Allianz FL D1: Impressive Mayo triumph
Allianz Football League Division One
Mayo 2-11 Dublin 0-12
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
First-half goals from Jack Carney and Aiden Orme laid the platform for Mayo's latest Croke Park win over Dublin, leaving Dessie Farrell's Sky Blues rooted to the foot of Division 1 of the Allianz League.
Five months on from last year's All-Ireland semi-final win over then All-Ireland holders Dublin, James Horan's Mayo repeated the feat though were more comfortable winners this time.
Last year's tussle went to extra-time but the Connacht champions led for most of this game and impressively held Dublin to just three points in the entire second-half.
Diarmuid O'Connor and goalkeeper Rob Hennelly impressed too for Mayo who play Armagh next in what will be an intriguing top of the table clash.
As for Dublin, they'll head to Newbridge and Kildare next weekend knowing that they simply have to get a win to get their season up and running.
Last year's joint league winners have now slipped to three consecutive defeats - to Armagh, Kerry and Mayo - and they never looked like rescuing a result from this game in a second-half that Mayo dominated.
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell may console himself with the fact that by starting Michael Fitzsimons and bringing on Jonny Cooper and Cian Murphy, he has looked at a whopping 46 different players this year as he experiments heavily.
Even with precious momentum on their side, and Dublin reeling after those back to back defeats, Mayo supporters still travelled to Croke Park anticipating a dogfight with a familiar foe.
Last August's All-Ireland semi-final win over Dublin was their first in 18 consecutive league and Championship games so taking the hosts for granted simply wasn't an option.
Mayo were also considerably changed from the side that beat Monaghan in Round 2 with Matthew Ruane and Oisin Mullin both starting their first games of the year.
Carney was recalled to the half-forward line too after club commitments with Kilmeena and all three players had an immediate impact.
Ruane scored Mayo's second point in the fifth minute to move the visitors 0-2 to 0-0 clear and while Dublin responded with four points in a row, Ruane and Mullin pointed again to tie it up at 0-4 apiece.
Mullin clipped a terrific score from the right wing and underlined yet again what an asset he is to the team and how fortunate Mayo are that he knocked back an AFL offer.
Dublin led briefly through Ciaran Kilkenny but Carney's 21st minute goal put Mayo ahead and they would remain in that position virtually for the duration.
There was a touch of fortune about Mayo's first goal as Carney's initial strike came off the foot of the post before cannoning off the back of the head of Dublin goalkeeper Evan Comerford who'd performed a full length dive.
But the influential O'Connor's probing hand pass from the left wing after beating Fitzsimons to the ball, finding the onrushing Carney in space, was sumptuous and deserved to create a goal.
A three-in-a-row of Dublin points from former U-20 star Ross McGarry and Dean Rock steadied Dublin before they were suckered with another Mayo goal.
This time Orme did the damage in the 32nd minute as he played a clever one-two with Ryan O'Donoghue before palming home at the Hill 16 End.
Goalkeeper Hennelly closed out the first-half action with a point from a '45, leaving Mayo 2-6 to 0-9 ahead and eyeing a significant win.
Dublin needed a serious improvement but only added three more points in the second-half, and just two from play.
Substitute Lorcan O'Dell, whose 45th minute goal effort was tipped over by Hennelly, Rock and John Small grabbed those scores for the Leinster champions.
Mayo only added five more points themselves but were always in control and defender Michael Plunkett twice found a huge area of space down the right from which to kick a brace of points.
O'Connor, fed by sub Kevin McLoughlin, rounded off the scoring for Mayo to seal a fully deserved five-point win.
Scorers for Mayo: Aiden Orme 1-1, Jack Carney 1-0, Matthew Ruane 0-2, Michael Plunkett 0-2, Diarmuid O'Connor 0-2, Rob Hennelly 0-2 (0-1 45, 0-1f), Bryan Walsh 0-1, Oisin Mullin 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-4 (0-4f), Ciaran Kilkenny 0-3 (1m), Ross McGarry 0-2 (1m), Sean Bugler 0-1, Lorcan O'Dell 0-1, John Small 0-1.
Mayo: Rob Hennelly; Lee Keegan, Rory Brickenden, Michael Plunkett; Oisin Mullin, Stephen Coen, Donnacha McHugh; Matthew Ruane, Jordan Flynn; Bryan Walsh, Diarmuid O'Connor, Jack Carney; Paul Towey, Ryan O'Donoghue, Aiden Orme.
Subs: Kevin McLoughlin for Carney 49, Conor Loftus for Towey 49, Enda Hession for Mullin 60, Aidan O'Shea for Ruane 62, Fergal Boland for O'Donoghue 65, Eoghan McLaughlin for Plunkett 72 - f/t, blood.
Dublin: Evan Comerford; Michael Fitzsimons, Sean McMahon, David Byrne; Lee Gannon, John Small, Tom Lahiff; Brian Fenton, Brian Howard; Sean Bugler, Niall Scully, Ryan Basquel; Ross McGarry, Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock.
Subs: Lorcan O'Dell for McGarry 40, Jonny Cooper for Basquel 50, AlexWright for Howard 65, Cian Murphy for Gannon 65, Harry Ladd for Scully 72.
Referee: David Gough (Meath).