It's Jack magic as Dublin extend Mayo curse
Dublin remain on course to capture their third All-Ireland title in five seasons after knocking out perennial contenders Mayo in front of 81,879 fans at Croke Park last night.
Even though they were a few bumps along the route the anticipated All-Ireland final showdown between Dublin and title holders Kerry will come to pass in two weeks’ time.
It will be the thirteenth time that the counties have clashed in the All-Ireland showdown and the first since 2011 when Stephen Cluxton’s injury time free won it.
But while Dublin can look forward to the decider after a traumatic week it’s more despair for Mayo who has now lost two All-Ireland semi-final replays on the spin.
Having come back from the dead a week ago there was no reprieve for the five in- a-row provincial champions
Right now that All-Ireland title remains as elusive as ever but given the age profile of the squad they can still capture Sam.
But they ought to spend the next nine months road testing their new defensive system which remains a work in progress.
A three-goal second half blast from the Dubs sealed the issue after Mayo had looked on course for a win when they led by four points early in the third quarter after a Cillian O’Connor goal.
Ultimately the Dublin substitutes, particularly Michael Darragh Macauley, made a huge impact but the Dubs ability to score goals ultimately sealed the issue.This was
Dublin’s first appearance in a championship replay since 2007. With Diarmuid Connolly cleared to play they made one change – Denis Bastick started instead of Macauley at midfield.
For Mayo this was familiar territory having lost to Kerry after extra time in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. Despite retiring with a damaged shoulder in the drawn encounter
Donal Vaughan was declared fit to start – he lasted until just before the break before being replaced by Patrick Durcan. In the only change in personnel Barry Moran replaced David Drake.
Paddy Andrews was the most influential player in the early exchanges kicking two points despite being marked by Keith Higgins.
Having kicked Mayo’s third point from play in the tenth minute to level the tie Cillian O’Connor was booked for a late foul on Stephen Cluxton. After Mayo coughed up a kick out Dublin won a free but from the 45m line Dean Rock’s effort lacked conviction and drifted wide.
Dublin were comfortably winning all their kick-outs but lacked conviction going forward and aided by the breeze Mayo tagged on points from Kevin McLoughlin and O’Connor (free) – which was moved forward after dissent – to move two points clear.
The second quarter produced more open football. Dublin’s running game was exposing chinks in the Mayo defence Andrews kicked two more points while Ciaran Kilkenny added a brace.
However, Mayo stayed in touch mostly through O’Connor’s frees, though Aidan O’Shea (left) – who wasn’t having much joy up front – did register his first score of the contest. After an entertaining first half the sides were locked at 0-10 each, but as in the drawn encounter Dublin had played most of the football.
Dublin’s ability to attack from deep yielded the majority of their first half scores. So even though Diarmuid Connolly was largely an anonymous figure Dublin still looked the most potent side.
Chris Barrett switched onto Dublin’s in-form forward Paddy Andrews but Mayo had other worries when they lost Seamus O’Shea two minutes into the second half – he was blacked carded for pulling down Jonny Cooper after delivering a pass.
But it was Mayo who made the best start to the half with O’Connor pointing a free before Andy Moran – who had replaced O’Shea – set up Cillian O’Connor who a goal in front of the Hill. It was like slow motion but the full forward got the necessary touch despite being fouled to guide it over the line.
Lee Keegan squandered a glorious chance to put Mayo five clear after 43 minutes as Dublin introduced substitutes Macauley and Michael Fitzsimons. Dean Rock converted one free but missed another long range effort as Mayo began to defend far too deeply.
Alan Brogan replaced an out of sorts Paul Flynn but Mayo substitute Patrick Durcan made it a three point game after 52 minutes. But the game was effectively decided in a three minute spell coming up the hour mark.
Alan Brogan linked up with Brian Fenton on the right side of the Dublin attack and the latter’s low cross was booted to the net by Bernard Brogan.
Ninety seconds later it was Bernard who turned provider sucking in two Mayo defenders and the goalkeeper on the left side before crossing invitingly as Philly McMahon touched it over the line for a second goal.
Mayo protested but the goal stood and Andrews and McMahon increased Dublin’s advantage. Indeed together with Andrews who hit five points from play McMahon was
Dublin’s leading scorer from play with a 1-2 tally. Dublin sealed their final place with a late goal from substitute McManamon.
Scorers: Dublin: P Andrews (0-5), K McManamon 1-1, C Kilkenny
(0-2), B Brogan (1-1) D Rock (0-2 2f) B Fenton (0-1), P McMahon (1-2) J McCarthy (0-1) Mayo: C O’Connor (1-6, 5f ),
D O’Connor (0-2), A O’Shea (0-1), K McLoughlin (0-1), L Keegan (0-1), B Moran (0-1), P Durcan 0-1, A Moran 0-1, 1f)
Subs:Dublin: M D Macauley for Bastick 44m; M Fitzsimons for Cooper 44m, A Brogan for Flynn 52m; K McMenamon for Rock 53m, E Lowdnes for Connolly 68m
Mayo: P Durcan for Vaughan 34m; A Moran for S O’Shea (BC) 37m; A Freeman for B Moran 54m, D Drake for Boyle 59m, S Coen for Parsons 64m; M Ronaldson for McLoughlin 68m