Five talking points from Mayo's win over Dublin

GAA: All Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Final

Happy faces: James Horan celebrates with Matthew Ruane and Tommy Conroy. Photo: Sportsfile.

Happy faces: James Horan celebrates with Matthew Ruane and Tommy Conroy. Photo: Sportsfile.

On a day when there was more than a handful of talking points from the game, we take a look at five. 

Horan showed no fear on the line

James Horan has always said that the team is picked on form, that carried through to the sideline on Saturday evening against Dublin. His decision to take off Aidan O’Shea midway through the second half was a big call to make. O’Shea his team’s captain was having a game he’ll not want to remember, so taking him off on the balance of play wasn’t a tough call - but for taking off O’Shea and all his experience was a big call to make all the same.

O’Connor doesn’t give up

Despite Mayo coming back into the game in the third quarter, Dublin had pushed themselves back five points clear with just over an hour gone. Mayo were awarded a free 65 meters out Rob Hennelly stepped up and had a crack at it. The ball was drifting wide of the target, Diarmuid O’Connor chased it down and stretched his leg out to keep it in play and get it back to Kevin McLoughlin who slotted it over the bar and cut the gap back to four points and restart the Mayo fight back.

Hennelly gets his redemption

Hennelly has had some moments to forget against Dublin in the past, but the Breaffy shot stopper got his own little bit of redemption against them on Saturday night. His kick-outs were for the most part excellent hitting 22 out of 24, and he nailed three points. His third one that will live long in the memory, after missing his first attempt at 45 with it all on the line. He held his nerve and drove the ball right over the bar to level it up and send the game to extra time when he was offered a second bite at it.

Mayo bench proved they could be game changers too

Having lost so much experience from the squad over the past 12 months, there were question marks over the strength and depth of the Mayo bench especially with the absence of the likes of Cillian O’Connor from the championship this year. Enda Hession came on early in the first half and was a constant driving force, running hard at the Dublin defence. Jordan Flynn chipped in with a point and put in very hard working effort, Darren Coen landed a typical point from the distance in extra time, Bryan Walsh was busy and bustling on and off the ball, Conor O’Shea had a few iffy moments after he came on, but played his part in forcing Dublin to concede the vital last minute 45. Brendan Harrison came on and got his first game time for Mayo in almost two years late on and got himself stuck into the play. James Carr on another day could have had a couple of points and James Durcan got himself involved in the acorn during his limited time on the field

Composure when it counted

When it came to the winning time in this one the new crop of Mayo players stood tall. Tommy Conroy drove at Dublin and kicked two stunning points in extra time. Ryan O’Donoghue showed his guile and class, with his little hop and skip inside his man to get his fifth of the day to have the crowd in raptures. Padraig O’Hora was a defensive machine at the back, tracking, tackling hard and covering every acre on the ground he could. Matthew Ruane continued his upward trend with another impressive showing in the middle of the park. The fearlessness of youth is hard to quantify sometimes. 

 

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