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Mayo make Dubs sweat for victory

Story by John Melvin

Saturday, 6th February, 2016 9:37pm

Mayo make Dubs sweat for victory

Mayo .......... 0-7

Dublin .........0-9


BOTH Mayo and Dublin parked their buses at Elverys MacPark, Castlebar, on a very dreary and wet Saturday night when the Connaught champions came up just short of causing an upset against the reigning All-Ireland and national league champions.

It was a transformed Mayo team that took to the pitch from the side which crashed to Cork a week ago and, while Mayo manager Stephen Rochford will be pleased with the performance, the result still leaves him without a point after two games.

However, Mayo supporters in a crowd of over 10,000 went home happy in the knowledge that this team is far from written-off as they brought an intensity and hunger to their play which was sadly lacking in Cork.

With a bit more they might have pulled off a shock win with virtually all the players upping their game.

But Dublin’s composure held firm in the end as they hit three unanswered points in their best spell of the second half to finally open up some daylight between themselves and Mayo, the accuracy of Dean Rock and James McCarthy being crucial for the visitors.

In a late surge, Mayo moved Aidan O’Shea to the edge the square and emptied a bench, which included Keith Higgins.

But despite the roars from Mayo supporters for a penalty, if not a free at least, when O’Shea was tackled by three Dublin defenders, the referee awarded a free out and with it went Mayo’s best chance of creating a goal.

Robbie Hennelly, with a long range free, and Evan Regan (free) kept Mayo in touch in a game which boiled over with simultaneous shemozzles on the pitch and, when the dust cleared, Colm Boyle for Mayo and John Small of Dublin were dismissed on second yellow cards but the issue was well settled at that stage.

The first half saw Mayo’s defence really put the pressure on Dublin and it took a Stephen Cluxton injury-time free penalty to give the champion a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead.

Diarmuid O’Connor, who was Mayo’s man of the match, Evan Regan, with a point which he might well have buried in the net, and a ’45 from Robbie Hennelly, accounting for Mayo's tally in the opening half. 

Dublin: S. Cluxton, J. Cooper, M. Fitzsimmons, David Byrne, J. McCarthy (0-1), J. Small, E O’Conaghaile (0-1), P. McMahon, D. Bastick (0-1) T. Brady, D. Connolly (0-1), C. Kilkenny, P. Andrews, D. Rock (0-4, 3f, 1’45), P. Mannion.

Subs used: J. McCaffrey for P McMahon (BC, 3), S. Carthy for Bastic (37), K. Redmond for T. Brady 41, C Costello (0-1) for Mannion, 26 for 13 (60), D. Daly for Cooper (72),

Mayo: R. Hennelly (0-2, 2 ’45s), B. Harrison, G. Cafferkey, C. Crowe, D. Vaughan, C. Boyle, S. Nally, M. Hall, T. Parsons, C. O’Shea, A. O’Shea, D. O’Connor (0-2), E. Regan (0-3, 2f), J. Doherty, M. Sweeney.

Subs used: J. Gibbons for Parsons (ht), D. Drake for Vaughan (inj, 40), K. Higgins for Hall (54), C. Carolan for M. Sweeney (58), D. McHale for C. O’Shea (62), S. McHale for S. Nally (70).

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