Dublin toast more history after dramatic All Ireland replay win
Dublin 1-15; Mayo 1-14
DUBLIN footballers wrote a fresh chapter in their astonishing success story of recent seasons when at the second time of asking they justified their favourites' tag and retained the Sam Maguire Cup after an absorbing replay in Croke Park.
On a nightmare evening for Mayo, goalkeeper Robert Hennelly was blacked carded early in the second half and Diarmuid Connolly netted the resultant penalty which proved the crucial score.
Mayo also lost Lee Keegan to a black card while Dublin lost Jonny Cooper but three points from substitute Cormac Costello brought home the silverware for the Dubs as Cillian O'Connor missed a chance at the death from a 35m free to bring the game to extra time.
Jim Gavin's charges became the first team to win back to back All-Ireland titles since Kerry did the double under different managers in 2006-07.
As expected neither side lined out as selected. Dublin dropped two former Footballers of the Year, Bernard Brogan and Michael Darragh Macauley along with rookie corner back David Byrne. He was replaced by Michael Fitzsimons with Paul Mannion and Paddy Andrews being introduced up front. David Flynn partnered Brian Fenton at midfield.
Mayo dropped a bombshell by omitting first choice goalkeeper David Clarke – he was replaced by Rob Hennelly. Given that the latter is a proven long range free taker, the decision fuelled speculation that Cillian O'Connor was carrying an injury.
But Hennelly's kick-outs landed his side in trouble right from the start as he miscued the first three and handed early scores to Dublin with Rock (3) and Kevin McManamon hitting points – indeed Rock had a goal chance after seven minutes but he opted to fisted the ball over the bar.
It was an altogether more positive start to the contest from a Dublin perspective compared to the replay but a point from wing back Paddy Durcan settled Mayo's nerves.
Dublin's wing back John Small was decidedly fortunate not to receive a black card after he hand-tripped Andy Moran who had dispossessed him after he received a a short kick out from Hennelly.
Mayo were now on a roll and two more points from an O'Connor free and Andy Moran tied up the scores at 0-4 each after 13 minutes.
There was significant more movement in the Dublin forward line compared to the drawn match and significantly they were winning frees with Rock notching two more frees before Mayo struck back with a brilliant goal.
Aidan O'Shea, who was operating between full forward and centre forward, breezed past Cian O'Sullivan and linked up with Lee Keegan (below) who was powering through the centre and he drove the ball to the corner of the net.
In the aftermath Jason Doherty knocked over Jonny Cooper and the game was held up for a couple of minutes at the full back received treatment.
When play resumed Cooper carried the ball into a tackle at midfield and the referee adjudged that he had hand tripped Donal Vaughan and he was black carded with David Byrne taking his place.
But the drama was only starting. A minute before the break Kevin McLoughlin was caught in possession by Dean Rock – he probably thought he should have won a free but the referee waved play on and the decision had serious ramifications for Mayo.
From the resultant attack Diarmuid Connolly notched his first point of the contest and the resultant short kick out from Hennelly was intercepted and in the resultant play Lee Keegan pulled down Connolly and the referee flashed Mayo's All Star a black card – he was replaced by Stephen Coen.
Rock nailed the free - his eighth point of the half – to give his side a two point advantage again and Seamus O'Shea won a free off Paul Flynn which O'Connor converted to leave the game delicately balanced at the break with Dublin leading 0-10 to 1-6.
But disaster struck Mayo in the 40th minute. Hennelly dropped a simple cross-field ball from Paul Flynn and compounded the error when he pulled down Paddy Andrews in the square. The goalkeeper was black carded and Diarmuid Connolly confidently blasted the penalty past replacement keeper David Clarke (below).
The tension was incredible as Mayo refused to die; but with Cillian O'Connor opting not to kick the ball theey had few attacking option while at the other end Kevin McManamon had appeals for a penalty turned down.
Points from O'Connor (free) and ten minutes later from Kevin McLoughlin left the minimum between the sides before substitute Bernard Brogan restored Dublin's two point advantage.
A monster point from Paddy Durcan gave Mayo renewed hope but then two points on the spin from Dublin substitute Cormac Costello put the Dubs back in the driving seat with ten minutes remaining.
Two more O'Connor frees left the minimum between the sides with less than four minutes of normal time remaining – a long range shot for an equaliser from substitute Conor O'Shea dropped short. Dublin now had 14 players back in their own half but Paul Flynn and James McCarthy both missed chances in breakaway attacks.
But substitute Cormac Costello proved his worth with his third point after excellent play from Michael Darragh Macauley in the first of the allocated six minutes of injury time. O'Connor nailed his ninth free to leave the minimum between the sides again but he missed a chance to sending the game into extra time when he his free from 35m drifted left and wide 30 seconds from the end. Dublin survived.
The official attendance was 82,249
Dublin: D Rock 0-9 7f; D Connolly 1-1, C Costello 0-3, K McManamon 0-1; B Brogan 0-1.
Mayo: C O'Connor 0-9, 9f, L Keegan 1-0; P Durcan 0-2, A Moran 0-1, D O'Connor 0-1, K McLoughlin 0-1
Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon, J Cooper, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton, P Andrews; P Flynn, K McManamon, C Kilkenny; D Rock, D Connolly, P Mannion SubsD Byrne for Cooper (BC) 21m; B Brogan for Andrews 47m; MD Macauley for Mannion 52m, C Costello for McMenamon 56m, E Lowndes for Small 60m, D Daly for O'Sullivan 71m
Mayo: R Hennelly; B Harrison, D Vaughan, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; S O'Shea, T Parsons; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, D O'Connors; J Doherty, A Moran, C O'Connor. Subs: S Coen for Keegan (BC) 35 +2m, C O'Shea for Vaughan ht; D Clarke for Hennelly (BC) 41m, B Moran for A Moran 55m, A Dillon for Doherty 60m, C Barrett for Boyle 71.
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)