Mayo successfully defend All-Ireland title

 

Mayo 1-4 Dublin 0-5

Mayo needed a late Diane O'Hora goal to retain their All-Ireland Ladies Football title and defy Dublin at Croke Park this afternoon.

The reigning champions, trailing Dublin by a point, snatched the game from their opponents in injury-time when O'Hora fired home after capitalising on a mistake from Dublin 'keeper Cliona O'Connor.

The game itself failed to live up to the pre-match hype with the difficult, greasy underfoot conditions proving a hindrance to both sides.

Dublin opened the scoring through full-forward Karen Hopkins on three minutes and Mary Nevin doubled that lead moments later.

Dublin, however, failed to capitalise on their bright start and allowed Mayo back into the game, so much so that the Connacht side dominated to such an extent that Dublin would not score again until midway through the second half.

Michelle McGing and O'Hora combined to level at 0-2 apiece before the latter and Emma Mullins found their range later in the half to send Mayo in at the break on a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.

The second half was a tense affair with both sides playing with an obvious fear of losing. Wayward shooting and passing marred the half before Dublin's Angie McNally got the scoreboard ticking over again in the 47th minute.

Buoyed by that score, Dublin pressed on and forced their opponents onto the back foot. Substitute Sinead Aherne leveled matters with a fine left footed effort with six minutes to play.

A tense finale ensued and Mayo looked set to relinquish their crown when Gemma Fay sent the Dublin fans wild in the stands with her 56th minute effort to put the 'home' side one infront.

But credit the champions, their never-say-die attitude stood them in good stead as, in injury-time, star forward Cora Staunton dropped a long range free into the square where O'Hora pounced for a championship winning score.