ALL THINGS IRELAND: MAYO FAIL TO WIN SAM AGAIN
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

MAYO FAIL TO WIN SAM AGAIN

Dublin retained the All-Ireland SFC title for the first time in 39 years with a tense one-point replay final victory over Mayo at Croke Park.
A dramatic rematch lived up to expectations as Sam Maguire stays in the capital. With the 1-15 to 1-14 win, the Boys in Blue become the first Dublin team to claim back-to-back All-Irelands since the victorious sides of 1976-77.



The game had numerous highlights, with each side losing important players to black cards, while Diarmuid Connolly slotted away a second-half penalty for the Dubs.


After a fiery first half, Dublin led by one at break, 0-10 to 1-6, in front of a crowd of 82,249.

There was drama even prior to the opening whistle as Dublin boss Jim Gavin made three switches with Paddy Andrews in for Bernard Brogan, Paul Mannion replacing Michael Darragh Macauley, while Michael Fitzsimons came in for David Byrne. Mannion played in a forward role with Paul Flynn roaming closer to midfield. Contrary to pre-match speculation, Kevin McManamon retained his starting place.

Mayo also made a late change with keeper Rob Hennelly taking over from David Clarke between the posts in a surprise move from manager Stephen Rochford.


The Dubs started well, kicking four points between the fourth and sixth minutes, with Dean Rock back on form from dead balls after struggling at times during the drawn game.


Rock kicked all but two of Dublin’s first-half tally – Connolly and McManamon scoring the others - while they managed to survive the loss to Johnny Cooper to a 20th-minute black card, with Byrne taking his place.

Mayo scored the opening goal two minutes prior to that as Aidan O’Shea set up Lee Keegan to raise a green flag, but the Connacht side lost the latter to a black card on the stroke of half-time.


Tempers threatened to spill over in the aftermath of that call from referee Maurice Deegan, who played over eight minutes of first-half injury-time due to the lengthy delay caused by a number of incidents.


Keegan’s departure was bad news for Mayo as he had once again been assigned to mark Dubs star forward Connolly – although the St Vincent’s man was one of three players booked just before the break, along with Mayo’s Donal Vaughan and Dublin defender John Small.
Small could count himself lucky to stay on the field after TV replays appeared to show him tripping Andy Moran.

If there wasn’t enough excitement in the first half, the second period delivered even more.

Mayo had scored two points through Cillian O’Connor and Conor O’Shea to take the lead, but a high ball in from Flynn on top of Hennelly caused real trouble for the Mayo keeper.
He spilled the ball to Paddy Andrews and then took down the Dublin forward, the keeper earning himself a black card.

Mayo had scored two points through Cillian O’Connor and Conor O’Shea to take the lead, but a high ball in from Flynn on top of Hennelly caused real trouble for the Mayo keeper.
He spilled the ball to Paddy Andrews and then took down the Dublin forward, the keeper earning himself a black card.

It looked like the Dubs had their opponents on the ropes at this stage, with Brogan introduced for Andrews while Macauley came on for Mannion as it seemed Gavin wanted his men to close out the game.
But Mayo continued to fight and they scored two points while holding Dublin scoreless for 12 minutes before Brogan got the Dubs back on track.
It was a one-point game on 56 minutes after Patrick Durcan kicked a super point for Mayo, but Dublin sub Cormac Costello proved to be a great introduction as he kicked two points just minutes after coming on.
O’Connor once again put the minimum between the sides with less than five minutes left in normal time, converting his eighth free of the match.

But with his biggest kick of the match, nearly six minutes into injury-time, O’Connor’s shooting boots failed him as he put a free wide when in a position to draw the contest as he did two weeks ago.

And the Dubs held on retain their title with a one-point win.


So the agonizing sixty five year wait goes on for never-say-die  Mayo.


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