Player Ratings: Michael Fitzsimons takes centre stage as Dublin steal Sam - The Irish News
The Championship

Player Ratings: Michael Fitzsimons takes centre stage as Dublin steal Sam

 Michael Fitzsimons' no-nonsense defending was exactly what was required on Saturday.
Andy Watters and Cahair O'Kane

All-Ireland SFC Final: Dublin 1-15 Mayo 1-14

Dublin

Stephen Cluxton: He sent one kick-out over the sideline in the first half but apart from that didn’t put a foot wrong. Lands restarts on a sixpence and had no chance with the Keegan goal. 8

Philly McMahon: Switched off for a moment and Aidan O’Shea began the move that led to Mayo’s goal. Foul on Barry Moran led to easy free for O’Connor but his contribution should be remembered for the long-busting run that led to Brogan’s point. 7

Jonny Cooper: Pole axed off the ball by Doherty after Keegan’s goal. He received treatment and got on with the game only to be black-carded for an innocuous trip on Donal Vaughan. 6

Michael Fitzsimons: STAR MAN -  Superb in defence. He tackled as if his life depended on it and time and time again he came driving out of rucks with the ball in his hands and always found a colleague in blue. His no-nonsense defending was exactly what was required on Saturday. 9

James McCarthy: Not at his best. Kicked two wides and was caught in possession a couple of times when he broke from wing-back. Defensively sound though; he marked Jason Doherty who didn’t score. 6

Cian O’Sullivan: Aidan O’Shea evaded his desperate lunge and turned him before finding Lee Keegan for the Mayo goal. Apart from that he kept O’Shea on a tight rein. 7

John Small: Got a yellow card and might have had a black or a red too. Fumbled a kick-out and then took down Andy Moran and was involved in an aggressive exchange with Cillian O’Connor and could have walked. 6.5

Bryan Fenton: Didn’t reach the heights of the drawn game but was very steady in midfield. Foul on Boyle in the first half and booked for his reaction to the decision. 7   

Paddy Andrews: His physical intensity early on exemplified Dublin’s determination. Happy to receive the ball under pressure and won the decisive penalty in the second half. 7

Paul Flynn: Perhaps not playing the most fluent football of his career but still a formidable opponent. Played as defensive midfielder throughout the first half but pushed forward in the second. Short with one shot. 6.5  

Kevin McManamon: Scored a point and earned three frees and a point from playwith bustling runs that committed Mayo defenders. 
His quick thinking got a hand to a nervy Hennelly kick-out which led to the penalty. 8

Ciaran Kilkenny: Superb in the tackle and a powerful runner, put in an awesome shift for the Dubs. Pushed forward in the second half and won a crucial kick-out at the death. 8

Dean Rock: Finished with nine points including two from play. Opted to fist one chance over the bar in the first half when he was one-on-one with Hennelly and could have gone for a goal. 8

Diarmuid Connolly: Smashed his penalty past David Clarke to give Dublin a lead that they never lost and scored an excellent point too. Benefitted from Lee Keegan’s dismissal. 8

Paul Mannion: Keith Higgins kept a close eye on him and Mannion was unable to have a real influence on the game. Michael Darragh Macauley replaced him for the last 20 minutes. 6

Substitutes
Davy Byrne: Replaced Cooper after he was black-carded and picked up Cillian O’Connor who didn’t score from play. A calm head under pressure in the second half. 7

Bernard Brogan: Added energy to the Dublin forward line when he replaced Andrews after 46 minutes. Scored a point. 6

Michael Darragh Macauley: Made a great impact around midfield. Provider for Brogan’s point and two of Costello’s. 7 

Cormac Costello: He pushed Dublin over the line with three excellent points from play after entering the fray in the 57th minute. 8

Eric Lowndes: Replaced Small on the left of the Dublin defence for the last 10 minutes. 6

Darren Daly. Made a well-timed block to deny Mayo a point. 6

Mayo

Robbie Hennelly: Tone was set when Mayo lost their first four kickouts. A poor restart leading to Keegan’s black card. Spilled a simple ball and conceded a penalty for which he was black carded himself. 5

Brendan Harrison: Another sterling display from the Allstar elect. Dominated in his battled with Paul Mannion. Conceded a score to Brogan straight away but made two great blocks afterwards. 7

Donal Vaughan: Threw himself after every ball in defence and ended up in the wars as a result. That Kilkenny’s impact on the game soared when he went off was testament. 7

Keith Higgins: Initially struggled with Rock, leaking two early scores, one of which could have been a goal after his mistake. An issue for Mayo that his legs were all tied up in the full-back line. 7

Lee Keegan: Took Connolly for a few runs, burning him for a brilliant goal before losing a point to him when briefly at full-back. Had to foul Connolly to prevent a goal and earned a black card. Was badly missed. 6.5

Colm Boyle: Had his own impact on the game but will probably look back and think that Kevin McManamon had too much possession against him . 6

Patrick Durcan: Settled Mayo with a fine early score and landed the afternoon’s best score in the second half. Ended up in the full-back line for much of the game, which wasn’t to Mayo’s advantage. 7

Seamus O’Shea: Manned Brian Fenton better than in the drawn game and was important in the Mayo second half revival. Lost Kilkenny on a crucial kick-out at the death. 6.5

Tom Parsons: Busted himself for the entirety but found himself up against the energy of Paul Flynn. At times indecisive in possession but made a number of great defensive recoveries. 6

Kevin McLoughlin: Mayo’s best player. Between his superb tackling work defensively and a number of crucial interceptions, that would have been enough. But he matched it with attacking run after attacking run. 8

Aidan O’Shea: Another disappointing afternoon for Mayo’s key attacker. Didn’t do nearly enough to help his team on the big occasion. 5

Diarmuid O’Connor: A wealth of perspiration, but not the inspiration of which he’s capable. Frustrated both John Small and James McCarthy but didn’t offer enough in attack. 6

Jason Doherty: Not the influential figure that he’d been in the first leg. Had a couple of first half chances that he spurned and never really got running at Dublin. 6

Andy Moran: Kicked a brilliant first half score when he dummied Cian O’Sullivan to hook over. Worked hard but tired beyond half-time. 6

Cillian O’Connor: Deadly accurate from the dead ball for 75 minutes – nine from his first nine – his contribution shouldn’t be remembered for just that missed free. But it will. 6.5

Substitutes
Stephen Coen: Recovered brilliantly to stop Kevin McManamon when he looked in on goal, as well as a couple of other defensive interceptions. 6

Conor O’Shea: Had his moments but was too indirect with his running and dropped a great chance short at a vital time. 6

David Clarke: Should never have been dropped, and produced probably his best 35 minutes of the year when introduced. 7

Barry Moran: Only really got one ball above his head that suited him and won a free off it. 6

Alan Dillon: Not enough space for him to thrive. 6

Chris Barrett: Won the final free down the left that could have salvaged extra-time. 6

The Championship

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