JUST four points separated the sides in the end and had Mayo a reliable free-taker they might have even got something from this game but it would have been a serious miscarriage of justice had Dublin not picked up both points to maintain their unbeaten run in Division 1 of the Allianz National Football League.
Goals do win matches and two in this encounter, one in each half, were to prove decisive. The second, a tap-in effort from Niall Scully, came 12 minutes into the second half and gave Dublin a lead of 2-9 to 0-8 - the eventually won on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-12 - and already there were a few supporters among a crowd of 15,313 (official) heading for the exits.
There was no way back from there really for Mayo, although it might have been a different game had Adam Gallagher not blazed inches wide with the goal at his mercy in the opening minutes of the second half.
To add to Mayo’s woes, Jason Doherty missed two scoreable frees and Andy Moran also saw an effort from a free drift wide.
It was left to Conor Lofts to put some respectability on Mayo’s final tally when he nailed three frees when introduced 10 minutes from time.
Mayo did rally in the end but it came way too late as Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimmons was given a straight red for a tackle on Aidan O’Shea.
It was never a dirty game simply because Dublin ran the show and must have had 70% possession in the second half alone as they toyed with Mayo, who never had enough ball to win this game and what ball they did have was not always used astutely.
A cracker of a goal from Paul Mannion inside the first minute gave Dublin control of the first half as Mayo were left chasing the game and chasing a lot of Dublin shadows, particularly in the forward division.
Rumours circulating all week of Lee Keegan starting for Mayo were confirmed when he replaced Jason Gibbons on the team selected and the Westport man came in with an inspirational point to keep Mayo hanging on to Dublin’s coatails, Stephen Coen, Kevin McLoughlin and Andy Moran also getting on the scoreboard in the first half.
But it was Dean Rock, Mannion and Ciaran Kilkenny who were pulling the Dublin strings in the first half as they led by 1-9 to 0-7 after a first half played at pace, Dublin putting a string of passes together before bursting into spaces to pick off some good scores.
Mayo travel to Newbridge next Sunday to take on Kildare where a win is urgently needed if they hope to remain in Division 1 next season.
Mayo: R. Hennelly (0-1, ’45), C. Crowe, G. Cafferkey, E. O’Donoghue, C. Boyle, L. Keegan (0-1), M. Hall, S. Coen (0-1), A. O’Shea, K. McLoughlin (0-2), D. O’Connor, D. Drake, J. Doherty (0-3f), A. Moran (0-1), A. Gallagher.
Subs used: S. O’Shea for Gallagher (55), C. Loftus (0-3f) for McLoughlin, F. Boland for D. O’Connor (60). S. Akram for Drake (64), D. Kirby for Doherty (70).
Dublin: S. Cluxton, D. Daly, N. Fitzsimmons, D. Byrne, J. McCarthy, J. Cooper J. Small, B. Fenton (0-1), M.D. McCauley, B. Howard, C. Kilkenny (0-2), N. Scully (1-0), P. Mannion (1-1), K. McMenamon, D. Rock (0-6, 4f).
Subs used: C. O’Sullivan, S. McCarty, D. Connolly, C. Basquel, C. Reddin, J. Small, E. Ó Conghaile.
Referee: P. Neilan (Roscommon).