The best of enemies: 10 moments that made the Dublin-Mayo rivalry sizzle

As Conor Mortimer said earlier this week, the needle between Dublin and Mayo started back in 2006 with Warm-up-gate.

Our GAA Correspondent ranks the top 10 flashpoints between then and now:

1. The warm-up, 2006 All-Ireland semi-final

The genesis but also the alpha, beta and omega of the grudge that has developed between the two sides. Mayo chose to go to the Hill and upset Dublin. It worked in the opening quarter as Mayo developed a four-point lead. Dublin recovered only to be caught. Mayo’s audacity has never been forgotten in the capital while Dublin have never been allowed to forget it.

2. Cynical claims, 2013 All-Ireland final

As Vinny Murphy said earlier this week, Dublin can point to the 2012 semi-final when Mayo killed the game both cynically and clinically but it was perceived hypocrisy in Jim Gavin’s post-match remarks about playing against Mayo and referee Joe McQuillan that seemed to irk James Horan. “I find that absolutely amazing if that was the comment. I know Jim made another interesting comment, that he’d walk away if his team were cynical, so maybe that’s another comment Jim should look at.”

3. Ciarán Whelan’s bad blow, 2006 All-Ireland semi-final

If Tadhg Kennelly remains the luckiest player not to be sent off in the past decade, Whelan is a close second. How he didn’t see the line for his strike to Ronan McGarrity’s jaw remains a mystery. Paddy Russell issued Whelan a yellow card but McGarrity was concussed before eventually being replaced at half-time on medical advice.

4. Flynn v Vaughan, 2014 Division 1

A duel that deserved its own player cam. It only lasted 26 minutes as Flynn retired with injury, which may be just as well because it could have turned out to be quite an ugly running battle. Both men seemed determined to lay down markers.

5. Mayo’s blood subs, 2012 All-Ireland semi-final

Mayo broke no rules but the question is did they act within the “temporary” spirit of it when they brought on three permanent blood substitutes. Altogether, they made eight substitutes. The late Dublin chairman Andy Kettle said a previous DRA ruling stopped them from contesting the result but said: “I understand the version given from Croke Park is once you come on as a temporary substitute you can be a substitute for the whole game but I don’t believe in that. If you interpret it that way, in my mind, it would be in the spirit of the rule.”

6. Flynn red card, 2012 Division 1

In this rescheduled match easily won by Mayo in Castlebar, Dublin’s frustrations came to the fore when Flynn and later Diarmuid Connolly were given their marching orders, Flynn for a lunge at Colm Boyle and Connolly for a second yellow card.

7. Stephen Cluxton’s red card, 2014 Division 1

The Dublin captain was given his marching orders by Cormac Reilly when he kicked out at Kevin McLoughlin who had stopped him attempting a quick kick-out. It was the second time Cluxton was given his marching orders after a similar incident involving Steven McDonnell in a 2003 qualifier.

8. Ger Brennan’s red card, 2013 Division 1

The centre-back was sent to the line by Reilly when he kicked out at Michael Conroy who was lying on the ground.

9. Flynn v O’Shea, 2013 Division 1 games

For an otherwise clean footballer, Flynn figures quite a lot in our list but in the two matches with Mayo that year he and O’Shea went at each other hammer and tongs. Were there more TV cameras on them it’s quite likely the pair would have faced suspensions. Their gripe with one another seemed to go back to the Sigerson Cup final earlier that year.

10. Connolly’s sending off, 2012 Division 1

Connolly followed Flynn for an early shower when he was deemed by referee Michael Duffy to have transgressed a second time and was duly shown another yellow card. Then Dublin manager Pat Gilroy said he was disgusted with the lack of discipline not just by the aforementioned pair but by his team and in 2012 up to that date.


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