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'It was obvious we were very flat in the second half' - Dublin bow out of All-Ireland race

Dublin’s remarkable reign came to an end at the hands of Mayo this evening.

Dessie Farrell shakes hands with James Horan after the match.
Dessie Farrell shakes hands with James Horan after the match.

THE BIG QUESTION, the one everyone is asking: what went wrong for Dublin?

A first defeat in 45 games, the seven-in-a-row bid came crashing down after an epic extra-time Mayo win.

Enter, Dessie Farrell, to face the jury in his post-match press conference.

Question number one: What happened after half-time? A great first half, and after that Dublin scored four points.

“I don’t know,” he began. “It was obvious we were very flat in the second half. We knew Mayo – and they had done it in the Connacht final as well – were going to come with a lot.

“I think we found it very difficult to get out past their high press and we struggled to build any sort of momentum. A couple of mistakes, a couple of bad decisions maybe made… I thought at one stage if we could get a score or two, it might start to ease the pressure and we’d ride out the storm, but we just could never get that additional score that was going to put that safe distance between us.

“You could see them building then and it was very hard to disrupt their momentum that they obviously generated significantly.  They got back into it, got the draw and won in extra time obviously.”

James Horan’s Green and Red ran out 0-17 to 0-14 winners after a marathon Croke Park battle, in which they powered on in the additional period.

Was it difficult for Dublin to reset after the initial 70-plus?

“I think we probably had played so badly in the second half that we felt we were going to try and make amends and redress that situation,” Farrell said.

“The black card then, really… when legs are tired and there’s a lot of fatigue in the system, a black card at that stage is a killer and it was very, very difficult for us to get the ball back.

“A black card at any stage is problematic, the way teams are so capable of keeping possession but particularly in extra time when there’s a lot of tired bodies, tired limbs, it’s exceptionally difficult then at that stage. That probably spelt the death knell at that stage.”

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There’s been plenty of talk surrounding ‘Dublin’s decline’ this championship following their below-high-standard performances, but Farrell didn’t buy into that.

Asked if there was anything symptomatic heading into today, he added:

“Not particularly. Obviously you would like to be coming in to this stage of the competition with a little bit more momentum or collective team form a little bit better than it was.

“We showed glimpses of it here and there and good patches, really good patches. It was looking for that consistency that we’re missing all year and, again, first half, looked really good at times and in the second half it was the exact opposite of that.

“It’s hard to diagnose but I think it revolves around the lack of consistency across the quarters that was hurting us and it manifested again today.”

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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