Mayo are through to the All-Ireland final, handing Dublin their first championship defeat since 2014.
It took extra-time for the Connacht champions, but they finally ended Dublin’s record-breaking run.
It just had to be Mayo. And they did it in the most Mayo way possible. Six points down at half-time, they looked down and out. But James Horan’s charges mustered a momentous comeback to level it after 70 minutes, and rode a wave of momentum to see it out after extra-time.
From throw-in, Dublin showed no signs of the rustiness seen in the Leinster Championship with a professional and composed opening half.
It may not have been a classic from throw-in, but it did not need to be from Dessie Farrell’s perspective. The Sky Blues were patient in possession and clinical in attack against a Mayo team that set up too defensively.
Horan’s side struggled to hit the heights they reached during the second half of the Connacht final, as they let their opponents out of sight.
The men in green and red failed to enjoy significant spells in possession, and were unable to convert on the occasions they found a sight on goal. Four points was their return after the opening 35 minutes, after they kicked four wides and dropped two shots short.
Aidan O’Shea’s 22nd-minute wide from a mark on the 14-metre line was particularly dispiriting for Mayo, as they struggled to find a spark.
Up the other end, Ciaran Kilkenny, Paddy Small, Dean Rock and Con O’Callaghan were far more industrious as Dublin led 0-10 to 0-4 at the halfway mark.
Mayo needed a lull in Dublin’s performance, and that came in the third quarter. The Leinster champions’ first four efforts after the restart failed to find the target.
The Westerners took advantage, registering three points without reply and denying Dublin a score in the third quarter.
Lee Keegan’s right-footed effort made it 0-10 to 0-7 at the water break.
Dean Rock and Paddy Small did keep Dublin ahead, but Mayo kept coming.
A Rock free left the men from the capital two ahead as the game entered injury-time, and the Sky Blues looked to keep possession. However, unlike other Dublin opponents in recent months, Mayo pushed right up. First, they forced a turnover which led to a Ryan O’Donoghue free, bringing it back to one.
They then pressured the Metropolitans to concede a 45, and Rob Hennelly stood up to force extra-time.
Mayo carried the momentum into extra-time, and Dublin had no answer. Their woes were compounded when Colm Basquel was sent to the sin-bin, and quickfire scores from Tommy Conroy, Darren Coen and Ryan O’Donoghue put Mayo 0-17 to 0-14 ahead.
It was then Mayo’s turn to defend a lead, and they did so with composure.
They have ended a 15-game winless run against Dublin, and are through to the All-Ireland final. On current form, they have every chance of ending their 70-year wait for an All-Ireland title.
Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue (0-5, 0-2, 0-1m), Rob Hennelly (0-3, 0-2f, 0-1 ’45), Tommy Conroy (0-3), Lee Keegan (0-1), Matthew Ruane (0-1), Conor Loftus (0-1), Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Jordan Flynn (0-1), Darren Coen (0-1).
Dublin: Dean Rock (0-7, 0-5f), Ciarán Kilkenny (0-3, 0-1m), Paddy Small (0-2), Con O’Callaghan (0-1), Sean Bugler (0-1).
1. Evan Comerford
2. Michael Fitzsimons
3. David Byrne
4. Jonny Cooper
6. John Small
9. Brian Howard
24. Eoin Murchan
5. James McCarthy
8. Brian Fenton
10. Paddy Small
12. Niall Scully
15. Cormac Costello
14. Con O’Callaghan
13. Dean Rock
11. Ciaran Kilkenny
Colm Basquel for Cormac Costello (49th minute)
Tom Lahiff for Jonny Cooper (52nd minute)
Sean Bugler for Niall Scully (62nd minute)
Sean McMahon for Eoin Murchan (67th minute)
Philly McMahon for Sean McMahon (76th minute)
Robbie McDaid for John Small (10th minute ET)
Aaron Byrne for Brian Howard (12th minute ET)
Cormac Costello for Paddy Small (15th minute ET)
1. Rob Hennelly
2. Pádraig O’Hora
3. Lee Keegan
6. Stephen Coen
4. Michael Plunkett
5. Patrick Durcan
7. Eoin McLaughlin
8. Matthew Ruane
10. Diarmuid O’Connor
12. Darren McHale
9. Conor Loftus
11. Kevin McLoughlin
13. Tommy Conroy
14. Aidan O’Shea
15. Ryan O’Donoghue
Enda Hession for Darren McHale (28th minute)
Bryan Walsh for Michael Plunkett (49th minute)
James Carr for Aidan O’Shea (49th minute)
Jordan Flynn for Eoghan McLaughlin (58th minute)
Conor O’Shea for Conor Loftus (65th minute)
Darren Coen for Stephen Coen (76th minute)
Conor Loftus for Kevin McLoughlin (11th minute ET)
James Durcan for James Carr (15th minute ET – temp)
Brendan Harrison for Diarmuid O’Connor (17th minute ET)
Aidan O’Shea for Darren Coen (22nd minute ET)
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