Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park
Dublin welcomed Mayo to Croke Park this evening in a game that was highly anticipated among supporters, however, failed to live up to the pre-game hype as Dublin swatted aside James Horan’s side.
The game started tentatively with both sides wasting possession in the opening couple of minutes. The first big moment of the match came when Ger Cafferkey excellently blocked down Con O’Callaghan who, after being fed through by late replacement, Ciaran Kilkenny, had a goal on his mind.
Paul Mannion got the All-Ireland champions off the mark before Mayo’s Jason Doherty dropped a relatively easy free-kick short.
It took a further six minutes for the second score of the game through Cormac Costello who pointed from a free following a foul by Aidan O’Shea on Brian Fenton.
Mayo looked to mount a promising attack as they claimed the resulting kick-out with O’Shea feeding a beautiful pass inside to Brian Reape, however, the Moy Davitts man couldn’t hold on under pressure as Mayo struggled to get into the game.
It took 15 minutes, but the West finally awoke through goalkeeper, Rob Hennelly, who kicked a monster free-kick from well beyond the 45-metre line to inject some life into the Mayo side.
Fionn McDonagh scored to put Mayo on level terms, however, the elation lasted all of a minute after Costello rattled the net for Jim Gavin’s side.
The Whitehall man showed beautiful footwork to side-step Keith Higgins, but looked to have lost possession, however, the silky forward was able to chip the ball back up and bear down on Hennelly’s goal were he left the Breaffy goalkeeper with no chance.
Dublin almost backed up their first goal with a second. Brian Howard fired a ball inside to Ciaran Kilkenny who collected majestically before teeing up Mannion for the finish. The Kilmacud Crokes man seemed to try and fire underneath the legs of Hennelly who read it well and made the save.
Mayo continued to prove lacklustre as yet another ball was dropped short into Evan Comerford’s hands. From the resulting counter-attack, Dublin were able to send through Ciaran Kilkenny who opted to fist over the bar when a goal looked likely.
As half-time approached it went from bad to worse for Mayo as Andy Moran ballooned the ball wide with the goal at his mercy. From the resulting kick-out, Costello was able to score his second point of the game to stretch Dublin’s lead to six.
The Dubs spurned yet another goal chance as Jack McCaffrey burst through the middle, but was unable to generate enough power on his shot leaving Hennelly with a comfortable save. The Clontarf man then made up for his earlier goal chance by tagging on another Dublin score.
Mayo were given a lifeline after brian Reape put Jason Doherty through on goal, only for him to be dragged down by Dublin captain, Jonny Cooper, who only received a yellow card, much to the Mayo crowd’s dismay.
Doherty stepped up to take the kick but his effort was well saved by young Comerford in goal who got low down to his right to parry the ball around the post.
Hennelly was able to stick the 45 over with ease to bring Mayo back to within six points as the first half entered injury time.
Costello continued to torment Higgins up front and very nearly scored another goal, forcing a smart save from Hennelly. Costello miss kicked the resulting 45, but after some sloppy defending by Mayo he found himself through on goal yet again. Hennelly was able to save once more marking the fourth time in the half that he was called into action between the sticks.
A poor opening 35 minutes from Mayo who registered six wides as well as dropping multiple balls short into Comerford’s hands.
Half-time score: Dublin 1-6 Mayo 0-3
Mayo needed an early spark in the second half and they got that through Matthew Ruane who kicked a beautiful score almost immediately after the restart.
Mayo’s star of the first half was Rob Hennelly who kicked two scores and saved four certain goals and the big Breaffy man was called into action again five minutes into the second charging down a Paul Mannion shot from close range.
Con O’Callaghan and Kevin McLoughlin traded scores before substitute Seamus O’Shea was shown a black card following a foul. Dublin then turned the screw once more, stretching their lead to seven points through Brian Fenton.
The pace of the game slowed down midway through the second-half as Dublin looked to hold their lead and keep Mayo at bay.
‘Come on you Boys in Blue’ rang out from Hill 16 as the game entered its final ten minutes with Dublin looking to slow the game down and entice Mayo on to them, eventually drawing the free, however, substitute, Dean Rock, was unable to convert.
A free from Doherty once again brought Mayo back to within six, but they failed to capitalise on it as they spurned a promising opportunity for a goal almost immediately.
Hennelly foiled yet another potential goal for Dublin before Doherty and Rock traded scores heading into injury time.
In the end, it never looked like anything but a Dublin win as they cruised past the challenge of Mayo to get their Allianz League campaign back on track.
1. Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams)
2. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
4. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)
26. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
6. Jonny Cooper (c) (Na Fianna)
7. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf) 0-1
8. Brian Fenton (Raheny) 0-1
9. Darren Gavin (Lucan Sarsfields)
10. Brian Howard (Raheny)
11. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille) 1-4
12. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)
13. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes) 0-2
23. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock) 0-1
15. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala) 0-1
14. Dean Rock 0-2 for 23. Ciaran Kilkenny
17. Paddy Andrews for 13. Paul Mannion
19. Sean Bulger for 10. Brian Howard
20. Darren Daly for 6. Jonny Cooper
22. Michael Darragh Macauley for 9. Darren Gavin
1. Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy) 0-2
2. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
3. Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites)
4. Keith Higgins (c) (Ballyhaunis)
5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
8. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy) 0-1
9. Donal Vaughan (Castlebar Mitchels)
10. Fionn McDonagh (Westport) 0-1
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Ciaran Treacy (Ballina Stephenites)
13. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
14. Brian Reape (Bohola Moy Davitts)
15. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) 0-2
18. Brendan Harrison for 3. Ger Cafferkey
25. Kevin McLoughlin 0-1 for 12. Ciaran Treacy
23. Seamus O’Shea for 7. Patrick Durcan
24. Fergal Boland for 13. Andy Moran
21. Stephen Coen for 14. Brian Reape