Just once have Dublin failed to score a goal against Mayo and their nine points were still enough to win in a dour Division 1 game in Castlebar three years ago. They have scored 24 goals in the 14 matches, scoring three goals on two occasions and two goals in half of the meetings.
Just twice have Dublin not been in front or level at the break - the 2013 All-Ireland final and ‘14 league fixture. In total, Dublin have been ahead at the turnaround in 11 of the counties’ clashes.
Of the 24 Dublin goals, 13 have been scored before half-time while four have been produced by substitutes. Breaking down Dublin’s goals, Bernard Brogan tops the list with five followed by Kevin McManamon (four), Diarmuid Connolly (penalties), Paul Mannion and Eoghan O’Gara (two), Denis Bastick, Cormac Costello, Conor McHugh, Philly McMahon, Con O’Callaghan, Niall Scully and Jason Whelan (one) as well as two own-goals.
Rob Hennelly has begun nine of the 14 games, conceding 15 goals. Including his black card replacement of Hennelly in the 2016 final replay after which he was beaten by Diarmuid Connolly from the penalty spot, David Clarke has picked the ball out of his net seven times but started four matches, while Kenneth O’Malley was in the nets for that first clash back in 2013.
As for the seven Mayo goals against Gavin’s Dublin, it’s Lee Keegan and Cillian O’Connor (one penalty) with two each, Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran and Mikey Sweeney. Dublin have kept seven clean sheets, Stephen Cluxton between the posts for six of them (he also kept his goal quiet before being sent off in the 2014 league encounter). Mayo have now gone over 200 minutes of action without finding the Dublin net.
Not since the 2016 All-Ireland final replay have Mayo managed a first-half goal - Keegan’s expertly-taken goal in the 18th minute. That is the only game in the last 10 against Mayo when Dublin have failed to find the net in the opening period. Only on four occasions have Dublin not scored a first-half goal.
This evening is the second time Conor Lane has managed a game between Gavin’s Dublin and Mayo. He was the man in the middle for the surreal drawn All-Ireland final of 2016. The breakdown of referees for the 14 games is: Joe McQuillan (four) and Barry Cassidy, David Coldrick, Maurice Deegan, Michael Duffy (retired), Pádraig Hughes, Eddie Kinsella (retired), Lane, Paddy Neilan, Pádraig O’Sullivan and Cormac Reilly (one).
Across championship, the average difference between the two counties since 2013 is a solitary point per game. But incorporate the eight league meetings, of which Dublin have won all but one, and the margin increases to 4.28 points per game. The biggest winning margin for Dublin came in the 2015 Allianz Division 1, Round 4 clash in Castlebar when they dismissed the home side by 14 points.
He may have Mayo blood but few Dublin players have enjoyed facing the county as much as Bernard Brogan. A total of 5-23 when featuring in nine of the 14 games against Mayo is quite the record.
There are many many Mayo survivors from the league game that began the run six years ago still available to James Horan. But Stephen Cluxton, Jonny Cooper, Jack McCaffrey, Cian O’Sullivan, and Ciarán Kilkenny are the only Dubliners that started that day expected to do so again later today.
Speaking of Kilkenny, Dublin don’t reveal much about their game-plan but he had highlighted how they had honed in on the stat that 48% of Mayo’s scores in 2017 came from defence. Of their 7-180 against Dublin in these 14 encounters, 2-40 came from outside the forward line (22.8%). A sizeable 1-82 (42.2%) of Mayo’s scores have come from dead balls in contrast to Dublin’s 2-56 of 24-189 (17.1%).
All but three of the 14 games have been played in Croke Park but don’t go believing that such home advantage skews or takes away from this superiority Dublin have had over Mayo — the three draws all came in HQ.
According to Michael Murphy earlier this week, a team needs to score 2-20 to beat this current Dublin team. Being on the one team that have beaten Gavin’s Dublin in championship, he should know.
The Dubs have advanced from 2014 when Donegal’s 3-14 gave them a six-point margin. Just once have Mayo broken the 20-point level against Dublin when they drew that 2014 league game. Dublin, on the other hand, have hit or reached 20 points six times against Mayo in this timeframe.
Twelve black cards have been administered in their 12 meetings since the disciplinary measure was brought in five years ago. There have also been six red cards.