convert the injury time point that clinched the game for Dublin, with Mayo again leaving Croke Park empty handed. Heartbreaking for the men from the west, who dominated long spells of the game. But they weren’t clinical enough, and to their detriment, Dublin were.
Credit to Jim Gavin’s men for finding a way to win. Strength in depth was crucial once again. Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon to score a point each. the opposite was the case for Mayo.
When Con O’Callaghan took John Small’s pass with less than 2 minutes on the clock and headed for goal it looked like it would be a long afternoon for Mayo. But it didn’t seem to panic the westerners and they ran down the Croke Park Tunnel one point ahead at the break. Dublin’s plan had initially been scuppered losing Jack McCaffrey after only 8 minutes to injury.
The bench the difference in the second session
With a different level of composure Dublin slipped into an early second half lead. Connolly and McManamon replaced Eoghan O’Gara and Paddy Andrews to perfection. Jason Doherty and Paul Mannion both squandered goal chances for their respective sides.
Both team’s discipline cost them a player. John Small received a second yellow for a foul on Colm Boyle. And Donal Vaughan weighed in with an elbow on Small he was dished a straight red. That tension simmered for the half and when Andy Moran slipped the ball to Lee Keegan who hit the net to put Mayo ahead again.
But in the final 10 minutes of play Dublin held their nerve, and outscored Mayo. And Dean Rock’s stoppage time shot, much to the antics of Lee Keegan, found the range it was Stephen Cluxton who would walk the Hogan Stand steps for the third consecutive year to reclaim the Sam Maguire. As All Ireland Memories go, Dublin fans will treasure this one as the first milestone, and only the beginning.
Scorers for Dublin:
Dean Rock 0-7 (3f)
Con O’Callaghan 1-00
Paul Mannion 0-03
James McCarthy 0-02
John Small 0-01
Eoghan O’Gara 0-01
Kevin McManamon 0-01
Brian Fenton 0-01
Diarmuid Connolly 0-01
Scorers for Mayo:
Cillian O’Connor 0-07 (4f)
Andy Moran 0-03
Lee Keegan 1-00
Jason Doherty 0-02
Kevin McLoughlin 0-02
Donal Vaughan 0-01
Colm Boyle 0-01
Paul Flynn for McCaffrey (8)
Diarmuid Connolly for Andrews (HT)
Kevin McManamon for O’Gara (HT)
Bernard Brogan for Paul Flynn (64)
Niall Scully for O’Callaghan (68)
Cormac Costello for Mannion (73)
Diarmuid O’Connor for Seamus O’Shea (50)
Stephen Coen for Boyle (55)
Conor Loftus for Andy Moran (62)
David Drake for Doherty (69)
Danny Kirby for McLoughlin (74)
Ger Cafferkey for Higgins (74)