All-Ireland SFC final replay: Costello the hero as Dubs complete back-to-back successes

October 01, 2016

Dublin's Bernard Brogan and Brendan Harrison of Mayo

Dublin retained their All-Ireland crown with a thrilling 1-15 to 1-14 victory over Mayo in a pulsating encounter under lights at Croke Park.

Substitute Cormac Costello was the match-winner for the defending champions as he came off the bench to hammer over three terrific, defining points from play - the winners' last three scores - with a capacity crowd of 82,249 spectators enraptured.

Diarmuid Connolly's calmly converted penalty at the Davin End in the 42nd minute was also a pivotal score for the Dubs, who have now won 26 All-Irelands and have brought their unbeaten run to an astonishing 29 games.

At the end of an absorbing, controversial first half, during which the teams were level three times, the winners led by a point, 0-10 to 1-6, with Dean Rock supplying eight of those scores into the Hill. Each side lost a key man to black cards before the break, with Jonny Cooper and Lee Keegan dismissed, while Dublin wing back John Small was fortunate to avoid a clear black and then a straight red for swinging at Cillian O'Connor.

The first tactical move of the day became evident 45 minutes before throw-in when it was confirmed that Mayo would start goalkeeper Robert Hennelly in place of David Clarke, who had been between the posts 13 days ago and was listed as custodian on today's match programme. It was a move that didn't pay off as Hennelly's distribution was not up to scratch and he also conceded the critical second-half penalty, which resulted in him being black-carded.

Dubs boss Jim Gavin, who had provisionally announced an unchanged XV, wielded the axe rather ruthlessly prior to the start, making no fewer than three changes in personnel with Man of the Match Michael Fitzsimons, Paddy Andrews and Paul Mannion replacing Davy Byrne, Michael Darragh MacAuley and Bernard Brogan respectively. All three dropped men would make an impact when coming off the bench

Rock's simple free opened the scoring in the fourth minute and the No.13 added two more from play either side of one from Kevin McManamon as the holders led by four points to no score after seven minutes.

Patrick Durcan and O'Connor (two frees) had the westerners within one after eleven minutes and Small was very lucky not to be black-carded for a clear hand-trip on Andy Moran, who tied up the scores on twelve minutes, 0-4 each.

After Rock edged the Dubs back in front by two with a brace of frees, Keegan came forward to give the visitors the lead in the 18th minute with a brilliant goal, drilled low to the bottom left corner of the net - 1-4 to 0-6.

Dublin lost full back Cooper to a harsh black card 15 minutes from the break but they were back in front by the 29th minute courtesy of another couple of unerring Rock frees. O'Connor's third converted free tied the scores up again and Dublin moved back ahead with scores from Connolly -  a sumptuous finish - and Rock (free) before O'Connor notched the last score of the half from a soft free.

With late hits and off-the-ball stuff taking prominence as the quality dropped for the last 15 minutes of the half, Small (yellow) dodged a red-card bullet deep into first-half injury time.

Points from Cillian (free) and Diarmuid O'Connor had the visitors back in front within two minutes of the restart; a Rock free tied the scores up for the fifth time and Dublin won a penalty when Hennelly gifted possession to Andrews and then pulled him down (black card). Connolly stepped up and calmly tucked his 42nd-minute effort to replacement goalkeeper Clarke's right: 1-11 to 1-8.

O'Connor (free) and Kevin McLoughlin had the gap back to the minimum with 16 minutes left but Dubs subs MacAuley and Brogan combined before the latter pointed off his left boot to make it 1-12 to 1-10. Durcan's thumping score (when the Dublin defence decided to run away from him) had it back to one again but Dublin substitute Costello whipped over a quickfire brace off his left foot to leave three between them after an hour.

O'Connor's seventh and eighth successful frees flew over in the 63rd and 66th minutes but Costello replied brilliantly with his third point in the second of six added minutes. O'Connor grabed his ninth point from another free and had a chance to force extra time right at the death but, for the first time today, his free went left and wide as Dublin collected their fourth All-Ireland in six years.

Dublin - S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, J Cooper, P McMahon; J McCarthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton, P Flynn; C Kilkenny, K McManamon (0-1), D Connolly (1-1); P Mannion, D Rock (0-9, 7f), P Andrews. Subs: D Byrne for J Cooper (BC), B Brogan (0-1) for P Andrews, M D Macauley for P Mannion, C Costello (0-3) for K McManamon, E Lowndes for J Small, D Daly for C O'Sullivan.

Mayo - R Hennelly; K Higgins, D Vaughan, B Harrison; L Keegan (1-0), C Boyle, P Durcan (0-2); S O'Shea, T Parsons; D O'Connor (0-1), K McLoughlin (0-1), J Doherty; A Moran (0-1), A O'Shea, C O'Connor (0-9f). Subs: S Coen for L Keegan (BC), C O'Shea for D Vaughan, D Clarke for R Hennelly (BC), B Moran for A Moran, A Dillon for J Doherty, C Barrett for C Boyle.

Referee - M Deegan.

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