Dublin were crowned the 2016 All Ireland Champions yesterday and are the first side from the capital to win back to back titles since the 70’s after a one point victory in a thrilling game in Croke Park.
Dublin started on fire and hit four unanswered points, three from Rock and the other from McManamon to hit the front early. But Mayo hit back with three of their own from Durcan, O’Connor and Moran.
A Dean Rock free pushed the Dublin lead back out to two. But a minute later Lee Keegan found the back of the Dublin net and Mayo took the lead for the first and only time in the game.
By the break Dublin led by one point with the score 0-10 to 1-06 and an incident filled first thirty five minutes seen both Jonny Cooper and Lee Keegan both black carded for two separate incidents.
Mayo got the first point of the second half to draw the sides level, but seven minutes later the Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly dropped a point attempt into the path of Paddy Andrews and as the Dublin forward went to skip by him the Mayo stopper hauled him down for a penalty and the Hennelly was rightly shown a black card.
Up stepped Connolly to find the bottom left hand corner of the net past the despairing dive of Clarke who was now in goal.
Mayo responded with two points from O’Connor and Durcan, but Gavin introduced Cormac Costello off the bench and he made an immediate impact with two excellent points a minute apart to give Dublin a three point lead with eleven minutes left in the game.
The pace was frenetic sweeping from one end of the pitch to the other, O’Connor reduced the deficit with a couple of soft frees, but Cormac Costello again got onto another Dublin move to push Dublin two ahead again.
Once again O’Connor put the bare minimum between the sides deep into injury time and then had the opportunity to draw the sides level with another free but pulled it wide.
The referee Maurice Deegan who was shocking yesterday, had indicated six minutes injury time but the clock had well passed by the 77 minute mark and he was still playing on with Mayo on the attack, Dublin though over turned the ball and finally Deegan blew for full time.
The cheers rang around the stadium as the players jumped for joy on the pitch and all around the headquarters Dublin supporters hailed their back to back champions.
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, P McMahon, J Cooper; J McCarthy, C O’Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton, P Flynn; C Kilkenny, K McManamon (0-1), D Connolly (1-1); P Mannion, D Rock (0-9, seven frees), P Andrews.
Subs: D Byrne for Cooper (21, black card), B Brogan (0-1) for Andrews (47), MD Macauley for Mannion (52), C Costello (0-3) for McManamon (56), E Lowndes for Small (60), D Daly for O’Sullivan (72).
MAYO: R Hennelly, P Durcan (0-2), K Higgins, B Harrison; L Keegan (1-0), C Boyle, D Vaughan; S O’Shea, T Parsons; D O’Connor (0-1), K McLoughlin (0-1), J Doherty; A Moran (0-1), A O’Shea, C O’Connor (0-9 all frees).
Subs: S Coen for Keegan (35+1, black card), B Moran for Parsons (35+8 – h/t), C O’Shea for Vaughan (h/t), D Clarke for Hennelly (41, black card), B Moran for A Moran (55), A Dillon for Doherty (60), C Barrett for Boyle (71).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).
Image Credit: Diarmuid Connolly via Twitter