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02nd Jul 2023

Mayo fans head for early exit as Dublin show who’s boss once again

Niall McIntyre

Dublin 2-17 Mayo 0-11

The Cork and Derry fans that stayed on gave up on Mayo with 20 minutes to go.

As optimistic as they naturally are, a good chunk of Mayo fans gave up with 10 to go.

They’d cling onto anything but there wasn’t even a straw to cling onto here. Ducking out of Croke Park early, sheepish and depressed, alive-alive-oh ringing in their ears, the only thing they could beat today was the traffic.

But they probably ran straight into it.

If they headed for Ballymun then, what’s new, they’d have been held up in the land of James McCarthy.

It would have been a case of welcome to Mayo players’ world if, five minutes up the road from Croke Park, they were ground to a stand-still in the land of John Small.

McCarthy is a tour-de-force and, fresh as his first run-out in Croke Park all those years ago, he galloped Mayo into the ground. Small is a ball of fire and he burned so many Mayo attacks to cinders.

The question was whether Dublin were a sleeping giant or a fading force. Ask Mayo fans and they’ll you the giant has awoken.

Dessie Farrell’s side were slow to get going in this All-Ireland quarter final, and with Ryan O’Donoghue and Tommy Conroy on song, they were under pressure for large parts of the first half. But they came to play in the second half and, rolling back the years to the heady days of Jim Gavin, they played Mayo off the field.

O’Donoghue and Conroy didn’t get a sniff from there on in.

One of the lasting traits of the Jim Gavin days was that, out of the blue, a bolter would step up, step out and make the difference for Dublin. If Dessie Farrell was waiting for his man then Colm Basquel answered his prayers.

So long a bit-part player, the Ballyboden St Enda’s player has made himself a part of the furniture this year but this Sunday was his break-out day. He had Padraig O’Hora in so much bother in the first half that, by the 32nd minute, O’Hora was heading for an early shower.

Basquel already had 1-1 to his name. He finished his day with 2-2 and the man-of-the-match award. Basquel kept Dublin alive in that first half but it wasn’t a one-man-show, Cormac Costello was just as deadly with two brilliant early points.

Lee Keegan has experienced desolation at the hands of Dublin more than most and, speaking on The Sunday Game, he gave a fair take on the day.

“There were similarities with 2019, in terms of that blitzkrieg in the third quarter. But that’s Dublin, they’re relentless, they don’t let up, they want more and more and more.

“From a Mayo point of view, it’s been an inconsistent championship. League was League, but other teams caught up with them in the championship. They were second best in this game and that’s the reality.”

If Keegan was to have one complaint, it was based around Mayo’s early substitution of Aidan O’Shea. Having supplied plenty in the first half, Kevin McStay subbed the Breaffy man off on the three quarter hour mark.

“I would challenge that Aidan O’Shea substitution,” said Keegan, “because I thought he had a good first half and I thought it was a catch:22. I think it was the wrong call, a strange call because he could have made an impact with the diagonal balls that went in,” added the Westport man.

He may indeed have made a difference in the closing stages. But the difference wouldn’t have been enough to bridge the gap, and the likelihood is that the result would have remained the same.


Colm Reape (0-1 45); Sam Callinan, David McBrien, Padraig O’Hora, Paddy Durcan (0-1), Stephen Coen, Eoghan McLaughlin, Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Coyne, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn (0-1), Aidan O’Shea (0-1f), Tommy Conroy (0-2), Ryan O’Donoghue (0-5, 0-2f)

Subs: Enda Hession for O’Hora (32), Cillian O’Connor for Aidan O’Shea (46), Kevin McLoughlin for Eoghan McLaughlin (52), Donnchadh McHugh for Stephen Coen (60 temp sub), Jason Doherty for Sam Callinan (69)


Stephen Cluxton; Eoin Murchan, Michael Fitzsimons, Lee Gannon, James McCarthy (0-1), John Small, David Byrne, Brian Fenton (0-1), Brian Howard, Paul Mannion (0-2), Sean Bugler, Niall Scully, Cormac Costello (0-5, 0-3f), Con O’Callaghan (0-2), Colm Basquel (2-2).

Subs: Jack McCaffrey for Eoin Murchan (45), Ciaran Kilkenny (0-1) for Sean Bugler (47), Paddy Small (0-1) for Niall Scully (53), Tom Lahiff for Cormac Costello (66), Dean Rock (0-1) for Colm Basquel (70)

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