Paddy Durcan grabs Mayo by scruff of the neck and drags them to victory against Dublin
It was all Dublin for the first 20 minutes as Mayo just sat off them while the team from the capital simply ran at them at will, with Jack McCaffrey in particular causing most of the damage.
The former Player of the Year kicked two points in the first half, and shortly after his second was down at the other end to put in a brilliant block, the flying wing back was simply everywhere and showing the sort of ability that we used to see in those great Dublin teams of the past decade.
However, after the 20 minute mark, the Connacht side were finally sparked into life by Paddy Durcan, who like McCaffrey, ran at pace from deep positions, and started to force things to happen.
The first time he really took on Dublin's defence it results in a free, and despite being four points down at this stage, Mayo end the half level, with Durcan playing role in all of the scores.
Former Mayo star Lee Keegan was doing punditry for RTE and he was full of praise for the demented defender and his relentless running game.
"Paddy is essentially the leader of that Mayo team. He is the one guy where if he is going well and running hard, then that Mayo team are probably going really well. Once he gets the injection of pace, everyone just lights up a little bit.
"Mayo get four points on the spin, and that's no coincidence, that's down to Paddy Durcan's influence."
Ciaran Whelan was also quick to credit the comeback to Durcan's leadership and ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck.
"It was Paddy Durcan, it's as simple as that, he was involved in all four points, and Mayo were terrible, but this was the first time the Mayo players were like 'right, we are going to run at Dublin, we are going to ask questions of them' and they ran hard into the heart of the defence and won a free.
"Up until this point there was a lack of penetration from them, the running that we saw against Galway last week simply was not there. He (Durcan) was the one who gets down to win a free, and it puts Mayo on the front foot."
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 3, 2024
The second half was played in a similar tune, with Dublin getting off to a bright spark, with scores from David O'Hanolon, Paddy Small and Cormac Costello, giving the Dubs a three point lead and looking in charge of the game.
However, just like in the first half Mayo sparked into life when a player decided to take on Dublin's defence, this time t was O'Donoghue who did so, won a free in the process, which he kicked over himself.
Now with Mayo back in action, Jordan Flynn went for a point which dropped short, and Stephen Coen managed to get a hand to it, scoring a Goa, and giving the home side the lead in the process.
The two sides went point for point for the next 20 minutes in an enticing match, although it's worth noting that Dublin were particularly focused on shoring up the defensive issues that leaked them three goals last week against Monaghan.
A consequence of this defensive priority meant that they Boys in Blue spent a lot of time behind the ball, even Con O'Callaghan, and there was always a sense that the game could be even more exciting and expansive.
There was no shortage of tension though and with everything all square in injury time, that man again, Coen, kicked a lovely ball into O'Donoghue who managed to win a free, which was played short to Feargal Boland who kicked the winner with seconds remaining.
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