Sport

Thrilling climax at Croke as Mayo force draw

Mayo's Colm Boyle attempts to get clear of Dublin's Bernard Brogan in Sunday's All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final at Croke Park
Picture: Colm O'Reilly 
Paddy Hunter
All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Mayo 1-15 Dublin 2-12

WHAT a climax, this was breath-taking stuff, but the sides will have to do it all again after Mayo came back from seven points down on 61 minutes to snatch a draw.

Stephen Cluxton had a chance to win it at the end, but his free dropped wide.

The Dubs stormed into an early lead after Lee Keegan had opened the scoring for Mayo with a well directed point in the opening minutes. The response was crisp as Paul Flynn was upended and Diarmuid Connolly delivered the goal from the spot-kick. Paddy Andrews, Connelly and  Brogan added to the points haul in the opening 14 minutes.

It had been a frenetic opening quarter, with Donal Vaughan forced off with a shoulder injury and a glut of frees against both sides. The indiscipline of Dublin’s tackling proved costly, though, with Cillian O’Connor landing two frees in the space of four minutes, finishing the half with 0-6, all from the dead ball. 

Ciarán Kilkenny landed three fine Dublin points, but there was only three between the sides at the break.

After exchanging points and, with a point between the sides, Dublin pulled clear. Kevin McMenamin’s goal on 58 minutes looked to be the telling score, with Bernard Brogan (0-2) and Jack McCaffrey landing further scores.

Cue the comeback, Andy Moran, Keith Higgins and Alan Freeman rattled over points as Denis Bastic was blackcarded and Cluxton was unsettled as Moran almost found the net. Cillian O’Connor rifled home a penalty on 70 minutes after Boyle was fouled, with the equaliser coming from Andy Moran on 71.

There was time for a winner but, as Cluxton missed from long range, it was time up... back to HQ next week and another sell-out.

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