FL1: high drama at Croker as Dubs and Mayo draw
March 29, 2014
Dublin's Cian O'Sullivan with Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Freeman and Jason Doherty of Mayo.
Eoghan O'Gara's injury-time bullet gave fourteen-man Dublin a 3-14 to 2-17 draw with Mayo in this Croke Park thriller.
With 22,697 spectators looking on in wonder at this repeat of last September's All-Ireland final, these two teams provided an incredible night of entertainment.
Dublin had goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton sent off in the first half and trailed by six points late on, but goals from Kevin McManamon and O'Gara (2) saw them come away with an unlikely draw in the end.
The westerners led by 1-9 to 0-8 at the end of an incident-packed first half thanks to a late run of four unanswered points.
Kevin McLoughlin slotted their opening goal in the 24th minute when he fired a low shot to Cluxton's right and the Dublin goalkeeper's night went from bad to worse when he was sent off with a straight red card a few minutes later for getting involved with the Mayo goalscorer.
Cluxton had opened the scoring and Paddy Andrews doubled the Dubs' advantage before Alan Brogan made it 0-3 to no score. But Mayo responded well to move ahead with a flurry of scores into the Hill from Cillian O'Connor (2), Donal Vaughan and Andy Moran.
Paul Flynn and McLoughlin swapped scores and Cormac Costello's point had the sides level at the end of the first quarter, 0-5 apiece. Costello (free) and Brogan then edged the hosts into a two-point lead.
McLoughlin's major propelled Mayo back in front and Costello levelled the scores again before Cluxton received his marching orders.
James Horan's charges finished the first half strongly with scores from O'Connor, Keith Higgins, Vaughan and McLoughlin to lead by four at the interval.
The first four points of the second half were shared with McManamon cancelling out efforts from McLoughlin and O'Connor. When O'Connor's free made it a five-point match again, this time Costello replied.
O'Connor (free) and Mickey Sweeney then pointed the Connacht champions into a six-point lead before the 14 men replied with a trademark McManamon three-pointer: 1-14 to 1-11.
After Jason Gibbons and Jason Whelan had pointed at either end, Diarmuid Connolly reduced the arrears to two points.
Jason Doherty's goal for Mayo was disallowed … but Sweeney's 64th-minute effort wasn't and it looked like the match was over at 2-15 to 1-13.
Connolly pointed and O'Gara then found the net to make it a one-point game. Two O'Connor pointed frees seemed to have seen the westerners through but O'Gara blasted defiantly to the net before Jack McCaffrey missed a chance to win it for Jim Gavin's charges.
The sides remain deadlocked on the Division One table, now with seven points each.
Dublin - S Cluxton (0-1'45); J Cooper, R O'Carroll, D Daly; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, K Nolan; M D Macauley, T Brady; D Connolly (0-2, 1f), P Flynn (0-1), P Andrews (0-1); A Brogan (0-2), C Costello (0-4, 1f), K McManamon (1-2). Subs: J Whelan (0-1) for P Flynn, S Currie for T Brady, N Devereux for P Andrews, J McCaffrey for C O'Sullivan, D Nelson for D Daly, E O'Gara (2-0) for C Costello.
Mayo - R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, G Cafferkey, B Harrison; L Keegan, D Vaughan (0-2), C Boyle; A O'Shea, J Gibbons (0-1); K Higgins (0-1), A Moran (0-1), J Doherty; K McLoughlin (1-3), A Freeman, C O'Connor (0-8, 6f). Subs: S McHale for C Boyle (BC), D Drake for B Harrison, M Sweeney (1-1) for A Freeman, E Varley for G Cafferkey, T Parsons for A O'Shea, S O'Shea for J Doherty.
Referee - C Reilly.
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