Report: Mayo survive late Dublin fightback at packed Croke Park

There was high drama at Croke Park on Sunday as Mayo progressed to face Donegal in the All-Ireland final.

Image: Inpho

MAYO SURVIVED A brilliant late comeback from Dublin to book their place in the All-Ireland final against Donegal at the end of September, winning 0-19 to 0-16.

More that 81,000 supporters were at Croke Park to see James Horan’s men reach their first final since 2006, and dethrone the current champions in the process.

Mayo almost squandered a lead of ten points with only 20 minutes of the match remaining, but managed to hold on in the face of massive Dublin pressure.

They may have gone into the match as underdogs but Mayo led the match 0-12 to 0-6 at the break.

Alan Dillon and Cillian O’Connor were proving particularly troublesome to the Dubs defence, the latter deadly from set plays.

Ciaran Kilkenny was doing his best to keep Dublin on a par with Mayo, but they had no answer to the superior forward play and accuracy of Dillon, O’Connor and Enda Varley.

After the break, David Clarke did well to save with his foot from Diarmuid Connolly, before O’Connor restored the six-point deficit.

The match caught fire when Varley was forced off with a suspected broken nose after an altercation with Philly McMahon, who remarkably was not even booked.

Mayo blasted over four more points without reply, and it was only then that Dublin woke up.

Points from Cluxton (’45), Kilkenny, Paul Flynn and Bernard Brogan (three frees) cut the gap to four before Jason Gibbons, on as a sub for Mayo, made a crucial block to prevent Brogan from scoring.

Cluxton again converted when a ’45 was awarded by mistake, and Paul Flynn had the gap down from ten to two points after Clarke pulled off a miraculous save to deny Brogan an equalising goal.

After the team exchanged points through Brogan and Seamus O’Shea, Dublin had one last chance to get the goal they needed to draw the game.

Cluxton dropped a ’45 into the Mayo goalmouth but Keith Higgins cleared off his line just before referee Joe McQuillan blew the whistle.

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Mayo: David Clarke; Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrett; Barry Moran (0-1), Aidan O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-2), Jason Doherty (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-3); Enda Varley (0-1 free), Cillian O’Connor 0-07 (3 ’45, 3f), Michael Conroy (0-1).

Subs: Richie Feeney (0-1)for Keegan, Alan Freeman for Varley (blood), Colm Boyle for McLoughlin (blood), Jason Gibbons for Feeney, Shane McHale for Keane, Kevin McLoughlin for Doherty, Seamus O’Shea (0-1) for A O’Shea.

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton (0-3 ’45s); Michael Fitzsimons, Rory O’Carroll, Cian O’Sullivan; James McCarthy, Ger Brennan, Kevin Nolan; Eamon Fennell, Denis Bastick; Paul Flynn (0-2), Michael Darragh Macauley, Bryan Cullen; Ciaran Kilkenny (0-3), Diarmuid Connolly (0-2), Bernard Brogan (0-6 frees).

Subs: Alan Brogan for Cullen, Philly McMahon for Fitzsimons, Eoghan O’Gara for Bastick, Kevin McMemamin for A Brogan, Craig Dias for Fennell.

As it happened: Dublin v Mayo, All-Ireland semi-final >

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