Here are three major turning points from yesterday’s drawn game...
The first own goal was bad enough but the second had the potential to rip the heart out of Mayo completely, particularly given the fact that David Clarke had kept out another Brian Fenton effort with his legs in between the two calamities. Think of it — you keep Dublin forwards scoreless for the first half-hour and still trail by a goal. The response, then, was exceptional. Andy Moran fielding a superb diagonal ball in and feeding Donal Vaughan for a superbly-taken point. Dublin would ultimately push ahead by double scores by the break but Mayo’s refusal to accept what seemed like the cruel hand of fate – twice – set the tone for the last-gasp fightback in second-half injury-time.
Cillian O’Connor had just kicked Mayo level from a free with 24 minutes of normal time to play after what had been a blistering start to the second-half by Stephen Rochford’s side, but the chance to claim the lead – for the first time since the ninth minute - and deliver a major statement of intent at a crucial interval was frittered away by an ill-conceived effort from Seamus O’Shea that landed miles wide. O’Shea was replaced by Alan Dillon within ten minutes after one too many frivolous contributions with ball in hand but that particular one was made all the more painful given Dublin quickly worked it upfield and landed another score through the excellent Brian Fenton. Mayo wouldn’t get another shot at the leading score. Costly.
The last dregs were draining from the seven, long minutes of injury-time declared by referee Conor Lane when Diarmuid Connolly wrestled for the ball with, of all people, Ciaran Kilkenny. It made for a strange scene. The latter clearly wanted to kill that bit more time, play the sideline ball short and frustrate a desperate opponent, but Connolly had very different thoughts. The resultant kick from far out and underneath the Hogan Lower flew high and wide right of the Mayo posts and it allowed the Connacht side to launch a quick counter down their left through Clarke and it would ultimately set the foundations for O’Connor’s equalising score. Not the first time Connolly’s suspect temperament got the better of him.
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