Search Results for 'John Small'
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The Dubs drive for five is well and truly under way after they comprehensively defeated Tyrone in last Sunday's final to claim a record equalling fourth title in a row.
This football lark does not get any easier does it. The feeling of sick in the pit of my stomach the morning after an All-Ireland final is an all too familiar feeling now after Mayo suffered another agonising one point defeat to Dublin in another All-Ireland final. The margin of loss makes it even more difficult to take. The level of Mayo's performance makes it hard to comprehend they did not win the game. Every mistake and refereeing decision will be scrutinised and placed under the microscope for years to come.
Sometimes it’s not about being the better team, it’s about finding ways to win games when you are probably second best on the day. Dublin were able to do that, they were able to get themselves over the line right at the end when it mattered most and they claimed their third All Ireland title in a row.
There was more than an air of hope around the county last week that Mayo could go to Croke Park and drive a knife into the heart of Dublin's 32 game unbeaten run in their own back yard. But from within minutes of the ball being thrown in, those hopes were proved to be idle pleasures of an early spring day dream.
It’s the fine margins that win games at the top level and big calls have to be made, for Mayo the fine margins are once again something they fell just short of in Croke Park on Saturday night. The big call made by the management also didn’t work out for them in the end, but there wasn’t an ounce of effort not put into trying to bridge that small gap. Just like 20 years ago, there was point just in it at the end and a penalty for the opposition helped them along the way.
And so another All-Ireland against Dublin ended with a crucial kick from the man whose sublime finish had us back here in the first place.
And we are off again. It has been a long and winding road this year for Mayo on the field and when we thought we had reached the final destination two weeks ago, the car was pointed for home, neither full of joy nor regret, but full of more questions and possible answers. The steering wheel will be turned out on to the road and thousands of cars pointed east to the capital once more, thousands of Mayo fans will make the trek from Blacksod to the bridge in Shrule, full of hope, expectation, and delight tomorrow morning. For this Mayo team have another shot at glory, not redemption. It may be 65 long years since Sam Maguire came here festooned in green and red ribbons, but over the years in between hundreds of Mayo men have donned the green and red and given us some glorious days. Days that other counties could only dream of being involved in, we have been there, we have stood among the greats of the game and we have never done anything but seen our warriors give their all for their families, clubs, towns, schools, communities, themselves, and for us, those cheering them on from the sidelines.
When Mayo needed a man to show the leadership in a clutch situation, their star man came good right at the death. Cillian O’Connor showed why he was picked by Stephen Rochford as his captain, when he created the space he needed to shimmy inside and drill the ball through the drizzle over the bar and electrify the Mayo faithful in Croke Park to haul his side level at the death.
Mayo showed the kind of fight and heart that will have given their supporters plenty of cause for optimism going into the rest of the league campaign which will return at the tail end of the month. However, despite that fight and heart Mayo are still pointless after their first two rounds of action in the league and now face into two tough road trips to Ulster on the bounce before the final swing of three games at the tail end of Spring.
It was done and dusted, Mayo were going home and the dream looked to have died for another year when Jack McCaffrey put the ball over the bar to put Dublin 2-12 to 0-11 clear with 60.45 gone on the clock. Mayo brought in Alan Freeman just after the white flag had been raised.