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Mayo v Dublin ‚?? The Story of an Intriguing Rivalry

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ahead of their meeting in the Allianz Football League at Croke Park this weekend, we take a look back at five memorable games between two intense if infrequent rivals.

While there are remarkably few championship clashes between the two to reflect on – nine in total and only two in the last 26 years – there is usually plenty of drama involved whether Dublin and Mayo meet in the championship or the Allianz League.

All-Ireland Semi-Final 2012: Mayo 0-19 Dublin 0-16

“Dublin! Dublin in Croke Park, it doesn’t get any bigger. An All-Ireland semi-final with 82,000 people in Croke Park!”

The words of the legendary Mayo playmaker Ciar√°n McDonald, a man who six years earlier had written his name indelibly into the great Dublin-Mayo narrative, summing up what the sight of a Sky Blue jersey in late August at HQ means to any Mayo man.

Going into this game against the reigning All-Ireland champions without their captain and attacking fulcrum Andy Moran, few gave Mayo much chance.

However, playing some sweet attacking football orchestrated by Alan Dillon, James Horan’s side raced into a 0-12 to 0-6 lead at the break. With Aidan O’Shea and Barry Moran outstanding in midfield, the Westerners were 10 clear (0-17 to 0-7) at one stage in the second half after a run of five consecutive scores, including three from Cillian O’Connor.

Dublin manager Pat Gilroy’s decision to risk bringing on the injured Alan Brogan at half-time backfired as the then Footballer of the Year lasted just 17 minutes before being hauled off again with a groin problem.

In a frantic finale, Dublin kicked eight points in a row and threatened a monumental comeback, but goalkeeper David Clarke made an incredible save from Bernard Brogan three minutes from full-time and O’Connor then ended a 22-minute spell without a score in injury time before S√©amus O’Shea added the insurance point.

“We seemed to run out of juice a little bit, and they were coming at us in waves, so it was last-ditch defending but we managed to keep it out, and we showed great character at the end," said Horan.¬†

Allianz Football League Division I 2012: Mayo 0-20 Dublin 0-8

The first attempt at this Round 2 fixture was abandoned at half-time last February when fog descended on MacHale Park and forced the referee to postpone the game. Back for a second attempt at the same venue in late March, according to the Irish Times, “Dublin walked down a blind alley and got mugged.”

There were more than 12,000 witnesses in Castlebar but many struggled to offer an explanation. Mayo had lost to Cork a week earlier while Dublin beat Donegal by nine points. There was nothing to suggest a massacre.

However, with Alan Dillon, Conor Mortimer and Michael Conroy all giving an exhibition of long-range point-taking, Mayo were 0-13 to 0-5 ahead at the break after a first half bombardment. Dublin had Paul Flynn sent off at the start of the second half and Diarmuid Connolly then followed him to the line for a second yellow card offence.

The dismissals ended any forlorn hope of a Dublin revival, and it was left to Mortimer to decorate the scoreline with a few more super points, bringing his haul for the evening to eight, which saw him surpass Joe Corcoran as Mayo’s all-time top scorer.

“We never got near the pitch of that game at all. From start to finish there was only one team in it,” said a shell-shocked Dublin manager Pat Gilroy afterwards.

All-Ireland Semi-Final 2006: Mayo 1-16 Dublin 2-12

The afternoon famously started with a row over territorial rights to warm-up in front of the ‘Hill’ and ended up with Ciar√°n McDonald kicking a storied winning point for Mayo. The notoriously shy Crossmolina man had changed and was in a car on the way back home 15 minutes later, but it is a moment that will be remembered by fans of the Green and Red forever.

After the pre-match furore died down, Dublin looked to have the match wrapped up when they led by 2-11 to 0-10 after 46 minutes thanks to goals from Conal Keaney and Jason Sherlock.

However, Mickey Moran’s charges lit the after-burners in the final quarter and outscored their opponents by 1-6 to 0-1 over the remainder of the game to cause a massive upset. Andy Moran got the goal that got the ball rolling, but McDonald’s moment of genius two minutes from the end settled the game.

“I remember kicking that point and the crowd going crazy,” McDonald recalled in an interview with last summer. “I remember being seven points down and the substitutes that we put in all clicking. I remember Andy Moran’s goal.

“But my biggest memory is giving an absolutely brutal pass that Darren Magee cut out. The ball went down to the far corner of the Canal End and I said to myself, ‘here we go again’.

“It went out for a ‘45’, a combination of Clarkey (goalkeeper David Clarke) and David Brady punched it out. It just shows the thin line from one second being totally elated to making an absolute mess of things a minute later.”

All-Ireland Semi-Final Replay 1985: Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-7

The drawn game at Croke Park finished 1-13 apiece, after Mayo had taken an early lead through a Noel Durcan goal but they allowed Dublin to take control of the game by half-time. With the help of an excellent performance from prodigy P√°draig Brogan, and a point from the boot of 42-year-old Billy Fitzpatrick, the Westerners came back to level the game.

Inevitably, Dublin were far too strong in the replay. The game, however, will be fondly remembered for P√°draig Brogan’s remarkable goal, voted that season’s best, and a brilliant performance from Willie Joe Padden.

All-Ireland Semi-Final Replay 1955: Dublin 1-8 Mayo 1-7

The first game was played in a rainstorm and Dublin only earned a reprieve when Nicky Maher, wearing goggles over his spectacles, kicked a late free to force a 1-4 to 0-7 draw and a replay.

Although Mayo at the time were considered to be past their best having won back-to-back All-Ireland titles in 1950-’51, they once against fought to the bitter end against a Dublin side playing a new brand of ‘modern’ football.

However, Dublin, who featured the late Kevin Heffernan, prevailed by a single point on a much more benign day in Croke Park the second time around only to lose to Kerry in the final.

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