Allianz FL D1: Dublin claim the spoils
Allianz Football League Division One
DUBLIN 1-12 MAYO 0-7
By Cian O’Connell at Croke Park
The spring can be about statements as much as silverware, but there was no disguising that this victory brought some satisfaction to Dublin.
Two defeats in three games was an unfamiliar situation for Dublin to be dealing with, but they were always in charge at Croke Park with the emerging Darren Gavin enjoying a productive outing at centrefield alongside the enduring excellence of Brian Fenton.
Buoyed up by three triumphs in a row James Horan’s outfit were eager to examine themselves at the Jones Road venue, but Dublin had the guile to earn the spoils with the minimum of fuss as Mayo only mustered 0-7 from 24 shots.
While it wasn’t Dublin at their dynamic and daring best it was, nonetheless, an important success keeping the standard bearers very much in the hunt for a top two finish.
It was an opening period stuffed with missed opportunities by both teams, but Dublin still departed at the break armed with a commanding 1-6 to 0-3 advantage.
Dublin squandered some decent goalscoring chances as Mayo custodian Robert Hennelly made a string of fine saves, but Jim Gavin’s charges dictated affairs.
In front of 35,213 spectators Dublin settled briskly and a splendid 19th minute goal from Cormac Costello illustrated the All Ireland champions’ craft.
Ciaran Kilkenny’s clever, deep delivery located Costello in space and the Whitehall Colmcilles attacker evaded Keith Higgins before making the Mayo net dance.
Further points from Paul Mannion, Kilkenny, Costello, and a particularly delightful effort from Jack McCaffrey steered Dublin 1-6 to 0-2 clear.
Mayo, though, were awarded a penalty when Jonny Cooper fouled Doherty, but then Evan Comerford subsequently denied the Burrishoole clubman.
Hennelly did trim the deficit from the resultant 45, but Mayo’s 0-3 return represented a 25% conversion rate which was worrying.
At the opposite end Dublin were thwarted by Hennelly and a source of concern was the fact that they only nailed 1-6 from 19 efforts.
Still it was enough to ensure they led at six at the turnaround and Mayo were under duress when the action restarted, but it followed a similar pattern.
While Matthew Ruane did clip a gorgeous score Mayo missed their next five attempts capturing precisely the reason why their winning streak wouldn’t be extended.
Mayo’s thoughts turn to next Saturday evening at Elverys MacHale Park where the green and red hope to scratch an itch by beating Galway for the first time since 2015.
Dublin, gradually getting back to full tilt and striving to retain the League crown, will head for Dr Hyde Park heartened.
Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 1-4 (2fs), Paul Mannion (1f) and Dean Rock (1f, 1m) 0-2 each, Brian Fenton, Con O’Callaghan, Jack McCaffrey, and Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: Robert Hennelly (1f, 145) and Jason Doherty (2fs) 0-2 each, Fionn McDonagh, Matthew Ruane, and Kevin McLoughlin 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford; David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Jonny Cooper; Jack McCaffrey, Cian O’Sullivan, Eoin Murchan; Brian Fenton, Darren Gavin; Niall Scully, Con O’Callaghan, Brian Howard; Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny, Cormac Costello.
Subs: Dean Rock for Kilkenny (50), Paddy Andrews for Mannion (58), Sean Bugler for Howard (65), Darren Daly for Fitzsimons (65), Michael Darragh MacAuley for Gavin (67).
MAYO: Robert Hennelly; Keith Higgins, Ger Cafferkey, Brendan Harrison; Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan; Matthew Ruane, Donal Vaughan; Fionn McDonagh, Aidan O’Shea, Ciaran Treacy; Jason Doherty, Brian Reape, Andy Moran.
Subs: Chris Barrett for Cafferkey (20), Kevin McLoughlin for Treacy (35), Seamus O’Shea for Durcan (HT), Fergal Boland for Moran (59), Stephen Coen for Reape (69).
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry).