Mayo upset the odds to defeat Dubs

  • Aug 28,2006

Sunday, August 27


Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-16

Mayo will face Kerry in the 2006 All-Ireland football final after overcoming Dublin in one of the most exciting championship games Croke Park has seen in recent years.

There was controversy even before the game kicked-off.

Mayo were first out of the changing rooms and immediately began warming up in front of the Hill. When the Dublin team emerged some five minutes later, they too began warming up in front of their passionate home support.

Understandably this led to considerable crowding as numerous balls flew around. In the melee, a ball struck a female member of the Mayo coaching team in the head, appearing to knock her out. A stretcher and some five minutes were required to remove the injured party from the field. Thankfully the lady in question wasnt seriously hurt, but the incident set the scene for a tense encounter.

If Dublin had been attempting to play mind-games with the Connacht champions, perhaps they underestimated the resolve which the hectic recent schedule had afforded Mickey Morans side.

In fact, rather than rattling Mayo, it was Pillar Caffreys men who started the game in a disjointed fashion, as Mayo powered their way to an early four point lead through points from Conor Mortimer, Ciaran McDonald and two from Alan Dillon.

Dublin looked ragged; time and again their defenses were broken and when they did break through the Mayo ranks their shooting was poor. Mossy Quinn was particularly guilty as he kicked wide from a number of scoreable chances.

It wasnt until the 17th minute that Dublin got on the scoresheet when Conal Keaney stroked the ball over after a fine counter attack.

Mayo quickly wiped out this score with an excellent point from Ger Brady. However, the Dubs were starting to settle, they were winning more and more ball in the centre of the field and their forward line was starting to find space. This was illustrated when Ray Cosgrove narrowed Mayos lead to three points in the 20th minute.

Three minutes later David Clarke in the Mayo goal could only parry Alan Brogans shot, Keaney latched onto the loose ball to stroke home from close range.

But Mayo were in no mood for lying down and Michael Conroy leveled the game after fisting the ball between the posts.

Dublin would quickly regain control when Cosgrove scored his second point of the game and Jason Sherlock should have added to this lead on the half hour but his shot crashed off the bar and into the arms of the grateful Mayo defense.

Mayo kept their composure and the excellent Conor Mortimer leveled the game again in the 31st minute. There was concern for Mickey Moran before the break when the inspirational midfielder Ronan McGarrity suffered his second concussion in recent weeks.

Dublin were quick to take advantage, reclaiming a slender 0-8 0-7 lead through Mossy Quinn, but it was Mayo who would end the half in front.

First, substitute Kevin ONeill scored an excellent point and then the outstanding Conor Mortimer added another score to his growing tally.

Dublin were late for the beginning of the second half, but whatever Pillar Caffrey said to his side in their Hogan Stand changing room obviously had the desired effect, as they started the half looking value for their tag as favourites.

Setting a frenetic pace Dublin scored an incredible 1-4 in just six minutes as Alan Brogan sent the ball over the bar for a hat-trick of points.

Mossy Quinn also added a point from a close range free kick, but the biggest cheer was reserved for Jason Sherlock who punched the ball into the back of David Clarkes net after a fantastic move which highlighted both the potential of the Dublin attack and the limitations of Mayos defence.

Mayo did not give up and Mortimer once again got his name on the scoresheet and his team back into contention but despite Mortimers best efforts, few in the crowd of 82,148 would believe that a fightback was on the cards, especially after Kevin Bonner stretched Dublins lead with another point.

Realising that changes were needed, Mickey Moran brought on his tried and tested super-sub Aidan Kilcoyne who once again dominated the game as he had when introduced in Mayos two games with Laois.

Kilcoynes introduction clearly lifted his teammates and when Ger Brady pointed in the 47th minute the tide was turning.

Alan Dillon further closed the gap before another substitute, Andy Moran, received the ball on the edge of the small square to turn Stephen Cluxton and slot the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.

Mayo were back in business and three minutes later they were level, when the industrious Kilcoyne twice burst through the centre of the field to set up scores for Kevin ONeill and Dillon.

Mayo didnt look back, they went ahead in the 57th minute when Mortimer got his fifth point of the game.

Pillar Caffrey sensed that the tide was turning and his introduction of Mark Vaughan in the 64th at the expense of Mossy Quinn highlighted the fact that Dublin needed new ideas up front.

Dublin pulled level after a Brogan point but an excellent score from Ciaran McDonald wide on the left ensured that Mayo would prevail.

Mayo did ride their luck in the closing minutes as three shots from Vaughan somehow managed to hit the post, get punched clear and go wide.

But the Connacht champions held on to record a victory that will undoubtedly go down in GAA folklore as one of the greatest games in history.

Moran and Co. now have three weeks to prepare for the final, where they will once again be labeled underdogs. However, the time for writing off Mayo has passed and the belief that the side can lift their first All-Ireland title in 55 years is undoubtedly growing.

DUBLIN - S Cluxton; D Henry, B Cahill, P Griffin; P Casey, B Cullen, C Goggins; C Whelan, S Ryan; C Keaney (1-3), A Brogan (0-4), R Cosgrove (0-2); J Sherlock (1-0), K Bonner (0-1), T Quinn (0-2, 0-1f).
SUBS: D Magee for B Cahill HT, D Lally for S Ryan 60mins, S Connell for R Cosgrove 50mins, C Moran for K Bonner 67mins.
Frees: 13
Wides: 8
45s: 2
Yellows: 4 Bryan Cullen, Ciaran Whelan, Conal Keaney, J Sherlock
MAYO - D Clarke; D Geraghty, D Heaney, K Higgins; A Higgins, J Nallen, P Gardiner; R McGarrity, P Harte; BJ Padden, G Brady(0-2), A Dillon (0-4); M Conroy, C Mortimer (0-5, 0-1f), C McDonald (0-2).
A Moran (1-0) for J Nallen (46mins), B Moran for R McGarrity (21mins), A Kilcoyne for B Moran (44mins), D Brady for BJ Padden (40mins), K ONeill (0-2) for M Conroy (35mins)
Frees: 14
Wides: 6
45s: 0
Yellows: 2 D Geraghty, C Mortimer