Mayo legend David Brady analyses the semi-final draw
David Brady believes the key to Mayo's magnificent comeback against Dublin today was showing less respect for their much-vaunted opponents and throwing the shackles off in the latter stages.
Jim Gavin's side were in cruise control leading 2-12 to 0-11 points heading into the final ten minutes when the Connacht champions showed incredible resilience to somehow salvage a draw with a series of inspirational scores.
The former Mayo star felt the game would have been left behind were it not for a radical change in tactics which saw Mayo pushing up man on man and in turn forcing Stephen Cluxton to kick 50/50 ball to the middle of the park.
"The difference was we stopped giving away kick-outs, we were showing them way too much respect but our game plan was to do that. They had acres of time on the ball and when you have time you create openings," Brady said.
"We completely changed in the second half. We went man on man and we stopped showing them respect. You have to go for it. You have to throw caution to the wind. We were second-class citizens for a long time but we never stopped trying."
Brady lauded the impeccable free-taking display put on by Ballintubber's Cillian O'Connor, who kicked 1-9 from placed balls including a second-half penalty, and kept his side in the game despite no forward scoring from play in the first half.
Mayo's forwards failed to create any traction for large periods with Aidan O'Shea forced to feed on scraps at full-forward with little or no assistance but crucially they never threw in the towel and battled gamely to the finish, a trait they are not best known for.
"Cillian was phenomenal, he didn't miss a free. His '45 after the second Dublin goal was sheer class, he had no right to kick that with all the pressure that was on it," Brady said.
"We hit 4-5 wides when we were a point down and I thought we were after kicking it away. Then, after Alan Brogan's point it should have been game, set and match to Dublin but we refused to die and it was great to see."
The turning point of the game was O'Connor's penalty, a dubious call after Colm Boyle was adjudged to have been fouled inside the large parallelogram, but Brady feels it was the least they deserved after a similar decision went in Dublin's favour earlier.
"It wasn't a penalty, it was either give up or go down. Neither was the Dublin penalty either though so they balance each other out. Cluxton did well not to take Andy Moran down for his shot too because he had a big decision to make."
Dublin suffered the loss of Michael Darragh MacAuley and Denis Bastick due to black cards, Rory O'Carroll to injury while Diarmuid Connolly was dismissed late in the game as the Leinster champions displayed a level of cynicism not previously shown.
Brady thinks Gavin got his tactics right playing a defensive system to shut down O'Shea and he feels that Dublin will be at full strength for next Saturday's clash after the GAA set a dangerous disciplinary precedent a few weeks ago.
"If Kevin Keane can get off for striking then the GAA have set a precedent and no one can be suspended. Connolly will be free to play next week, sure what constitutes a ban now?
Mayo are in the driving seat going forward according to Brady and the man who once famously said he'd wear a g-string if Mayo won the All-Ireland believes all the momentum is with them.
He said: "I always think the team that finishes the stronger has the advantage and given where Mayo have come from with ten minutes to play, they have to be much the happier team. We all look forward to the replay now in Limerick (laughs)."