All Ireland Senior Football Final Replay
Dublin 1-15 Mayo 1-14
Defending champions Dublin held off a strong Mayo side to claim their 26th All-Ireland title by a single point, winning 1-15 to 1-14.
Manager Jim Gavin used the strength and depth of his panel with some great substitutions to withstand a brave Mayo fight under the floodlights of Croke Park.
The victory earned Dublin back-to-back All-Ireland titles and cemented their status as one of the best sides of the last 20 years but for Mayo, it’s the third time in five years they have lost a final by a single point and their quest for Sam Maguire will go into a 66th year.
For Dublin, Jim Gavin dropped Bernard Brogan, Michael Darragh Macauley and David Byrne, starting with Michael Fitzsimons, Paul Mannion and Paddy Andrews instead.
With the defending champions going in at the break 0-10 to 1-9 up, referee Maurice Deegan was the one who needed the break more than anyone as the game threatened to boil over on a number of occasions. In first-half injury time, there was an occasion where three different on-field arguments were going on at the same time.
Deegan could have handed out numerous black cards but allowed the game to flow as best he could.
One man who did get a black card from the Laois official was Keegan. The goalscorer was carded for needlessly pulling back Connolly just before half-time. This was a massive loss to the Connacht side, especially as Keegan scored the opening goal in the 18th minute.
The Westport player had raced away from Connolly and collected a good pass by O’Shea before drilling the ball by Cluxton into the bottom left hand corner. That goal put them into the lead for the first time in the game as Dublin started brightly and were 0-4 to no-score up after five minutes.
Dean Rock had a day to forget two weeks ago but he was back to his best and scored three quick scores to add to Kevin McMamamon’s point but Mayo responded well through Patrick Durcan, Cillian O’Connor (2) and Andy Moran to level the game.
Dublin’s John Small was lucky to not get a black card for pulling back Moran and Mayo supporters will certainly query the consistency in which black cards were handed out.
Rock had scored five of Dublin’s six scores by the time Keegan got his goal and things got worse for the champions when Jonny Cooper was black carded. This was just after Mayo scored their goal and the Connacht side were attacking Dublin’s defence with pace and great frequency.
However, they overplayed the ball once or twice in this period and Dublin clawed their way back into it with a magnificent point from Connolly to make it 0-9 to 1-5 in the 33rd minute.
The game turned when Keegan brought down Connolly and was black carded. This allowed Connolly more freedom but injury time in the first half was mainly taken up with outbreaks of fighting. Connolly, Donal Vaughan and John Small all got yellow cards and as the players ran in at half-time, most in Croke Park expected to see some tussles heading down the tunnel. Much to Deegan’s relief that didn’t take place.
Mayo scored two quick frees to put themselves into the lead but then Hennelly had his moment to forget and with five minutes played in the second half, Dublin were ahead 1-11 to 1-8.
The Mayo players looked exhausted going into the final 15 minutes but they were still only two points behind.
Dublin substitute Cormac Costello came on and scored three great points, as well as Brogan who pointed within 10 minutes of coming on.
Mayo got the deficit back to a point on two occasions in the last 10 minutes as Dublin went 12 minutes without scoring but Costello got his third point in the 71st minute. However, six minutes of injury time had to be played and in the 74th minute, O’Connor slotted over a free to make it a one-point game.
The Ballintubber forward then had a great opportunity to force the game into extra-time but his free, about 40 yards out on the left hand side, agonisingly sailed to the left and wide. It will undoubtedly haunt O’Connor for a long time but his 0-9 from frees were one of the main reasons Mayo still had hope in this game right up to the death.
And so Dublin claim back-to-back All-Ireland’s for the first time since 1977 and they become the first team to achieve this since Kerry in 2006 and 2007. However they remain 11 All-Ireland titles behind their decorated Munster rivals.
Dublin: S Cluxton, P McMahon, J Copper, M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, J McCarthy, C O’Sullivan, J Small, B Fenton, P Flynn, P Andrews, K McManamon (0-01), C Kilkenny, D Rock (0-09, 7f), D Connolly (1-01, 1-0 pen), P Mannion.
Subs: D Byrne for Cooper (BC 19), B Brogan (0-01) for Andrews (46), MD Macauley for Mannion (51), C Costello (0-03) for McManamon (56), E Lowndes for Small (59), D Daly for O’Sullivan (71)
Mayo: R Hennelly, B Harrison, D Vaughan, K Higgins, L Keegan (1-00), C Boyle, P Durcan (0-02), S O’Shea, T Parsons, K McLoughlin (0-01), A O’Shea, D O’Connor (0-01), J Doherty, A Moran (0-01), C O’Connor (0-09, 9f).
Subs: S Coen for Keegan (BC 35), C O’Shea for Vaughan (h-t), D Clarke for Hennelly (BC 41), B Moran for A Moran (54), A Dillon for Doherty (59)
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).