Colm Gannon reports from Castlebar
THIS ONE LACKED the excitement and intensity from their last clash, but that won’t bother Dublin as they saw off Mayo without much fuss in Castlebar.
Mayo welcomed back Lee Keegan to the fold for the first time since the All-Ireland final, when he came in as a late starter for Mayo. Darren Daly, Michael Fitzsimons, Kevin McManamon and Dean Rock were all late entrants to the action just before throw-in for Jim Gavin’s side.
There was four points between them at full time, but there was much more than than on the field as Dublin eased their way home over the final 20 minutes of this one.
The game was done as a contest as soon as Niall Scully palmed the ball to the net 46 minutes in and put his side seven clear, there wasn’t another score in the game for 20 minutes until Conor Loftus pointed a free in injury time.
The Crossmolina man would go on to add two more frees before the end of the action, but that was just some window dressing on a dominant Dublin performance.
Just like they did in their last meeting in the All Ireland final last September, Dublin rippled the Mayo net inside the opening minutes.
This time it was Paul Mannion who cut in down the right hand channel and hammered the ball high past Rob Hennelly in the Mayo goal. The Breaffy custodian was starting his first non FBD game for the county since the 2016 All Ireland final replay.
Mayo hit back with a pointed free from Jason Doherty a minute later, not long after that score Dublin kick started a pattern that ran though the rest of the half – scoring almost straight after Mayo raised a white flag. Their second point coming from Ciaran Kilkenny, who could have went for goal instead of putting it over the bar.
Mayo’s second point came seven minutes in when the returning Lee Keegan hammered one over from well out the park. That score was followed up by two Dean Rock points to leave the All Ireland champions leading 1-3 to 0-2 after ten minutes.
Jason Doherty and Rock exchanged frees over the next few minutes, before Andy Moran hit Mayo’s fourth of the day from play to leave three between the sides. But as had gone before, Dublin went straight down the field and Brian Fenton eased over Dublin’s fifth point to keep their noses well in front.
They pushed that lead out of five points ten minutes before the break through another Rock free and that was the gap at the short whistle with both sides adding three more points to their tallies, with Jason Doherty chipping in with two and Stephen Coen for the hosts and Kilkenny, Mannion and Rock doing the necessary for the All Ireland champions.
Mayo should have hit the back of the net within seconds of the restart after Doherty stripped a Dublin defender of the ball and fed Adam Gallagher, but the NUIG student pulled his shot wide of the post.
They did get the first score of the half when Rob Hennelly drove over a free from beyond the 45 on the 40 minute mark.
Five minutes later the result was put beyond doubt when Niall Scully palmed the ball to the net from close range after some good work by Rock to set him up.
Doherty replied for Mayo from a free two minutes later and Rock hit back for Dublin with a well taken effort that sailed over the black spot, despite the Ballymun ace slipping as he struck it.
Mayo’s free taking fell apart in the final 20 minutes with Doherty twice then Moran and Hennelly all pulling efforts wide of the post in a ten minute spell.
Dublin finished with 14 men when Michael Fitzsimons was sent off in injury time, but the second half was poor fair with Dublin just adding 1-1 to their half time total and Mayo, two points in normal time before Loftus’ three injury time frees that brought the gap back to four.
For Dublin the road to another league final rolls out in front of them, but for Mayo the battle to avoid relegation goes on.
Scorers for Mayo: Conor Loftus (0-3,3f), Jason Doherty (0-3,3f), Kevin McLoughlin (0-2), Stephen Coen (0-1), Lee Keegan (0-1), Rob Hennelly (0-1, 1f), Andy Moran (0-1)
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock (0-6,4f), Paul Mannion (1-1), Niall Scully (1-0), Ciaran Kilkenny (0-2), Brian Fenton (0-1)
1. Rob Hennelly (Breaffy)
3. Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites)
4. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet)
2. Caolan Crowe (Garrymore)
5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
21. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Michael Hall (Breaffy)
8. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
7. David Drake (Ballaghaderreen)
13. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)
14. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
15. Adam Gallagher (Mayo Gaels)
Subs: 22. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy) for Gallagher, 25. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers) for McLoughlin, 24. Fergal Boland (Aghamore) for O’Connor, 19. Sharoize Akram (Ballaghaderreen) for Drake, 9. Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels) for Doherty
1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnell’s)
18. Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens)
19. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
4. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
6. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)
5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
7. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. Michael Darragh Macauley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
12. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)
10. Brian Howard (Raheny)
11. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)
20. Kevin McManamon (St Judes)
13. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
25. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
Subs: 17. Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincents) for Macauley, 23. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes) for Small, 15. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for Mannion, 24. Ciaran Reddin (St Maur’s) for Howard, 26. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams) for Cooper, 22. Emmet O’Conghaile (Lucan Sarsfields) for Fenton.
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)
The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!