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Dublin v Mayo All-Ireland Final: It's play it again Sam as final ends in draw

By Declan Bogue

All back to Croke Park, Saturday week for a repeat of the biggest house party in Gaelic games after Dublin and Mayo could not be separated after 78 minutes of this final.

As house guests, Mayo were remarkably charitable to their hosts, gifting them two own goals - surely one of the most bizarre records any final could boast of - to keep Jim Gavin's men in the Sam Maguire after they produced a performance well below par.

Mayo weren't that great themselves, but they showed reserves of character and bravery that was the ultimate response to all those lazy insults and jibes about losers.

And yet, there was something just painfully, typically Mayo about how they managed to turn the ball into their own not once, but twice in the opening half.

They had already squeezed their way two points in front when the first calamity befell them.

Michael Darragh Macauley put Brian Fenton in the clear and when his shot was parried by goalkeeper David Clarke, Bernard Brogan stabbed at a loose ball that pinballed off Mayo's Brendan Harrison and Kevin McLoughlin to the net.

They almost had another goal a few moments later when an exchange of passes with Kevin McManamon had Bryan Fenton with all of the Mayo goal to aim for, but again Clarke anticipated the shot beautifully and turned it away.

With both teams struggling to put together any cohesion to their play, a second gift arrived on Dublin's lap on 22 minutes.

Diarmuid Connolly stood over a free while Dean Rock moved out, then in, and Connolly speared the free to Rock over Colm Boyle's fingertips. When Rock spilled possession, the ball came off the retreating Boyle's boot and into the net again.

Dean Rock nailed his first free of what was to be a most underwhelming performance, and on 33 minutes Dublin finally got their first score from play, McCarthy's replacement Paddy Andrews firing over, before repeating the dose a minute later by popping up on the end of a passing loop to float a point.

Another Rock free left double scores in it at half time, Dublin ahead 2-4 to 0-5.

That lead was entirely reeled in during the first 12 minutes of the second half. Andy Moran started the run with a point before Paul Durcan sold a shimmy that took him past Macauley and passed the ball gently over the bar. Cillian O'Connor stepped up with three consecutive points - two of them from the dead ball to draw level.

With the footing greasy and balance practically impossible, the impressive Dublin wing-back John Small took responsibility and burned Aidan O'Shea, who was guarding the edge of the 'D', to steady up and fire over.

Eoghan O'Gara, on as a replacement for the ineffective Brogan, got under a ball broken down by Paul Mannion and won a free that was converted by Rock.

From the very next kickout, Dublin pushed up and the delivery actually struck Connolly on the back as he was running away from it.

He turned and stuffed the ball back over the bar to leave three points in it as normal time elapsed.

With time almost over, Dublin had possession for a sideline. Ciaran Kilkenny wished to put together a move to eat down the last few seconds. Connolly had other ideas and insisted on going for glory with a shot.

The effort swung past the far post and Clarke made haste to get a kickout off to Keith Higgins.

From there it travelled to Aidan O'Shea, and when Cillian O'Connor supported hard off the shoulder and took possession, he finished perfectly to level it all up again.

So, Saturday week. A replay. The first since Galway and Kerry in 2000. The football couldn't be as bad and the central narrative will speak of a team that can't win, but refuses to be beaten.

The curse lives on.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; P McMahon, J Cooper, D Byrne; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small 0-1; B Fenton 0-1, MD Macauley; P Flynn, D Connolly 0-1, C Kilkenny; K McManamon, D Rock 0-4, 3f, B Brogan

Subs: P Mannion for McManamon (47m), M Fitzsimons for Macauley (52m), E O'Gara for Brogan (63m), D Daly for Byrne (67m), D Bastick for Flynn (74m)

Yellow cards: McManamon (4m), Macauley (46m), Connolly (62m)

Black cards: McCarthy, replaced by P Andrews 0-2, (24m)

Red cards: 0

MAYO: D Clarke; B Harrison, D Vaughan 0-2, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle (own goal), P Durcan 0-1; S O'Shea, T Parsons 0-1; K McLoughlin (own goal), A O'Shea, D O'Connor; J Doherty 0-1, A Moran 0-2, C O'Connor 0-7, 5f

Subs: A Dillon 0-1 for S O'Shea (55m), C Barrett for Boyle (59m), B Moran for Dillon, S Coen for D O'Connor (66m), E Regan for Moran (71m)

Yellow cards: A O'Shea (41m), Boyle (58m), Keegan (62m)

Black cards: 0

Red cards: 0

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

Attendance: 82,016

Goals2 0

Points9 15

Wides12 7

Frees awarded20 17

45s awarded1 1

Yellow cards3 3

Black cards1 0

Red cards0 0



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