Dublin 1-15 Mayo 1-14: How the Dublin players rated
Michael Fitzsimons, Ciaran Kilkenny and Dean Rock the star men for the All-Ireland champions
Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan, Diarmuid Connolly, Michael Fitzsimons and Eric Lowndes celebrate. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin and Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Dublin’s Dean Rock and Keith Higgins of Mayo. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Little to do until Lee Keegan came charging, after 18 minutes, hitting him with a thundering low shot that no man would have saved. Not long afterwards appeared on the verge of another temporary nervous breakdown, kicking ‘out’ over the sideline, but played out the game with increasing confidence, mixing the long and short, commanding everything presented before him.
Philly McMahon 8
Still not back to his glorious 2015 best, but calm and effective no less, reading the key Mayo attacks like a book, quietly and unassumingly taking care of business. Gone are the searing bursts forward but with the Mayo full forward line scoring a single point from play, from Andy Moran, there’s the reason why.
Jonny Cooper 6
Just when it seemed he was well on course for man-of-the-match it all went horribly wrong. His early block on Aidan O’Shea showed the signs of player on top of his game, although clearly a little upset at being caught up in the aftermath of Lee Keegan’s goal, was then black-carded, on 20 minutes, after taking Donal Vaughan down by the ankles, and so game over.
Wow, and with increasing emphasis too, as he repeatedly dug Dublin out of defensive quandaries with pure class and conviction. Starting in place of David Byrne, some might say surprisingly so, he roamed the full back line without a moment hesitation, and again, the grand total of one point from play for the Mayo full forward line reflects a job impeccably done.
James McCarthy 8
Back to his smooth-running best, covering ground with ease and testing the Mayo defence repeatedly after his early black-card in the drawn game. Did send his first shot at goal wide when Dublin could have done with the score, but made his fitness and endurance count, lasting the distance and remaining defiant as Mayo tried in vain to keep their hopes alive.
Cian O’Sullivan 7
Not quite as calm and alert as usual, caught out by the spinning Aidan O’Shea which resulted in Lee Keegan’s stunning goal after 18 minutes. Found himself caught for a little pace at times also but still kept doing the simple things well, before being called ashore on two minutes into added time, replaced by Darren Daly.
Was lucky to stay on field, not once but twice, and will know it. Certainly lucky to survive a pull down on Andy Moran after 10 minutes, and had his searing left hook attempt on Cillian O’Connor just before the break actually connected, things would surely have gone red. Instead, was able to see out the game and do his job with typical defiance until replaced by Eric Lowndes on the hour.
Picked up where he left off in the drawn game, not quite as impressive perhaps but running rings around midfield and fetching reels of possession in the process. Was unjustly booked on 32 minutes which seemed to upset his game somewhat yet still in contention for Player of the Year after his performances throughout the summer, and again the best midfielder on display.
Never looked comfortable at midfield, having taken up the position from Michael Darragh Macauley before the start, although totally inadvertently set up Dublin’s penalty on 40 minutes, which will go down as his most telling contribution on the day. His shot dropped short, only for Rob Hennellly to fumble it, then pull down Paddy Andrews, and with that Diarmuid Connolly also buried the penalty. Ends a poor season though, and may have passed his peak.
Paddy Andrews 6
Was always likely to get his start after his key introduction the last day, named to start in place of only struggled to rediscover that form. Chased and won a lot of ball but simply couldn’t make it count, or even find the space to try. Mayo were on to him this time though, which didn’t help, and made for a mostly frustrating evening.
Kevin McManamon 7
After a poor start the last day starting this game soaring, involved from the start and then scored from play, his point partly gifted after a poor kick out from Rob Hennelly, but McManamon kept his head to strike it between the posts. Stayed busy after that but part-fluffed one great goal chance in the second half when simply running out of a ground and a little steam, replaced not long after that by Cormac Costello.
Ciarán Kilkenny 9
Every bit as active and reliable as he’s now expected to be, covering back when needed but also holding up possession in the half forward line when Dublin worked up scores. Increasingly athletic too, crucially lasting the pace and the distance in order to carry Dublin over the line, breaking down much of the Mayo attacks in the process.
Dean Rock 9
The model of consistency restored, his shaky boots of the drawn game replaced by pure accuracy. Needed to start well and did exactly that, slicing the posts with his first free, and then promptly adding two points from play. Added another six frees thereafter, missing nothing, and so finishes the season with an awesome total of 1-58, the best in the game.
Diarmuid Connolly 8
Lorded the game in ways only he can do, and while not quite as consistent as he’d want to be, his point on 35 minutes was pure Connolly, sent powerfully between the posts with his left foot, putting Dublin a point clear. His second half penalty was then class and calmness personified, his head kept cool too against some of those around him.
Ponderous and nervous at times, won lots of possession and chased and carried a lot of ball too but in the end struggled to make any of it count. Still his running caused the Mayo defence plenty to worry about, before his replacement by Michael Darragh Macauley on 52 minutes.
Worked a treat, Cormac Costello the pick of them for sure, scoring three points, including two in crucially quick succession; Davy Byrne filled in neatly for Cooper, Michael Darragh Macauley certainly made his presence felt, and while Bernard Brogan scored one, also missed what should have been the security score at the death.