In The Irish News - Sep 16 1996: Mayo squander six-point lead in All-Ireland final against Meath

Mayo manager John Maughan

1996 Bank of Ireland All-Ireland Senior Football Final

Mayo ..............…........ 1-9 Meath ..................... 0-12

Overall it was a tough physical game with Mayo the better side over the first 60 minutes or so, but they seemed to sit back on their six-point lead and even an advantage like that is no use against a team of Meath's character.

Mayo were a well organised, very keen and eager team, and they closed Meath down at every opportunity.

Liam McHale was the pick of the four midfielders on the day. Ray Dempsey was very strong in attack but I am sure that some of the other players are a bit disappointed because a lot more was expected of them.

Meath will just be relieved to get a second chance.

It was always going to be hard for them to match the performance against Tyrone.

But once again their never-say-die attitude came to the fore.

Martin O'Connell was my man of the match and I also thought that some of the players they introduced, like Colm Brady and Jody Devine, will be pushing hard for inclusion in the replay.

Meath's midfield, which was so good against Tyrone, really played second fiddle to Mayo with Jimmy McGuinness being substituted and John McDermott being forced to do most of his best work in defence.

Graham Geraghty, who was by far the man of the match against Tyrone, was also a bit subdued.

John Maughan will be trying to build his men up again using the positive things that they did during the game.

Sean Boylan will be telling his team that they cannot play so badly again, and also reminding them that their last All-Ireland win, back in 1988, also came after a replay.

1996 All-Ireland MFC final

Laois ................ 2-11 Kerry ................. 1-11

LAOIS held their nerve in the closing two minutes to earn the county's first ever All Ireland minor title amid emotional scenes at Croke Park yesterday.

Both sides produced much more positive football than the seniors who followed them later in the afternoon.

Laois deserved their success although Kerry earned full marks for some tremendous last-quarter spirit which brought matters level in the closing minutes.

Laois got off to the perfect start with impressive midfielder Noel Garvin notching a goal in the opening minute.

Seemingly unperturbed by the early shock, the Kingdom youngsters hit back with five unanswered points

But in the third quarter Laois' ball winning around the centre began to be reflected in the scoreline.

A cracking three-man move involving Garvin, Brian McDonald and Chris Conway culminated in a fine score for the Laois centre forwards.

Three minutes later the ultimately crucial score of the contest came when a mis-hit Stephen Kelly free was brilliantly flicked to the net by McDonald.

With 12 minutes on the clock the Midlanders seemed safe as they had a 2- 8 to 0-8 advantage.

But a marvellous goal from the hard-working Kerry half-forward Liam Murphy reduced the margin to three points.

In injury time corner forward Kevin Fitzpatrick thought he had grabbed the clinching goal for Laois. But referee White had already blown up for an infringement against Fitzpatrick's marker.

The superb Conway pointed the free and it turned out to be the final score of the match.

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