ON A SEPTEMBER Sunday that would not have been out of place in mid-July, Mayo’s six decade wait for All-Ireland football glory goes on after a one point loss to Dublin today.
Both sides were guilty of squandering chances in the first half (Dublin had 10 wides to Mayo’s 9) but Dublin would have been the happier side going in at the break, Bernard Brogan and Robert Hennelly conspiring to gift the Leinster champions a goal.
It was a strange first half, Mayo seemingly dominating possession but failing to make that count on the scoreboard. Hawk-Eye was called into action for the first time in All-Ireland football final history but Keith Higgins’ shot was ruled just wide.
Andy Moran finally opened the scoring in the fourth minute after some scrappy play by both teams. A bad mistake in the Mayo defence a minute later gifted Dublin their first score, a short free out going straight into the hands of Diarmuid Connolly who tapped over with ease.
The Connacht champions kicked on from that mistake, scoring three unanswered points in the next ten minutes and seeming to settle into the familiar pattern of free-flowing football that has been a trademark of their season.
However, their good work was undone by an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Robert Hennelly to hand Dublin a lifeline; Bernard Brogan latching on to the end of a hit and hope ball from Paul Flynn. Hennelly would pull off three brilliant saves afterwards but it was a goal that gave much-needed momentum for the Dubs and they had to be happy to go in at half time just one point behind, 0-8 to 1-4.
Bernard Brogan celebrates his first goal of the game.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
The Blues started the second half the better with Robert Hennelly pulling off a brilliant save from Eoghan O’Gara in the 37th minute but he couldn’t prevent his parry going over the bar to give Dublin their first lead of the game.
They eased into a three point lead 15 minutes into the second half before Andy Moran broke a long ball to Michael Conroy who fed the ball back to the Ballaghaderreen clubman who sidestepped Stephen Cluxton before slotting home to level the game at 1-9 apiece.
Four minutes later though and Dublin had their second goal of the game and, who else, it was Bernard Brogan who had the umpire waving the green flag. It was a beautifully worked goal by the Blues who created an overlap through Michael Darragh MacAuley and Denis Bastick before picking out Brogan who palmed the ball into the net.
Mayo fought back to be just two points down but were gifted a chance to win the game in injury time, Cillian O’Connor opting for a point from a close range free kick when there was a chance for a goal. Referee Joe McQuillan then blew up from Stephen Cluxton’s kick out and Dublin were crowned All-Ireland football champions for the second time in three years.
Scorers for Dublin: Bernard Brogan 2-3 (0-1f), Eoghan O’Gara, Stephen Cluxton (0-1 ’45, 0-1f) 0-2 each, Ger Brennan, Cian O’Sullivan, Paul Flynn, Diarmuid Connolly, Paddy Andrews 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-8 (0-8f), Andy Moran 1-2, Lee Keegan 0-2, Seamus O’Shea, Keith Higgins 0-1 each.
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton (Parnells); Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams), Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes), Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna); James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams), Ger Brennan (St Vincents), Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf); Michael D MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes); Paul Flynn (Fingallians), Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock), Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincents); Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes), Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s), Bernard Brogan (St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh).
Subs for Dublin: Eoghan O’Gara for Mannion (inj) (15), Darren Daly for McCaffrey (half-time), Dean Rock for Kilkenny (43), Kevin McManamon for Andrews (49), Denis Bastick for Cooper (inj) (53).
Mayo: Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Chris Barrett (Belmullet); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen).
Subs for Mayo: Michael Conroy for Freeman (27), Cathal Carolan for Cunniffe (half-time), Enda Varley for Dillon (56), Barry Moran for Seamus O’Shea (60), Jason Doherty for Moran (69).