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2017 All-Ireland SFC: Dublin v Mayo: Paths to the Final

James O Donoghue { Kerry } and Keith Higgins { Mayo } during Saturdays semi final replay at Croke Park 26th August 2017 Picture Seamus Loughran
Padraig Kelly

2017 All-Ireland SFC: Dublin v Mayo: Paths to the Final 

Mayo

Connacht Senior Championship quarter-final

Mayo 2-14 Sligo 0-11

Sunday, May 21, 2017, MacHale Park

AFTER a middling League campaign, Mayo needed some time to shake off the cobwebs before eventually overpowering Sligo with a strong finish.

The Yeats county set up defensively, and for an hour it was working pretty well as they trailed 1-10 to 0-10, Diarmuid O’Connor grabbing the Mayo goal in the 34th minute.

Stephen Rochford turned to his bench for inspiration and the introduction of Aidan O’Shea, Stephen Coen, Donie Vaughan, Conor Loftus and Danny Kirby in the second half saw a marked improvement in their play.

The home side added some daylight in the final stages with Cillian O’Connor securing a comfortable winning margin with a goal at the death.

 

Connacht Senior Championship semi-final

Galway 0-15 Mayo 1-11

Sunday, June 11, 2017, Pearse Stadium

FOR the first time since 1977/78, Mayo missed out on consecutive Conancht final appearances after a lacklustre performance against Galway.

Their chances were dealt a significant blow in the 26th minute as Keith Higgins was sent off, and the Tribesmen took full advantage.

Galway had a huge gale at their backs in the first half and although they started brightly with points from Damien Comer, Gareth Bradshaw and Sean Armstrong, they were soon behind as Kevin McLoughlin reacted quickest to smash the ball to the net in the sixth minute.

Cillian O’Connor hit the crossbar soon after but his free-taking left his side in a good position at the interval as they trailed by the minimum, 0-9 to 1-5.

With the elements in their favour, Mayo looked a good bet to push on in the second half but the gap left by Higgins’s dismissal allowed Galway to punch holes in the Mayo defence.

With Armstrong prominent, they managed to move four points ahead as the game headed towards its conclusion, but three Cillian O’Connor free-kicks kept the outcome in the balance but they couldn’t get the equalizing score.

All-Ireland Qualifier round two

Mayo 2-21 Derry 1-13 (AET)

Saturday, July 1, 2017, MacHale Park

ELEVEN points may have separated these sides after 90 minutes, but for long periods of the first 70 it looked as if Damian Barton’s side were set for a stunning victory.

Despite playing with the breeze in the first half, Mayo trailed 0-8 to 0-7 at the break and it could have been even better for the Ulster side with David Clarke brilliantly denying Carlus McWilliams.

Five of Mayo’s seven points came from Cillian O’Connor frees and the over-dependence on the Ballintubber man again appeared obvious.

The scoring slowed down in the third quarter and the sides were level, 0-10 to 0-10, as the game moved into the final 20 minutes.

Mayo looked to have made the crucial play when Conor Loftus superbly blasted past Ben McKinless in the closing moments, but there was still time to Mark Lynch to flick home a McWilliams delivery at the other end.

Derry failed to carry that momentum into extra time though as a Jason Doherty goal and a missed James Kielt penalty secured a big winning margin for last year’s All-Ireland finalists.

All-Ireland Qualifier round three

Mayo 2-14 Clare 0-13

Saturday, July 8, 2017, Cusack Park

FOR the second time in the Championship, the O’Connor brothers, Cillian and Diarmuid, found the net in the same game as Mayo started to show signs of life.

The first half had been similar of the campaign to date, the Connacht outfit struggling to break down a well-organised defence.

It was close to panic stations after 19 minutes as they trailed 0-6 to 0-1.

They had a crucial scoring period just before half-time though and with Andy Moran excelling, they trailed by just two points at the interval.

The second half saw Mayo play some of their best football of the year. Kevin McLoughlin went close to a goal early on before Cillian O’Connor did find the net four minutes later,

That was followed by another goal by his younger brother two minutes later and a two-point deficit was now a five-point lead following their quick 2-1 salvo.

From there on in the sides traded scores as Mayo progressed with relative ease.

All-Ireland Qualifier round four

Mayo 0-27 Cork 2-20 (AET)

Saturday, July 22, 2017, Gaelic Grounds

MAYO qualified for their seventh All-Ireland quarter-final in a row, but not without the usual drama for their loyal followers.

In a crazy and entertaining game, Mayo found themselves sevens points up at one stage in the second half but were still holding on at the death as the Rebels got through for a number of goal chances.

The first half was an even affair before Cillian O’Connor, who finished with 0-11, kicked over two scores and Jason Doherty added another to give Mayo a half-time cushion.

Two more O’Connor scores and points from Andy Moran and Paddy Durcan had them seven points up early in the second half and a routine win looked likely.

However, goals from Sean Powter and Luke Connolly forced an additional 20 minutes as Cork easily punched holes in the Mayo defence.

Cork scored four points to Mayo’s three in the first period of extra time, but Stephen Rochford’s men dug deep and points from Keith Higgins, Diarmuid O’Connor and Cillian O’Connor in the final 10 minutes saw them through by the minimum.

All-Ireland quarter-final

Mayo 1-12 Roscommon 2-9

Sunday, July 30, 2017, Croke Park

THIS match started in whirlwind fashion as underdogs Roscommon scored goals through Fintan Cregg and Ciaran Murtagh to move 2-2 to 0-1 ahead after just 12 minutes.

Seconds later, Lee Keegan goaled at the Hill 16 end, via a deflection, to cap off a crazy opening quarter.

The pace of the game slowed down considerably after that but with Keegan notching 1-3 in all in the opening half, the Westerners took a 1-8 to 2-3 lead into the dressing room.

Roscommon came out strong in the second half and drew level before late points from Cillian O’Connor and Paddy Durcan appeared to put Mayo into the last four, but Donie Smith’s 74th-minute equaliser forced a second outing.

All-Ireland quarter-final replay

Mayo 4-19 Mayo 0-9

Monday, August 7, 2017, Croke Park

WHILE the first outing between these Connacht rivals was tight and tense, the second installment was a complete mismatch.

Underdogs Roscommon needed to start strongly like the first match, but Mayo were 0-6 to 0-0 ahead by the 16th minute.

The game was then ended as contest as Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran and Keith Higgins struck for goals in a four-minute period to give Mayo a 3-8 to 0-4 half-time lead.

Diarmuid Murtagh was providing some resistance at the other end for Roscommon, but it was all too easy for Mayo as they tagged on points at will.

Cillian O’Connor grabbed a fourth goal in the 45th minute and he ended the day with 1-6 to his name as 13 Mayo players managed to get their name on the scoresheet.

All-Ireland semi-final

Mayo 2-14 Kerry 2-14

Sunday, August 20, 2017, Croke Park

AMAZINGLY, for the fourth time in eight games, Mayo found themselves level with their opponents after 70 minutes of action following a scintillating semi-final clash with Kerry.

The drama started from the off as Aidan O’Shea dropped back into his defence to counter the aerial threat of Kieran Donaghy – an experiment that had mixed success.

They didn’t seem to be missing him too much at the other end as Andy Moran, in the fourth minute, and Colm Boyle, after 19 minutes, netted before Stephen O’Brien raised a green flag for Kerry to ensure the sides were level at the break.

Paul Geaney put Kerry ahead at the start of the second half but points from Moran, Donal Vaughan, Cillian O’Connor and Tom Parsons pushed Mayo three ahead.

Kerry wiped that gap out in the 45th minute as Johnny Buckley pounced after David Clarke had brilliantly denied David Moran, and the Kingdom pushed on to lead by a point as the game drifted into injury time.

Up stepped Paddy Durcan though and his point kept Mayo in the Championship.

All-Ireland semi-final replay

Mayo 2-16 Kerry 0-17

Saturday, August 26, 2017, Croke Park

HAVING flirted with Championship exits all summer, Mayo found themselves back in the All-Ireland final after this five-point win over Kerry.

The Connacht men were extremely sharp in the first half and they led 1-8 to 0-6 at the break, Diarmuid O’Connor flicking the ball to the net after 28 minutes.

Stephen Rochford’s side further stamped their authority on the contest in the 37th minute when Andy Moran added another goal.

Kerry probed for goals but found their avenue blocked by David Clarke and the Mayo defenders, although Paul Geaney’s free-taking was keeping them in touch.

Mayo though were tagging on scores on the break and points from Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty and Conor Loftus saw them record their first Championship win over Kerry since 1996.

Mayo’s Paddy Durcan and Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy were sent off late on, the latter for a strike on Aidan O’Shea.

Dublin

Leinster Championship quarter-final

Dublin 0-19 Carlow 0-7

Saturday, June 3, 2017, O’Moore Park

ONE of the most infamous matches of the=is year’s Championship due to Diarmuid Connolly’s altercation with Down linesman Ciaran Branagan.

The Dublin attacker picked up a 12-week ban as a result and only made his return in the semi-final win over Tyrone.

The game itself was a lot tougher for Jim Gavin’s side than the scoreline suggests.

Carlow set up to contain and frustrate, and they achieved their goal for much of the match and with 44 minutes gone, only three points separated the sides.

Turlough O’Brien had his homework done and he clogged up the areas of the field that Dublin used most frequently while on the attack, and the champions looked short on ideas.

Brendan Murphy was then sent off and the underdogs crumbled as they were out-scored 0-9 to 0-1 from that point on with Dean Rock, who finished with 0-6, and Ciaran Kilkenny prominent.

The aftermath was all about Connolly though with the Central Hearings Committee turning down Dublin’s appeal.

Leinster Championship semi-final

Dublin 4-29 Westmeath 0-10

Sunday, June 25, 2017, Croke Park

DUBLIN secured a seventh successive Leinter final appearance with a crushing 31-point win over Westmeath.

Jim Gavin’s side only led by three points midway through the first half but Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock had already missed good goal chances by that stage.

They took control on the scoreboard from there on in though and Rock’s goal late in the half meant that they went into the turn 1-15 to 0-5 in front.

The second half turned into a pummeling as Westmeath were completely overrun by Dublin’s ferocious attacking talent.

Eoghan O’Gara added a second goal just after the interval while Kevin McManamon and Ciaran Kilkenny also found the net late on.

Afterwards, Jim Gavin refused to speak one-on-one with RTE as he hit out the national broadcaster for their role in highlighting Diarmuid Connolly’s misdemeanor against Carlow in the previous round.

Leinster Championship final

Dublin 2-23 Kildare 1-17

Sunday, July 16, 2017, Croke Park

KILDARE’S gutsy performance ensured that it was one of the best Leinster finals of recent times, but all was said and done Dublin still cantered home.

Con O’Callaghan produced a sensational performance for the champions, the dual star finishing with a dozen points in all.

Half of those scores came from play after Dean Rock was black-carded after stroking home an early goal

That goal, along with a James McCarthy major, had been the platform that led to Jim Gavin’s side establishing a nine-point lead but Kildare, with Kevin Feely exceptional, managed to reduce that deficit to four by half time.

Dublin regained control in the second half though with O’Callaghan, Bernard Brogan and Ciaran Kilkenny all showing class in attack. Despite only playing 46 minutes, Brogan managed five points from play after being introduced.

Kildare did fight to the end, but Paddy Brophy’s late goal was nothing more than a consolation for the Lilywhites.

All-Ireland quarter-final

Dublin 1-19 Monaghan 0-12

Saturday, August 5, 2017, Croke Park

MONAGHAN had given Dublin trouble in League encounters in recent years, but Championship clashes were a much different story.

This Croke Park clash proved no different as the All-Ireland champions ruled from start to finish.

Malachy O’Rourke opted for a very conservative approach, but it mattered not to Dublin as they raced into a 0-7 to 0-0 lead.

Conor McManus did get Monaghan off the mark but they were still eight points down after the first half.

The introduction of Conor McCarthy sparked some life into the Farney county at the start of the second half, but Dean Rock’s goal, after some unselfish play from Paddy Andrews, killed any chance of an unlikely comeback.

Bernard Brogan went close to a second goal but Rory Beggan pulled off a great save. Rock converted the resultant ‘45’ to leave Dublin 1-15 to 0-7 ahead with 18 minutes remaining.

Monaghan did out-score their opponents by a point from that point on, but more so because Dublin had taken their foot off the pedal.

All-Ireland semi-final

Dublin 2-17 Tyrone 0-11

Sunday, August 27, 2017, Croke Park

IT was billed as the game Dublin feared most but as it turned out, it was a complete cakewalk.

The match was basically decided in the fifth minute as Dublin pounced on a misplaced Niall Sludden hand-pass with real ruthlessness. The ball was worked to young Con O’Callaghan and he slammed confidently past Niall Morgan.

By the 12th minute it was 1-4 to 0-2 and Mickey Harte’s plans for containment were out the window.

Colm Cavanagh and Peter Harte were on target for the Ulster side but every time they raised the flag Dublin just went down the field and did likewise.

Jim Gavin’s side led 1-9 to 0-5 at the break and they kept that margin over their opponents, extending it late in the game when Eoghan O’Gara slapped the ball past Morgan for goal number two.

It was a real statement of intent from Jim Gavin’s side and a reminder that they were very capable of achieving three All-Ireland titles in a row.

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