All Ireland SFC SF: Mayo dethrone Dublin
All Ireland SFC Semi-Final
MAYO 0-17 DUBLIN 0-14
By Colm Gannon at Croke Park
Mayo finally scratched the itch that had been plaguing them for the last decade with a stunning second half and extra-time fight back against All Ireland champions Dublin.
They trailed by six at the break and reeled them in slowly and steadily over the the following 40 odd minutes, with Robert Hennelly holding his nerve to slot over an injury time free to level the game up at 13 points a piece.
In the process of that half they held Dublin to just three points and in the 20 minutes of extra time Dublin added just one while Mayo kicked four to seal a memorable victory for the westerners.
Dublin led byfour points at the first water break,with Dean Rock and Ciarán Kilkenny leading the way on the scoring front hitting five of the Dubs six points.
Inside the opening minute Rock opened his account with a free after Kilkenny had been fouled by Stephen Coen following a long ball into the danger area.
Two minutes after Mayo missed two good scoring chances with Diarmuid O’Connor dropping a long range free short and then Ryan O’Donoghue pulling a close range free wide at the far post.
Kilkenny got his first of the day after a swift break from the back finished off with him being played in by Rock.
Seven minutes in Rock had his next score easing one over the bar from the Cusack Stand side after a long period of methodical possession from Dublin and two minutes later they were four clear thanks to a fisted effort from Con O’Callaghan.
Mayo finally got the scoreboard moving in their favour when Matthew Ruane hammered one over from distance, but Dublin went back in front when Kilkenny scored from play after his side held onto the ball for well over two minutes of action.
Ryan O’Donghoue cut the gap to three, but right on the first water break whistle Rock put over another free to leave his side leading 0-6 to 0-2.
Dublin continued their dominance in the second quarter, retaining possession at their ease as Mayo sunk back into a defensive pattern and picked off scores when the chance finally came.
Rock kicked frees in the 23rd and 26th minute to extend their lead to six and two minutes later Paddy Small put seven between the teams after another long period of keep ball.
Mayo finally got their third score of the day when Robert Hennelly stepped up and drove the ball over the bar from a free just outside the 45m line.
Tommy Conroy had a chance to keep that momentum up, but his effort skewed wide of the target and it was Dublin who registered the next score though a Kilkenny mark after another long period of Dublin keep ball.
Mayo did manage to get the last score of the half when Conor Loftus drove one over the bar from distance, but Dublin were looking good going in at the break leading 0-10 to 0-4.
The third quarter was a slow moving affair with both sides keeping the ball for lengthy plays, probing and prodding looking for gaps. Dublin were kept scoreless by Mayo who were starting to slowly pull in Dublin.
Ryan O’Donoghue pointed after a long run, Hennelly nailed a free and right on the second water break whistle Lee Keegan popped up to put the ball over the bar and leave just three between them.
Dublin looked to have weathered the storm with quick points from Paddy Small and Rock to go five clear again with just over 12 minutes in normal time.
Hennelly drove over a monster of a point from a free, Jordan Flynn pointed from close range, then James Carr, O’Donoghue and Conroy got points to leave just one between them on 68 minutes.
Like the All Ireland champions they are, Dublin came back at them and a Rock point left two between them as the game headed for seven minutes of injury time.
Mayo's desire to keep in it was shown by Diarmuid O’Connor who chased down a free that was drifting over the end line. He kept it in play and Kevin McLoughlin put it over the bar to close the gap to one.
Mayo pushed up and Conor O’Shea forced a turnover on the end line and Mayo got a last chance 45 to level it up. Hennelly had a first effort that was sailing wide, but was given a second shot at it by the referee and he made no mistake sending it right over the bar and the game into extra time.
Seán Bugler got the scoring going after everyone got their breath back, but that was it for Dublin as Mayo took control of the game. Tommy Conroy drove through to shoot over two minutes in, three minutes later he landed another and then Darren Coen curled one over from under the Cusack Stand and O’Donoghue hit another to put Mayo four clear.
The second half of extra time saw Mayo hold on to possession and wind the clock down to see the game out and book another All Ireland final spot for James Horan’s men as they go looking to bridge a 70 year gap since the county's last success on the biggest of days.
Scorers for Mayo: Ryan O'Donoghue 0-5 (2fs), Tommy Conroy and Robert Hennelly (2fs, 145) 0-3 each, Darren Coen, Jason Flynn, Kevin McLoughlin, Lee Keegan, Conor Loftus, Mattie Ruane 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-7 (5fs), Ciarán Kilkenny 0-3 (1m), Paddy Small 0-2, Con O'Callaghan and Seán Bugler 0-1 each.
MAYO: Robert Hennelly; Pádraig O'Hora, Lee Keegan, Michael Plunkett; Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin; Mattie Ruane, Diarmuid O'Connor; Conor Loftus, Kevin McLoughlin, Darren McHale; Tommy Conroy, Aidan O'Shea, Ryan O'Donoghue.
Subs: Enda Hession for McHale (27), James Carr for O'Shea (49), Bryan Walsh for Plunkett (49), Jordan Flynn for McLaughlin (57), Conor O'Shea for Loftus (65) Darren Coen for S Coen (70+6), Conor Loftus for McLoughlin (80), James Durcan for Carr (85), Brendan Harrison for D O'Connor (87), Aidan O'Shea for D Coen (90).
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford; Michael Fitzsimons, David Byrne, Jonny Cooper; Brian Howard, John Small, Eoin Murchan; James McCarthy, Brian Fenton; Paddy Small, Ciarán Kilkenny, Niall Scully; Dean Rock, Con O'Callaghan, Cormac Costello.
Subs: Colm Basquel for Costello (50), Tom Lahiff for Cooper (52), Seán Bugler for Scully (62), Seán McMahon for Murchan (67), Philly McMahon for Seán McMahon (70+6), Robbie McDaid for J Small (80), Aaron Byrne for Howard (82), Cormac Costello for P Small (85).
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).