Dublin 2-9 Mayo 0-15
Dublin and Mayo will meet again on Saturday, October 1 after a last-gasp Cillian O’Connor earned Stephen Rochford a second bite of the cherry in a forgettable All-Ireland final spectacle, writes John Fogarty.
In difficult conditions watched by a 82,257 crowd, Mayo came back from two first-half own goals and a five-point deficit at half-time – 2-4 to 0-5 – to earn another day out.
Dublin’s interval lead had disappeared by the 46th minute when Mayo rattled off five points in succession, captain O’Connor adding three of them.
Brian Fenton shot Dublin ahead in the 51st minute and Dean Rock doubled it a minute later but Mayo were back level with dues to Andy Moran and substitute Alan Dillon.
Dublin then looked to have taken a tighter grip on the Sam Maguire Cup rattling off three points through the impressive John Small, a Rock free and Diarmuid Connolly.
But Mayo were resilient, O’Connor punishing a foul on Andy Moran, Donie Vaughan adding his second before O’Connor’s ultimate equaliser.
Aidan O’Shea’s blushes were spared as he laid off to O’Connor for the shot having blasted a wild wide a minute earlier.
A most surreal first half saw no Dublin player score until the 30th minute when Rock sent over a free and yet they led by three points at one stage before that.
Both of their goals came courtesy of Mayo touches, for the first Kevin McLoughlin diverting a saved Bernard Brogan shot into his own net in the ninth minute.
Mayo were controlling matters at that stage and yet David Clarke had to make himself big to deny Fenton a second Dublin goal in the 13th minute.
The second three-pointer, though, did come in the 22nd minute when a Connolly free into Rock was touched past Clarke by a backtracking Colm Boyle after Rock had spilt the ball.
If it was raining soup, Mayo had forks at that stage although they recovered slightly with a Vaughan point and James McCarthy was dismissed for a black card third man tackle on Cillian O’Connor – Michael Darragh Macauley was fortunate not to be sidelined following a deliberate trip on Diarmuid O’Connor.
But after Rock finally got his own team off the mark Dublin finished out the half the better – McCarthy’s replacement Paddy Andrews sending over a brace and Rock converting a free with Mayo responding with a mere Jason Doherty point.
Mayo may have been cursing their luck but there was nothing unfortunate about how often they were turned over or their lack of ideas in trying to break down Dublin’s defence.
Scorers for Dublin: K. McLoughlin, C. Boyle (own goals 1-0 each); D. Rock (0-4, 3 frees); P. Andrews (0-2); B. Fenton, J. Small, D. Connolly (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mayo: C. O’Connor (0-7, 5 frees); A. Moran, D. Vaughan (0-2 each); T. Parsons, J. Doherty, P. Durcan, A. Dillon (0-1 each).
DUBLIN: S. Cluxton (c); D. Byrne, P. McMahon, J. Cooper; J. McCarthy, C. O’Sullivan, J. Small; B. Fenton, M.D. Macauley; P. Flynn, D. Connolly, C. Kilkenny; K. McManamon, D. Rock, B. Brogan.
Subs for Dublin: P. Andrews for J. McCarthy (black, 25); P. Mannion for K. McManamon (47); M. Fitzsimons for M.D. Macauley (52); E. O’Gara for B. Brogan (63); D. Daly for D. Byrne (66); D. Bastick for P. Flynn (70+4).
MAYO: D. Clarke; B. Harrison, K. Higgins, P. Durcan; C. Boyle, L. Keegan, D. Vaughan; S. O’Shea, T. Parsons; D. O’Connor, J. Doherty, K. McLoughlin; A. Moran, A. O’Shea, C. O’Connor (c).
Subs for Mayo: A. Dillon for S. O’Shea (55); C. Barrett for C. Boyle (59); B. Moran for A. Dillon (inj 66); S. Coen for D. O’Connor (67); E. Regan for A. Moran (70+1).
Referee: C. Lane (Cork).