Mayo and Dublin draw in All Ireland Final

All Ireland Senior Football Final

Dublin 2-09 Mayo 0-15

Defending champions Dublin and Mayo will have to do it all again after they drew 2-09 to 0-15 at Croke Park this afternoon. The replay is set for Saturday 1st October with a throw-in time of 5pm.

Two own goals from Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin and Colm Boyle in the first half handed the advantage to Dublin who looked like they would break their opponent’s hearts again but Mayo claimed the game’s last three points to force a replay. Mayo came back from five points down at half-time and levelled in the eighth minute of injury time to earn a deserved replay.

The Connacht side might live to regret the fact they didn’t kill Dublin off in this game as the off-form defending champions will surely produce a better performance in the replay. This will be the first All-Ireland final replay since 2000 and Croke Park can look forward to another bumper crowd.

There is no love lost between these sides with Kevin McManamon receiving a yellow card in the first few minutes for a bad tackle on Diarmuid O’Connor and there were a number of rough tackles and heated incidents throughout the game. Referee Conor Lane from Cork had his hands full in the difficult conditions but he marshalled the game well in his first All-Ireland final.

Mayo opened the scoring through Tom Parsons, following some great work from Andy Moran and when Cillian O’Connor doubled Mayo’s lead in the eighth minute, it looked like their early strategy of pushing up on Stephen Cluxton’s kick-outs was working well but the problem with that strategy was highlighted in the 10th minute when Dublin cut through a shallow Mayo defence and scored a fortunate goal.

A Bernard Brogan attempt was blocked but Kevin Mcloughlin deflected the loose ball into his net with his right foot.

Bernard Brogan's shot is deflected off the foot of Kevin McLoughlin for Dublin's first goal
Brogan’s shot is deflected off the foot of Kevin McLoughlin for Dublin’s first goal.

To make matters worse for Mayo, they scored a second own goal for Dublin 11 minutes later. This time it was Colm Boyle who put the ball into his own net after Diarmuid Connolly sent in a long free. Dean Rock failed to gather it but the ball ricocheted in off Boyle who was trying to make a tackle.

That left the scoreline at 2-0 to 0-3 but the scoreboard didn’t tell you that Mayo were well on top. An example of this is the fact it took a Dublin player 31 minutes to get their first score, a free from Rock.

The defending champions also had to cope with the loss of James McCarthy to a black card for an off the ball tackle. It was reckless from McCarthy but also showed the strength of the Dublin bench as Paddy Andrews came on and scored two beautiful points before half-time.

Jim Gavin’s side ended the half well though as Rock converted two frees and Andrews’ brace saw them walk in at half-time 2-04 to 0-5 up

Mayo boss Stephen Rochford must have given one hell of a half time team talk because his side were level within ten minutes of the restart.

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly tussles with Mayo's Lee Keegan.
Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly tussles with Mayo’s Lee Keegan.

Points from Andy Moran, a beauty from Patrick Durcan and three from Cillian O’Connor had the Mayo supporters on their feet and believing this was finally going to be their year.

The Dublin supporters were wondering what happened to their side as they hit a number of bad wides, including a terrible effort from Jonny Cooper and another missed free from Rock.

The closing stages of the match saw the fitness and quality of the bench shine through for Dublin and with the sides level at 2-06 to 0-12 points, the Dubs went into a three point lead through points from John Small, a free from Rock and a massive point from Diarmuid Connolly. Added to this was the fact Mayo lost Alan Dillon only 12 minutes after he came on, it was looking like another All-Ireland final defeat for the Connacht side.

With seven minutes of injury time to play; Dublin did something this team have never done before, they started to wind down the clock early. They kept possession instead of attacking but with this amount of time to play it was always a risky strategy.

Dublin did manage to get a sideline ball about 35 yards out from the Mayo posts with three minutes left. Diarmuid Connolly went for glory only to see the ball go to the right and wide. Mayo had a lifeline.

When Cillian O’Connor split the posts the Mayo fans in Croke Park errupted. The draw was the least Mayo deserved but you have to fear that Dublin will not play as badly in the replay as they did today. Five points from play simply isn’t good enough from the defending All-Ireland champions.

Mayo never make it easy on their supporters and they have another 13 days to scramble for tickets and dream the impossible again. They have waited 65 years for an All-Ireland senior football title, 13 days mightn’t seem that bad if they finally claim the Sam Maguire.

Mayo's Aidan O'Shea and Dublin's Stephen Cluxton embrace after the final whistle.
Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton embrace after the final whistle.

Dublin: S Cluxton, P McMahon, J Copper, D Byrne, J McCarthy, C O’Sullivan, J Small (0-01), B Fenton (0-01) MD MacAuley, P Flynn, K McManamon, C Kilkenny, D Rock (0-04, 3f), D Connolly (0-01), Bernard Brogan.

Subs: P Andrews (0-02) for McCarthy (BC 24), P Mannion for McManamon (46), M Fitzsimons for Macauley, E O’Gara for Brogan (61), D Daly for Byrne (66), D Bastick for Flynn

Mayo: D Clarke, B Harrison, D Vaughan (0-02), K Higgins, L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan (0-01), S O’Shea, T Parsons (0-01), K McLoughlin, A O’Shea, D O’Connor, J Doherty (0-01), A Moran (0-02), C O’Connor (0-07, 5f)

Subs: A Dillon (0-01) for S O’Shea (55), C Barrett for Boyle (58), B Moran for Dillon (66), S Coen for D O’Connor (66), E Regan for A Moran (71), C Loftus for Regan (78).

Referee: C Lane (Cork)

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