Dublin captured their third consecutive All Ireland title back in 2017 in a close run game against Mayo

Dublin 1-17
Mayo 1-16
Croke Park. September 17th 2017

Dean Rock wrote his name into the history books as the man who kicked Dublin to a three in-a-row. The Ballymun sharp shooter confidently over a 40 metre free six minutes into stoppage time at the end of an absorbing All Ireland football final.

It all rested on this kick and he sent it sailing over the bar at the Canal End, joyous fans nearly shaking the roof down at the old ground. There were two more minutes of play. Ciaran Kilkenny managed to get himself sent off in that time, but the Boys in Blue managed to play keep ball and run down the clock.

Sam Maguire was back in the capital for the third winter in succession. The first time since 1921-23.

Mayo, to their credit were every bit as good as Dublin. At the time there was even a strong argument that they were the better team for long stretches. But the only stat that counts at the end is the final score and once again they came up short.

In the eight minutes of additional time, it really was a question of who would blink first. But this game had action from the throw in, and in the second minute John Small hit a 20 yard pass to Con O’Callaghan on the turn. The Young Cuala star just kept on going and when he was in range stuck it in the back of the net past David Clarke.

A massive blow for Dublin came on just 8 minutes when Jack McCaffrey had to retire injured, and was replaced by Paul Flynn.

Mayo didn’t panic and 35 minutes later they were running down the tunnel leading by one 1-05 to 0-09. They limited Dublin to just six scores, four from play, in the first half.

The Dublin bench proves the difference in the second half

Enter Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon from the bench, and instantly Dublin looked hungrier and more dangerous in attack.

It was end to end stuff now and Dublin very nearly scored a second goal when Mannion raced through but saw his shot cannon off the legs of Mayo goalie David Clarke.

Mayo badly needed a moment of inspiration and Lee Keegan provided it. He raced onto perfectly timed pass from Andy Moran and slammed the ball to the roof of the net to a deafening roar from the vocal Mayo crowd.

The closing 15 minutes of the game was a real arm wrestle. First Mayo seemed to be getting on top when O’Connor hit two points in quick succession. But then three points in a row from Dublin saw them hit the front again, 1-16 to 1-15.

Cillian O’Connor drew Mayo level with a brilliant point from play, but then saw that late free from a tight angle come off the woodwork.

Mayo were running on vapours in extra time. Their attack died after Andy Moran and Jason Doherty were substituted. And Dublin looked more likely to get a winner in the six allotted minutes of injury time.

It came in the last of those six minutes when Diarmuid Connolly was fouled around 40 yards from goal, and Dean Rock showed great composure to send his kick between the posts.

David Clarke’s restart went straight into touch which gave Dublin the opportunity to keep ball until Joe McQuillan blew the final whistle.

Scorers for Dublin:

Dean Rock 0-07 (3f)
Con O’Callaghan 1-00
Paul Mannion 0-03
James McCarthy 0-02
Diarmuid Connolly 0-01
Kevin McManamon 0-01
John Small 0-01
Brian Fenton 0-01
Eoghan O’Gara 0-01

Scorers for Mayo:

Cillian O’Connor 0-07 (4f)
Lee Keegan 1-00
Andy Moran 0-03
Jason Doherty 0-02
Kevin McLoughlin 0-02
Donal Vaughan 0-01
Colm Boyle 0-01

Dublin:

Stephen Cluxton
Philly McMahon
Cian O’Sullivan
Michael Fitzsimons
Jonny Cooper
John Small
Jack McCaffrey
Brian Fenton
James McCarthy
Ciaran Kilkenny
Con O’Callaghan
Paul Mannion
Paddy Andrews
Eoghan O’Gara
Dean Rock

Dublin Substitutes:

Paul Flynn for Jack McCaffrey (9)
Kevin McManamon for Paddy Andrews (HT)
Diarmuid Connolly for Eoghan O’Gara (HT)
Bernard Brogan for Paul Flynn (65)
Niall Scully for Con O’Callaghan (67)
Cormac Costello for Paul Mannion (74)

Mayo:

David Clarke
Brendan Harrison
Donal Vaughan
Chris Barrett
Paddy Durcan
Keith Higgins
Colm Boyle
Seamus O’She
Tom Parsons
Kevin McLoughlin
Aidan O’Shea
Lee Keegan
Jason Doherty
Cillian O’Connor
Andy Moran

Mayo Substitutions:

Diarmuid O’Connor for Seamus O’Shea (50)
Stephen Coen for Colm Boyle (55)
Conor Loftus for Andy Moran (63)
David Drake for Jason Doherty (70)
Danny Kirby for Kevin McLoughlin (74)
Ger Cafferkey for Keith Higgins (75)

(video: GAAGO via YouTube)