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Dublin: 21 °C Sunday 22 July, 2018

5 talking points as Dublin end their drought but Mayo heartache lives on

The Sky Blues lifted the Brendan Martin Cup for the first time since 2010 after three consecutive final losses.

Dublin players celebrates with the Brendan Martin Cup Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

1. Fourth time lucky! Dublin finally get over the line again

THE LAST THREE consecutive finals have ended in heartbreak for Dublin, and today was the day they finally put all of that hurt to bed with an emphatic win over Mayo.

With much of the group having experienced those narrow losses to Cork together, the scenes at the final whistle today said it all. Pure elation.

The Sky Blues’ one and only All-Ireland senior title win came in 2010, but they were left waiting seven years to repeat the feat.

In his second stint in charge — he was at the helm for an All-Ireland final loss to the same opposition in 2003 — Mick Bohan successfully guided his charges to the summit, while Sinéad Aherne climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the Brendan Martin Cup rather than watch on from the field.

With the final score standing at 4-11 to 0-11, Dublin were impressive throughout but it wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that they truly broke the Westerners.

2. Dublin clinical in front of goal at the end

It must be said that Dublin had no shortage of goal chances. Niamh McEvoy showed no remorse with her cooly-finished first-half goal, but Sinéad Aherne’s penalty was denied shortly after.

Carla Rowe celebrates scoring a goal Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Lauren Magee had a huge chance with the opening attack of the second-half, while Player of the Match Noelle Healy perhaps should have had a goal or two. They had no shortage of chances.

But their true ruthlessness, and cool and clinical attacking form really came to the fore in the closing minutes.

McCaffrey — sister of 2015 Footballer of the Year Jack — was sprung from the bench and chipped in with a brace into Hill 16, while Carla Rowe notched one in between.

Also making an impact from the line — Molly Lamb’s cross-field ball found Rowe unmarked, and she fired home between McCaffrey’s efforts.

3. An off day for Cora

To score seven points in an All-Ireland final is obviously nothing to be frowned upon, but for previous standards set by Cora Staunton, today won’t get near that bar.

Although heavily marshalled, the 35-year-old kicked seven of Mayo’s eight wides in the first half, some of those shots which she would usually convert with ease.

Cora Staunton dejected Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Perhaps the moment which best sums up her day came with about eight minutes left on the clock. With six points between the sides at the time, Mayo were awarded a free directly in front of the posts but she opted to go for goal despite a sea of blue jerseys in her way. Maybe at that stage, it was the wrong option, with still plenty of football to be played.

It could be the last time we’ll see the legendary Cora don the green and red jersey, but one thing’s for sure — she won’t be pleased to finish on those terms if that’s the case.

4. Mayo’s lack of discipline

In All-Ireland finals, or any match for that matter, you want to be at full-strength with 15 players on the pitch at all times.

With three players dealt yellow cards throughout the 60 minutes, tired legs became a huge issue in the final ten minutes and that’s where Dublin ran away with it.

Mayo goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne was deemed to have fouled Aherne in the area in the first-half, while minutes later they were reduced to 13 when Rachel Kearns was sent to the line for an off the ball incident.

A crucial blow came eight minutes from the end, Orla Conlon sent marching while Dublin opened the floodgates to hit a tally of 4-11 by full-time.

Sinead Aherne lifts the Brendan Martin Cup Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

5. What’s next for these sides?

The weeks that follow will throw up some interesting answers. Is it the last time we’ll see Cora Staunton, Yvonne Byrne and Martha Carter in the Mayo jersey? Will Sinéad Aherne decide to finish on a high, or come back for more? Will both managers stay in place?

Dublin look a clinical and well-drilled outfit and with youth on their side, this title could exactly be what they need to start a reign of terror, similar to Cork. With the Rebels failing to follow through with their bid for 12 titles in 13 years, they’ll surely be back all guns blazing next year.

While for Mayo, it could be a long way back.

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Emma Duffy

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