Dubs roar back for final bid
Mayo 1-14 Dublin 3-15
This football thing must kill Mayo people altogether. Forty-two minutes into this game Barry Moran played a high ball forward. Much to everyone's surprise, it was Andy Moran that got his mitts to it. He wriggled through a couple of defenders before playing in Cillian O'Connor. Without the space to turn a sweet in his mouth, he sold a dummy and acrobatically stuffed it to the net.
It put Mayo four points up, but you could sense the Hellhounds on their trail. With Seamus O'Shea black carded, they had a lack of height in the middle sector. Dubs manager Jim Gavin sent on Michael Darragh Macauley who won two Mayo kickouts and Dublin outscored the romantic westerners 3-6 to 0-3 over the last 25 minutes.
"We knew they would get opportunities and we knew they would get good scores," deadpanned Gavin in the post-match briefings. "It was just a matter of us maintaining our composure and control. Our levels of intensity were consistent throughout the game and eventually we got some gaps and thankfully the boys took their chances."
I'd say. Their first goal on 55 minutes drew them level.
Macauley caught the Mayo kickout, sent it on to fellow substitute Alan Brogan who ferried it to Brian Fenton.
His shot might have gone wide only for Bernard Brogan's instinctive stab with his toe to punch the ball home
The next arrived a minute later, Brogan torturing Ger Cafferkey along the endline and floating a handpass across the face of goal that Philly McMahon flung himself at.
The third was a typical rocket to the roof of the net by another sub, Kevin McManamon.
Gavin was reluctant to say too much about the late call-up for Diarmuid Connolly, cleared to play just over 14 hours previous at a late night meeting of the Disputes Resolution Authority.
Why did you go to the DRA, Jim?
"We engaged with the process. We respect it and that's what we did, so I can't say any more than that."
Pressed further, he kept it nice and tight: "It's there for us, it's there for any team to use and that's what we did. We took advice from the administrators of the Dublin County Board and they supported us all the way."
He also maintained that Connolly's appeal did not serve as a distraction, while admitting that Friday night's appeal commenced at half seven, and they reached their deliberations at 2.30am.
"I'd say of all the county teams the Dublin players are used to a lot of external stuff going on," the Round Towers clubman explained.
"So they are quite accustomed to those external distractions and they are quite good at getting into a performance bubble and blocking it out."
Joint-manager of Mayo, Noel Connelly, identified the crucial period when it all started to unravel for his team.
"We were four points up and we were well in the game. And we ran at them quite a bit in the next four or five minutes and we turned over easy ball around the middle of the field.
"And at this level, it cost us. We had opportunities to go five, maybe six points up, and maybe that at this level, would have made the difference."
Conventional wisdom had it that Dublin needed that test the first day against Mayo. Once they experienced it and emerged (sort of) unscathed, they could go on to master September.
Another theory that Gavin did his best to downplay, though he eventually acquiesces to.
"Any Championship game you play you are tested," he said. "You need to prepare as diligently as you can for those games as the game we just played."
Speaking of how that is brought into training he answered: "The intensity isn't there but it's still a process you need to go through"
As for Kerry in the All-Ireland final?
"Haven't seen much of them," he said with a straight face.
"We've a bit of catching up to do.
"I know their management team were here for the Leinster final, the league final, the last two games, so they've got a good look at us.
"And there's an expectation that they are going to win it back to back. So it's all uphill for us."
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O'Carroll, P McMahon 1-2; J McCarthy 0-1, C O'Sullivan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton 0-1, D Bastick; P Flynn, D Connolly, C Kilkenny 0-2; D Rock 0-2, 2f, P Andrews 0-5, B Brogan 1-1
Subs: MD Macauley for Bastick, M Fitzsimons for Cooper (44m), A Brogan for Flynn (51m), K McManamon 1-1 for Rock (53m), E Lowndes for Connolly (68m), J Small for Brogan (71m)
Yellow cards: Bastick (24m), Kilkenny (45m)
Black cards: 0
Red cards: 0
MAYO: R Hennelly, G Cafferkey, C Barrett, K Higgins; D Vaughan, L Keegan 0-1, C Boyle; S O'Shea, T Parsons; D O'Connor 0-2, J Doherty, K McLoughlin 0-1; C O'Connor 1-6, 5f, A O'Shea 0-1, B Moran 0-1
Subs: P Durcan 0-1, for Vaughan (34m), A Freeman for Moran (54m), D Drake for Boyle (60m), S Coen for Parsons (65m), M Ronaldson for McLoughlin (70m)
Yellow cards: C O'Connor (12m), D O'Connor (71m)
Black cards: S O'Shea (36m, replaced by A Moran 0-1, 1f)
Red cards: 0
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)