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Dessie Farrell makes a confession as Dublin suffering damaging defeat to Mayo

Green and Red boss James Horan 'very pleased' with Allianz NFL Division 1 win at Croke Park

Diarmuid O’Connor of Mayo in action against Brian Howard of Dublin during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Mayo ended a 51-year wait for a league win over Dublin in Croke Park.

Having ended Dublin’s bid for a seventh All-Ireland win after a dramatic extra-time success in last year’s semi-final Mayo followed it up by achieving their first league win over Dublin since 2012 and their first win in the competition over the arch-rivals on Dublin soil since 1971.

The pendulum in this most engrossing of football rivalries has suddenly swung in favour of James Horan’s side.

Dublin boss Dessie Farrell said he was disappointed with his side’s second half performance.

“I thought we did a lot of things right in the first half, conceded two goals that you just can’t afford to be conceding at this level but definitely the first half was much more positive from our perspective. Second half not so much," he said.

"We’re in an uncertain situation at the minute and all we can do is keep working hard and keep trying to learn from previous performances and take it one game at a time.

"We’ll look at the tape again and figure out what we were doing wrong, what we were doing right and try and bring those learnings with us the next day."

James Horan said it was very pleased with Mayo’s win.

“I’m very pleased with the win and I suppose the reasons why we did win it," he said.

"In condition like that there is going to be lots of ball on the ground, lot of things skidding. We won the majority of the ball on the ground which is very pleasing. It shows good intent. We kept going. Made lots of mistakes and could have scored heavier.

"But overall on the basics on a wet night we did a lot of good things,” said the Mayo boss who has now guided the team to back-to-back wins over Dublin on two occasions in his managerial career.

First half goals from Aidan Orme and an own goal from Evan Comerford after a shot from Jack Carney struck the upright was the difference between the sides on the night that Dublin only scored three points in the second half.

Given how many regulars were missing from the Mayo time this was a huge boost to their morale.

After achieving back-to-back wins over Dublin for the first time in a decade they have broken a spell which seen them eliminated from the All-Ireland series by Dublin on six occasions between 2013 and 2020 – four of those losses were in All-Ireland finals – as well as losing eight of the last nine league outings before this encounter.

The other game was a draw.

It was another miserable night for Dublin who remain rooted to the foot of Division 1 after their worst start of a season in 21 years. In 2001 they lost their opening three league games to Tyrone, Offaly, and Roscommon respectively.

They still survived in the top-flight; so, Dessie Farrell will be hoping that history can repeat itself though three of their remaining matches - against Kildare, Tyrone, and Monaghan - are away from home.

Their only home game is against Donegal on March 20. But it was listless second half performance particularly up front where none of the starting forwards scored from play which will set the alarm bells ringing.

Michael Fitzsimons returned to the Dublin team for the first time since last year’s All-Ireland semi-final while Ross McGarry was preferred to Lorcan O’Dell at right corner-forward. There were no late changes on the Mayo team.

Just 16 of the players – nine from Dublin – who started the semi-final last August – were back in action at the throw-in.

On a wet but mild evening it was first blood to Mayo with Diarmuid O’Connor pointing after just ten seconds. A long ball won straight from the throw-in caught out the Dublin defence. Had the centre-forward being a bit more ambitious, he had a clear run on the goal.

Dublin were guilty of a plethora of unforced errors in the early exchanges – though in the conditions ball handling was very difficult.

A mistake from Brian Howard who coughed up possession to Paul Towey and then conceded a free led to Mayo’s second point. A quickly taken free found the unmarked Matthew Ruane who pointed.

But points in quick succession from Sean Bugler after Dean Rock had kept a rebound from Ciaran Kilkenny in play and an excellent individual point from Kilkenny had the teams level after ten minutes.

Mayo were overzealous at times with Jordan Flynn and Ryan O’Donoghue both being booked. They coughed up a goal chance after 15 minutes when Rock linked up with Niall Scully but Rob Hennelly advanced rapidly and saved his effort.

David Gough was playing an advantage and brought the play for a free which Rock pointed and he added another a couple of moment later when the referee spotted Bryan Walsh committing an off the ball.

Mayo who had been experiencing problems winning their own kick-out suddenly hit a purple path hitting an 1-3 in a blistering five-minute spell with just one response from Dublin.

After points from Ruane and Oisin Mullin levelled the tie Kilkenny won a mark outjumping Mayo’s rookie full-back Rory Brickenden which pointing the free shot.

Mayo then struck at the Hill 16 end when Diarmuid O’Connor found Jack Carney free and in space on the Hogan Stand side.

His shot hit the butt of the upright but the rebound struck Dublin goalkeeper Evan Comerford who had dived to save the original effort and the ball rolled over the line for an own goal.

Even though Aidan Orme added another point to stretch Mayo’s lead to three for the first time Dublin struck back with a converted mark from Ross McGarry and a long-range free from Rock.

McGarry levelled the tie for the third time four minutes from the break before Mayo split the Dublin defence for a second time with a through ball from Diarmuid O’Connor doing the damage. Orme released Ryan O’Donoghue.

The chance looked lost when the All Star attempted a return pass, but Orme managed to get his fist to the ball despite the close attention of Mick Fitzsimons and forced it over the line.

Soon afterwards Fitzsimons who became the fourth player to be booked – John Small had been yellow carded earlier.

Dublin’s best player Ciaran Kilkenny hit Dublin’s ninth point before Rob Hennelly pointed a long range free in injury time to leave the visitors ahead 2-6 to 0-9 at the break.

Dublin missed two chances at the start of the second half to narrow the gap while Jordan Flynn had a dreadful wide for Mayo with options inside.

However, they did extend their lead when Hennelly converted a long range free after David Byrne fouled Paul Towey but it was a cheap turnover which was the root cause of the score.

Hennelly went back to basics soon afterwards brilliantly pushing a pile driver from Dublin substitute Lorcan O’Dell over the bar.

As the rain poured down again Dublin began winning vital turn-overs, with a combination of Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny stripping Ruane of the ball but Dublin’s shot selection was woeful.

Mayo’s was only marginally better though Michael Plunkett did extend their lead to four after 51 minutes.

The two sides started to run the bench with Mayo introducing Kevin McLoughlin and Conor Loftus while Jonny Cooper made his first appearance of the season which allowed Tom Lahiff move into an attacking role.

Bryan Walsh made it a five-point game in the 56th minute as Oisin Mullin drove Mayo forward but he picked up an injury soon afterwards but was replaced by Enda Hession.

Aidan O’Shea was introduced with eight minutes of normal time remaining, but Dublin continued to kick woeful wides at the other end with two long range efforts from Brian Howard being most un-Dublin-like in their both their executive and the decision to shoot from long range.

Michael Plunkett got free again on the right flank to kick his second point of the night. John Small’s point in the 70th minute was only Dublin’s second half from play in the half

Though Dublin had the lion’s share of possession in the five minutes of injury time a 75th minute point from Diarmuid O’Connor secured a famous win for the Connacht side. Credit to Mayo but this was a dreadful performance from Dublin in the second half.

The official attendance was 24,180.

Scorers – Dublin: D Rock 0-4, (4f), C Kilkenny 0-3, 1m, R McGarry 0-2, 1m, S Bugler L O’Dell, J Small 0-1 each. Mayo: A Orme 1-1, E Comerford 1-0, (og), M Ruane, D O’Connor, R Hennelly 0-2 (1 free, 1 45), M Plunkett 0-2 each; O Mullin, B Walsh 0-1 each.

Dublin: E Comerford; D Byrne, M Fitzsimons, S McMahon; L Gannon, J Small, T Lahiff; B Fenton, B Howard; N Scully, C Kilkenny, S Bugler R McGarry, R Basquel, D Rock. Subs: L O’Dell for McGarry (40), J Cooper for Basquel (50), A Wright for Howard, C Murphy for Gannon (both 65), Harry Ladd for Scully (71).

Mayo: R Hennelly; L Keegan, R Brickenden, M Plunkett; O Mullin, S Coen, D McHugh; M Ruane, J Flynn; B Walsh, D O’Connor, J Carney; P Towey, R O’Donoghue, A Orme. Subs: K McLoughlin for Carney, C Loftus for Towey (both 49), E Hession for Mullin (60), A O’Shea for Ruane (62), F Boland for O’Donoghue (65), E McLoughlin for Plunket (temp, 72).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).

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