Five key moments as Mayo's comeback ends Dublin’s reign

Eamon Donoghue looks at the key moments as Mayo came from six down to beat the Dubs

Super sub

After 26 minutes Mayo had scored just twice. Enda Hession came on and made a massive impact. His energy and intent in possession, and his speed and adaptability out of it gave Mayo a new lease of life. James Horan must be commended for the use of his bench, even taking off his captain Aidan O'Shea who was having a rare off day. The Connacht champions had the fresher legs in the final quarter of normal time and their replacements were all eager to express themselves.

Clean sheet

Dublin led by six at half time. They’d dominated possession and been the far more clinical team in front of the posts. James McCarthy had a goal chance at the start of the second half - a chance to land a hammer blow straight from the throw-in as they did in last year’s final and against Kerry in 2019. But this time the Dublin midfielder was forced out and made to shoot from a tight angle. By then the point was the better option but he went for goal nonetheless and missed.

No lost cause

Like the injured Cillian O'Connor before him, Ryan O'Donoghue led the Mayo defence front the front. Just past the hour mark he ambushed David Byrne coming out of his defence. Byrne did well to hold possession under severe pressure, the first time, but O'Donoghue was not giving up and eventually forced the Dublin defender to overcarry.

Rob Hennelly’s subsequent long range free was going wide before Diarmuid O’Connor dived full stretch to keep it in. Kevin McLoughlin gathered the loose ball and kicked a sensational score from the right wing. Two lost causes saved. Mayo went on to score three more points unanswered.


Hennelly the hero

As Mayo ate into the deficit Dublin remained committed to playing keep ball, and taking the sting out of Mayo with long spells of possession. For once they got their game management wrong, only inviting even more pressure into their half. In an incredible passage of play Mayo pushed them all the way back to their goal line and forced a 45. The final kick of normal time.

Rob Hennelly stepped forward to nail his third point. The Mayo goalkeeper varied his restarts with authority, held a clean sheet and had the courage to step forward and force extra time with a beautiful strike.

Black card

The teams went score for score in the opening exchanges of extra-time before Dublin were reduced to 14 players after Colm Basquel was black carded for a body check. Dublin felt it was a very harsh call and they were outscored by 0-3 to no score in the 10 minutes without him.

Neither team scored thereafter as Mayo ran Dublin’s tired legs around Croke Park. A taste of their own medicine as the champions’ incredible reign was finally brought to an end.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times