Brogan’s brace secures All-Ireland glory for Dublin
Mayo let superiority slip as Jim Gavin’s side come good in second half
Dublin’s Bernard Brogan celebrates scoring his first goal during the All-Ireland Final at Croke Park in Dublin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-14: For the second time in three years, Dublin are All-Ireland champions after a one-point victory over Mayo in Croke Park.
A huge second-half effort, particularly in the period just after half-time, pushed them clear of a Mayo side that weren’t able to convert their early dominance into enough of a lead to win the day. Two goals from Bernard Brogan, one in each half, were enough to give Dublin the upper hand in what turned out to be every bit as close a contest as we’d anticipated.
Mayo will feel that they left a massive chance behind them here. They were the better side in the first half by a distance but didn’t score enough to press home their advantage. If a dominant theme in the build-up was the need for Mayo to avoid handing Dublin a quick start, very few were suggesting that the way to ensure it would be for them to blaze from the blocks themselves. Mayo started with no nerves, no inhibitions.
Even when Cillian O’Connor missed his first two frees – the first two he’s missed all year – they didn’t let it affect them. Andy Moran got them off the mark and his point was followed inside the opening 10 minutes by further scores from Lee Keegan and Keith Higgins. All Dublin had in response was an opportunist point from Diarmuid Connolly, handed to him when a quick free out of the Mayo defence went awry.
The Mayo attack were well on top and they led 0-4 to 0-1 after 13 minutes. Dublin looked nervous throughout the team and when Paul Mannion had to go off injured on 15 minutes to be replaced by Eoghan O’Gara, they looked to be in trouble.
But Bernard Brogan’s one contribution of a half in which he was well marshalled by Ger Cafferkey came as Mannion limped off. Paul Flynn dropped a long ball in onto the edge of the square and Brogan got first touch on it. The ball flicked off Cafferkey’s hand and dropped into the net behind Rob Hennelly. Despite having been well out of the game, Dublin were level at 1-1 to 0-4.
Mayo kicked on, unperturbed. Their one problem was their shooting. They had five wides on the board after just 20 minutes and it meant that their dominance wasn’t being properly expressed on the scoreboard. Further points from Keegan, Moran and Seamus O’Shea was poor enough return for their performance.
At the other end, Dublin were missing chances of their own. Ciaran Kilkenny had a goal chance saved by Hennelly and dropped two scoreable chances short. Stephen Cluxton was uncharacteristically wayward with a free and it was only when Cluxton nailed a 45 after another fine Hennelly save and later when O’Gara fisted the last score of the half that they got their reward.
What it meant though was that for all that Mayo had the best of the play, they only went in a point ahead at half-time, 0-8 to 1-4. It was an uneasy lead and their worst fears were realised when Dublin came out and kicked five of the first six points of the second half. Cian O’Sullivan, Paddy Andrews and Paul Flynn all knocked over points, with Brogan and O’Gara doing their bit as well. After 48 minutes, Dublin led by 1-9 to 0-9.
Mayo weren’t done though. Not for the first time this year, a long ball put the Dublin full-back line under pressure and when Mickey Conroy pounced on the loose ball, he fed Moran inside. Though Mayo’s talisman had been having a poor year, this time he had no problem. He shifted onto his right and rolled the ball past Cluxton. Twenty minutes to go, sides level at 1-9 apiece.
But Dublin are made of serious stuff. Within three minutes, they hit back with a goal of their own. Denis Bastick, newly arrived off the bench, strode through the Mayo defence and found Brogan loitering with intent. Quick pass, easy flick, Dublin 2-9 Mayo 1-9.
It was a blow from which Mayo never completely recovered. Their tackling grew more ragged, their attacking player less cohesive. Dublin were finding loose men with their kick-outs where before there had been no space. Ger Brennan came forward and kicked a massive point five minutes from time to keep the lead at three.
Mayo’s only route to scores in the endgame were the frees of O’Connor. In the end, they weren’t enough. Dublin were champions and deservedly so.
DUBLIN: 1 S Cluxton (0-2, 45 and free); 2 P McMahon, 3 R O’Carroll, 4 J Cooper; 5 J McCarthy, 6 G Brennan (0-1), 7 J McCaffrey; 9 C O’Sullivan (0-1), 8 MD Macauley; 10 P Flynn (0-1), 14 P Andrews (0-1), 12 D Connolly (0-1); 13 P Mannion, 11 C Kilkenny, 15 B Brogan (2-3). Subs: 25 E O’Gara (0-2) for Mannion (16 mins), 20 D Daly for McCaffrey (half-time), 26 D Rock for Kilkenny (42 mins), 23 K McManamon for Andrews (49 mins), 17 D Bastick for Cooper (53 mins).
MAYO: 1 R Hennelly; 3 G Cafferkey, 2 T Cunniffe, 4 C Barrett; 5 L Keegan (0-2), 7 C Boyle, 6 D Vaughan; 9 S O’Shea (0-1), 8 A O’Shea; 10 K McLoughlin, 11 K Higgins (0-1), 12 A Dillon; 13 C O’Connor (0-8, all frees), 14 A Freeman, 15 A Moran (capt; 1-2). Subs: 24 M Conroy for Freeman (27 mins), 22 C Carolan for Cunniffe (half-time), 25 E Varley for Dillon (56 mins), 20 B Moran for S O’Shea (60 mins), 26 J Doherty for A Moran (68 mins).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).