Limited Mayo are overcome by true greats Dublin
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final:
Dublin 1-15 Mayo 1-14
LET’S get one thing straight from the start: Dublin won the All-Ireland, Mayo didn’t lose it.
Yes, the westerners missed a late free that might well have forced extra-time and the losses of Lee Keegan, to a black card, and Donal Vaughan, to concussion, were hammerblows. But the best teams get over setbacks and Dublin are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best there is.
Jim Gavin’s men confirmed their status among the great sides of the game by completing back-to-back All-Irelands with a committed display that owed as much to lion-hearted defending as attacking élan.
Of course, it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for luckless Mayo. They can’t be faulted for effort, dedication or heart, but their panel is limited and they continually find new ways to shoot themselves in the foot when it really matters.
Although they created the best moment of the game when Keegan buried a shot past Stephen Cluxton in the first-half, the westerners were over-reliant on Cillian O’Connor frees to stay in touch in the second and the pressure proved too much in the end.
Deep in injury-time, O’Connor stood in front of Hill 16 and took a free that would have levelled the game. His miss summed Mayo up: Close, but not close enough. Good, but not good enough. Dublin held out to the final whistle to take the win they deserved and O’Connor was consoled by Davy Byrne as he trudged off the field - another chapter in the Mayo book of hard luck stories.
Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon, J Cooper, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, C O’Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton, P Flynn; P Mannion, K McManamon (0-1), C Kilkenny; D Rock (0-9, 0-7 frees), D Connolly (1-1, 1-0 penalty), P Andrews; Substitutes: B Brogan (0-1) for Andrews (47), MD Macauley for Mannion (52), C Costello (0-3) for McManamon (56), E Lowndes for Small (60), D Daly for O’Sullivan (71); Black card: Cooper replaced by D Byrne (20); Yellow cards: Fenton (31), Small (42), Connolly (42)
Mayo: R Hennelly; B Harrison, D Vaughan, K Higgins; L Keegan (1-0), C Boyle, P Durcan (0-2); S O’Shea, T Parsons; K McLoughlin (0-1), A O’Shea, D O’Connor (0-1); J Doherty, A Moran (0-1), C O’Connor (0-9 frees); Substitutes: C O’Shea for Vaughan (ht), A Dillon for Doherty (59), B Moran for A Moran (55), C Barrett for Boyle (71); Black cards: Hennelly replaced by D Clarke (41), Keegan replaced by S Coen (35); Yellow cards: Vaughan (42)
Referee: M Deegan (Laois)