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2006 Flashback: McDonald's late magic completes Mayo comeback against the Dubs

A classic game, remembered as much for the pre-game high jinks as the action on the pitch.

Mortimer scored the first point of the game and played a key role for Mayo.
Mortimer scored the first point of the game and played a key role for Mayo.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

THE TONE WAS well and truly set for this unforgettable All-Ireland semi-final by the infamous ‘Mill at the Hill’ incident before the game had even begun.

When the ruck was cleared and the posturing had finished, it was Mayo’s Conor Mortimer who landed the first real blow with a fourth-minute point. The legendary Ciarán McDonald increased that lead and after 15 minutes, Mickey Moran’s side were already four points in front.

Conal Keaney got Dublin off the mark in the 17th minute and the confidence from that score saw them finish the half strongly. A goal from Keaney himself and then a Ray Cograve point saw the Dubs into the lead, although they could easily have gone a man down when Ronan McGarrity’s controversial challenge injured Ciaran Whelan.

However, Mortimer’s excellent point on the stroke of half-time saw Mayo head into the break with a 0-9 to 1-5 lead.

A lack of concentration in the Connacht champions’ defence allowed Alan Brogan to add a point for Dublin early in the second period, before Jason Sherlock finished a clever move by palming into the net from close-range.

image

Andy Moran scored a goal after being sprung from the bench. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Dublin were suddenly into a seven-point lead after scores from Kevin Bonner and Keaney again. Mayo were nothing if not resilient though and they hauled the Dubs back with points from Ger Brady and Alan Dillon. Substitute Andy Moran restored Mayo belief with a 51st minute goal.

Two quick-fire scores drew them level before Mortimer’s 56th minute point saw Mayo miraculously back into the lead. That point made it 1-5 for Moran’s men without reply, and the tide had utterly changed.

Brogan did level for Dublin to to suggest that a draw was the likely outcome, but Mayo battled into scoring position once again with utter determination and McDonald slid over the winning point from a barely-believable angle.

There were a couple of last-gasp attempts from Dublin to level matters a final time, with Mayo ‘keeper David Clarke blocking one long-range effort by leaping above the crossbar. However, McDonald and Mayo were the deserving winners following their second-half blitz and Dublin couldn’t find a answer.

Here’s McDonald’s late winning score:

YouTube credit: KilkennyFootball

Check out this superb open letter to the Mayo team from a supporter

Murph’s Sideline Cut: ‘All-Irelands aren’t just handed out to those who think they deserve it’

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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