Saturday’s thrilling All-Ireland final showcased some of the finest footballers in the country as Dublin won their 26th All-Ireland title by edging out Mayo 1-15 to 1-14 at Croke Park.
In a game that was littered with All-Stars, it was Dublin corner-back Michael Fitzsimons that won man of the match after coming into the side in place of Davy Byrne, who had started in both of Dublin’s All-Ireland quarter and semi-final wins as well as in the drawn final two weeks ago.
Both teams had star performers and here’s a combined side that highlights the best of both teams.
1. Stephen Cluxton
Not really a close battle here as Robert Hennelly was a disaster for Mayo. Cluxton put his kicking woes against Kerry behind him and made a number of vital kickouts towards the end of the game that directly led to key Dublin scores.
2. Philly McMahon
Was a little quiet by his own standards but so was Brendan Harrison down the other end. McMahon battled O’Connor all game and edges out Harrison here.
3. Donal Vaughan
Both Vaughan and Jonny Cooper looked like they were on course for big games on Saturday until referee Maurice Deegan removed Cooper for grabbing Vaughan’s ankles, while Rochford pulled Vaughan at half time after picking up a yellow for an altercation with Diarmuid Connolly. Vaughan made a number of key interceptions at the back for Mayo and did a great job of starting Mayo counter-attacks.
4. Michael Fitzsimons
Dublin’s best on the day, he hassled and hazed his way to a man of the match performance. Limited Mayo’s attacking opportunities down the right flank and was aggressive and highly impressive as Dublin’s right corner-back.
5. James McCarthy
Lee Keegan would probably have gotten the nod here if he wasn’t black carded for bringing down Diarmuid Connolly after a poor Hennelly kick out. Keegan did an excellent job of limiting Connolly’s opportunities but McCarthy made a number of brilliant individual tackles and got through a mountain of work for the Blues.
6. Cian O’Sullivan
Very strong at the back for Dublin and cleaned up any loose ball that broke. Took on the task of marking Aidan O’Shea and did a great job of limiting his opportunities at goal. Colm Boyle was also exceptional and it really is splitting hairs here.
7. Paddy Durcan
Durcan gets the nod here after a great performance down the left flank. Worked tirelessly, linked up well with his team-mates and kicked two tremendous points to keep Mayo in it.
8. Seamus O’Shea
Much improved from the first final and worked really well in tandem with Tom Parsons. Accurate with his passes, got the better of Brian Fenton and was a key figure in Mayo’s late rally.
9. Tom Parsons
Didn’t look very comfortable in taking on defenders in one-on-one situations but put in a great shift nonetheless and was very mobile and adaptable in the Mayo midfield.
10. Kevin McLoughlin
Was as effective in defence as he was in attack as Mayo continually punished Dublin down the left. Was one of Mayo’s main attacking threats in the second half and scored a brilliant point from play to keep Mayo within touching distance.
11. Aidan O’Shea – Like his brother in midfield, Aidan also showed noticeable improvement from the first final and produced a great assist on Keegan’s opening goal. Scoreless from play but a lot of Mayo’s attack went through the Breaffy forward.
12. Diarmuid O’Connor – Worked tirelessly after the break and was instrumental in Mayo mounting a comeback. Created opportunities for Mayo through his work ethic alone and narrowly edges Ciaran Kilkenny who was fantastic for Dublin down the stretch.
13. Dean Rock
Had a point to prove after missing some early frees in the first final. Was exceptional for Dublin and delivered every time he was asked. Ultra reliable with his free taking and put in a very strong performance.
14. Diarmuid Connolly
Received a lot more room to operate following Keegan’s dismissal and scored a brilliant point in the first half after creating some separation from his on-field nemesis. Scored the all-important penalty that ultimately won Dublin the game.
15. Cillian O’Connor
Was outstanding for Mayo and kept the Yew County within touching distance with his accurate free taking. Key figure in Mayo’s comeback and actively looked for the ball during the game’s dying stages. Developing into a real leader and an inspiring captain.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena
Recommended Read: Derry Football Rocked With Mass Exodus From Senior Squad
Read More About: 2016 All-Ireland Football final, aidan o'shea, cian o'sullivan, cillian o'connor, dean rock, diarmuid connolly, Diarmuid O'Connor, Donal Vaughan, dublin gaa news, Dublin Mayo Combined team, Dublin team, dublin v mayo, james mccarthy, Kevin McLaughlin, Mayo GAA news, Mayo team, Michael Fitzsimons, Paddy Durcan, philly mcmahon, seamus o'shea, Stephen cluxton, tom parsons