Brogan proves too hot for Mayo to handle

Dublin's Ger Brennan clashes with Mayo's Donal Vaughan at Croke Park on Saturday night. photograph: ryan byrne/inpho

Dublin's Ger Brennan clashes with Mayo's Donal Vaughan at Croke Park on Saturday night. photograph: ryan byrne/inpho

Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 00:00

Dublin 2-14 Mayo 0-18:Bernard Brogan should have been allowed take the match ball home. It did everything he asked it to do on Saturday night as Dublin maintained their perfect start under Jim Gavin’s new regime.

But Mayo manager James Horan provided some context to the 28-year-old’s haul of 1-10.

“Ger Caff’ was on him and didn’t do a whole pile wrong,” said Horan. “When you have a player with the calibre of Bernard Brogan and you give the guys kicking the ball in the amount of time they had, yourself could put in a pass to him and he’s going to score it.”

Still, for a few hectic minutes, this felt awfully like championship football under lights. Mayo eventually faded but until they did there was a frenetic pace and intensity from both teamson a mild night.

Shelving Dublin’s undeniable quality and movement, discipline remain a serious concern.

So much ball flows through Ger Brennan. Granted, the centre-back’s dismissal five minutes into the second half drew a response from his remaining 14 team-mates but on another day it could prove costly.

The entire incident will be reviewed by the central disciplinary committee and it will be interesting to learn for what offence referee Cormac Reilly brandished the red card.

There were three.

The high tackle on Michael Conroy probably only merited a yellow, the subsequent kick to his midriff will be debated as the ball was wedged under Conroy’s body, while the subsequent raised elbow in a tangle with Donal Vaughan led to a full-scale skirmish.

“I still haven’t been told what he was sent off for. The bit I saw was their six [Vaughan] coming in after with high hands and their 14 [Conroy] coming in to Ger . . . Obviously we are going to have to review it,” said Gavin.

In trouble

With 30 minutes remaining and leading by a single point, Dublin looked in trouble.

But Brogan’s dream season continues to gain pace. His 11 scores were partnered by some excellent distribution and a spectacular late sideline effort.

The supporting cast also impressed. Kevin McManamon came in for a hamstrung Tomás Brady on 19 minutes and spurned two goal chances before availing of Ciarán Kilkenny’s superb pass and expertly placing Dublin’s second goal in the Hill en after 49 minutes.

That score, finally, put Mayo to bed. “Disappointed with a lot of things but actually happy enough with some things,” said Horan, seeing the bigger picture. “Dublin played very well, they are electric at the moment and very pacy. . . ”

Mayo threatened to catch fire as they hit six unanswered points in the middle of the first half. Aidan O’Shea’s nicely clipped score was followed over the next nine minutes by Jason Doherty’s brace, Enda Varley, Lee Keegan and Doherty again.

Brogan responded. His 33rd-minute goal came after a slick interchange with Paul Flynn to leave it 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval.

Kilkenny made his first start of the year for Dublin in Alan Brogan’s play-making role. It is his position now. Clearly, there is more to come from him.

Doherty kept the scoreboard ticking over for Mayo and soon after Brennan walked they eased into a 0-13 to 1-9 lead.

Dublin then missed a penalty as Kenneth O’Malley saved low from Stephen Cluxton but they had another gear. And a second goal; McManamon shrugging off Keith Higgins before curling a finish beyond O’Malley.

Brogan took over, reaming off three points, each one better than the previous, as Mayo’s inaccuracy ruined any chance of a late revival.

“It’s slowly getting there,” said Gavin. “Long road ahead of us and it’s only the start.”

DUBLIN:S Cluxton (capt); D Daly, R O’Carroll, K O’Brien; J Cooper, G Brennan, J McCaffrey; D O’Mahony, C O’Sullivan (0-1); P Flynn, T Brady, C Reddin, C Kilkenny; P Andrews (0-2), B Brogan (1-10, 0-5 frees, 0-1 sideline). Subs: K McManamon (1-1) for T Brady (19 mins, inj), D Nelson for R O’Carroll (half-time), B Cullen for C Reddin (51 mins), P Quinn for C Kilkenny (60 mins), N Devereux for J McCaffrey (64 mins). MAYO:K O’Malley; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins (capt); L Keegan (0-3), D Vaughan, C Boyle; J Gibbons, B Moran; K McLoughlin (0-3, 0-2 frees), A O’Shea (0-1), R Feeney; E Varley (0-2), J Doherty (0-6, 0-3 frees), M Conroy (0-1). Subs: C Carolan for J Gibbons (44 mins), S O’Shea for B Moran (51 mins), T Cunniffe for R Feeney (61 mins). Referee: C Reilly (Meath)

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