Five key moments that led to Dublin’s three-in-a-row
Eamon Donoghue selects some of the main turning points in an enthralling contest
Jason Doherty of Mayo has his shot saved by Stephen Cluxton. Photograph: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images
Mayo were two points up into first half injury time, they'd reacted brilliantly to the early goal concession and had been well on top. Then Ciaran Kilkenny and Paddy Andrews collided into one another, before Lee Keegan led a Mayo swarm. It looked like overcarrying, and the ensuing foul at that was a harsh call. Instead of Mayo having a crack at building on their momentum and lead, Dean Rock nailed the free to leave just the minimum between the teams at the interval. A big call that did not go their way.
In the 43rd minute Mayo had a golden opportunity for a three-pointer. Andy Moran showed the kind of soft hands that any All Black would be proud of to take two men out of the game and pop the ball to Jason Doherty. If Mayo were to pick anyone to be closing in on goal with only Cluxton ahead of him and time to pick his corner, their number 13 would be one of the names at the top of the list. But his shot was a nice height for a goalkeeper and Cluxton batted it away.
Cometh the hour
Approaching the hour mark Aidan O’Shea hit a wide as Mayo continued to pile the pressure on after Lee Keegan’s goal. The next score was key and up popped Diarmuid Connolly to evade a number of tacklers before ghosting inside and curling over a beauty. That levelled matters. Connolly made a big impact off the bench and also won the match-winning free.
So near, yet so far
Last year Cillian O’Connor had a chance to level matters in the dying moments with a free to the left of the posts. It was far from an easy angle or distance and it tailed wide to leave Dublin as champions. This time around, in the 70th minute he had a free in a similar area, struck it sweetly, but it came back off the upright. Mayo didn’t have a single further shot as Dublin owned the ball for the remainder.
Making his mark
Mayo had ruled the skies for much of the game - in all they won 13 of the 18 long kickouts - but with the teams level in the dying minutes James McCarthy was first to react to a slightly underhit long kickout to Aidan O’Shea. He was under the ball to pluck it down before the Breaffy man had even adjusted. The ball was quickly worked to Connolly who was fouled. Up stepped Dean Rock and the rest is history.