Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park
THEY ONLY HAD a point to spare last October when the sides collided on the All-Ireland final replay stage but Dublin’s superiority was far more pronounced against Mayo tonight in Croke Park in the Allianz Football League.
A ruthless display by Jim Gavin’s side saw them extend their unbeaten run in league and championship to 33 games with 34,758 spectators present to witness the latest example of the champions brilliance.
Dean Rock top scored with 0-8 in a game where Dublin accelerated clear in the second half while 2014 U21 Footballer of the Year Conor McHugh grabbed the only goal of the night finished with 1-3 to show for his efforts.
Matters could have been worse for Mayo as Dublin spurned chances to raise more green flags, none more clearcut than in the 48th minute when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Rock by Donal Vaughan, shown a black card as a consequence.
Paddy Andrews saw his shot blocked by David Clarke and the 2016 All-Star netminder then displayed his goalkeeping prowess by remarkably saving two further rebound shots from Andrews, before the frantic scramble culminated in Colm Boyle palming the ball off the goal line.
But those heroics at the back couldn’t prevent Mayo from succumbing to defeat in a game where they toiled badly in front of goal as none of their starting forwards managed to score from play.
The first half was a fiery affair yet McHugh’s 7th minute goal – a move that stemmed from the alert Niall Scully intercepting a kickout – gave Dublin a cushion on the scoreboard.
They could have hit the net again only for Eoghan O’Gara to blaze off target twice while another from Michael Darragh MacAuley was correctly disallowed as the ball was handled on the ground.
At the break Dublin enjoyed a 1-5 to 0-2 advantage with Philly McMahon and Eric Lowndes striking over some excellent points.
They started the second half in a powerful fashion and put the game to bed quickly as they reeled off a further seven points by the 45th minute to go 1-12 to 0-5 clear.
Mayo did manage to halt the run of scores from there as they only conceded another four points but that was also down to Dublin noticeably dropping the tempo as they had comfortably secured the spoils by then.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-8 (0-6f), Conor McHugh 1-3, Eric Lowndes, Philly McMahon 0-2 each, Paul Flynn 0-1.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor (0-2 ’45), Evan Regan (0-2f), Stephen Coen, Colm Boyle, Tom Parsons 0-1 each.
1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)
2. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)
3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
4. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
5. Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens)
6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
7. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrine’s)
8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. Michael Darragh MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
10. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge-Street)
11. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
12. Shane B Carthy (St Vincent’s)
13. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
14. Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Synge Street)
15. Conor McHugh (Na Fianna)
23. Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s) for O’Gara (46)
19. Paul Flynn (Fingallians) for Carthy (51)
21. Kevin McManamon (St Judes) for McHugh (55)
25. Ciaran Reddin (St Maurs) for Byrne (65)
24. Emmet Ó Conghaile (Lucan Sarsfields) for Fenton (70)
22. Conor Mullally (Cuala) for Small (71)
1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
3. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
21. Lee Keegan (Westport)
4. Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
5. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
8. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
9. Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber)
26. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
13. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites)
14. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
15. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
17. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore) for Gibbons (half-time)
22. Shane Nally (Garrymore) for Vaughan (black card) (49)
24. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy) for Moran (54)
23. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina) for Diarmuid O’Connor (63)
7. Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels) for Boland (65)
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)
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