Late goals seal draw for Dublin in high-octane game

Dublin 3-14 Mayo 2-17

Allianz FL Division 1

A 71st-minute Eoghan O'Gara goal secured a share of the spoils for Dublin, before 22,697 spectators at Croke Park tonight.

Down to 14-men after 28 minutes following a straight red card for goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, Dublin also fell seven points in arrears entering the final quarter, but bounced back to secure a valuable league point.

Victory could have well been Mayo's but the Westerners also had a 60th minute goal from Jason Doherty disallowed, after referee Cormac Reilly adjudged that the Burrishoole clubman had picked up the ball off the ground.

Indeed the Meath whistler drew the ire of both sets of supporters during a high-octane fast-paced game.

Dublin made one change to the pre-match announced 15, with Cormac Costello replacing Eoghan O'Gara in the starting line-up.

Mayo stuck with the team announced midweek, showing two changes from the one which accounted for Cork, with Castlebar Mitchels player Tom Cunniffe making his first start of the campaign, and Andy Moran replacing Mickey Sweeney.

The latter was to have a strong impact for Mayo as a second half sub, scoring 1-1 in his 23-minute spell on the pitch, including Mayo's second goal.

Both sides showed great eagerness to claim the first score inside the opening 45 seconds, but it took a further 40 seconds for a score to be produced.

Donal Vaughan and Cormac Costello registered wides for their respective sides, before Cluxton converted a 45 to open Dublin's account.

Further scores from Paddy Andrews and Alan Brogan pushed Dublin 0-3 to 0-0 after five and a half minutes, but Mayo offered a perfect response.

Dublin were held scoreless between the sixth and 13th minutes, as Mayo fired four unanswered points with Cillian O'Connor (2), Vaughan and Andy Moran on target to hand the Westerners a 0-4 to 0-3 lead after 12 minutes.

Indeed James Horan's charges could have been further ahead at this juncture, but registered two wides during this spell.

A breaking ball saw Dublin capitalise to break their scoring deadlock, as Paul flynn tied the game at 0-4 apiece after 12 and a half minutes.

A Kevin McManamon effort soonafter to put his side ahead came off the posts, and while Jason Doherty blazed wide at the opposite end, Kevin McLoughlin bagged a point from the resulting kick-out.

Moran and Vaughan spurned chances to put Mayo in front, and when Costello equalised at 0-5 apiece at the end of the first quarter, it looked like momentum had swung with the Dubs.

Colm Boyle picked up the first black card of the night after a foul on Alan Brogan.

Costello converted the resulting place-kick, and following Brogan's second point of the night Dublin moved 0-7 to 0-5 ahead after 22 minutes.

But Mayo grew in confidence, spurred on by two pieces of brilliance at the back inside 50 seconds.

Goalkeeper Rob Hennelly first denied Kevin McManamon, and then a combined Hennelly/Lee Keegan effort snuffed out a chance for Diarmuid Connolly.

Costello tied the game for Dublin with 10 minutes to go before the break, but everything suddenly swung in Mayo's favour.

An injury to Paul Flynn ensured the introduction of Jason Whelan, while Jim Gavin's woes grew even stronger with the dismissal of Cluxton in the 28th minute, after pushing Kevin McLoughlin to the ground.

Cluxton's absence forced a Metropolitan reshuffle, with defender Tomas Brady taken off and Ballymun Kickhams clubman Sean Currie introduced to make his league debut between the posts.

Mayo continued apace in the subsequent two minutes of announced injury-time that followed, moving 1-9 to 0-8 ahead at the interval, with Keith Higgins, Donal Vaughan and Kevin McLoughlin also adding scores from play.

Vaughan's effort was particularly notable as it was inch-perfect inside the posts.

Both sides made changes on the restart, with Nicky Devereux and Jack McCaffrey introduced for Dublin, while Paddy Andrews and Cian O'Sullivan makde way, while David Drake came on for Brendan Harrison in the Mayo defence.

O'Connor and McManamon traded points inside two minutes of the restart, but a succession of wides followed, as both counties struggled in front of the posts.

McLoughlin eventually bagged his team's second score of the half, and although the sides traded scores on two further occasions, Mayo kicked on.

With Hennelly's brilliance continuing to be one of the standout factors, Mayo's defence kept on top of the Dublin forwards.

At the opposite end O'Connor brought his tally to six points, while a Sweeney score ensured a 1-14 to 0-11 lead after 52 minutes - the biggest gap between the sides.

Dublin failed to give up, and it suddenly began to look like they had the extra man, rather than their Connacht opponents.

McManamon blazed a 56th-minute shot over the outstretched Hennelly and to the net, and suddenly the game was on.

Jason Gibbons and Whelan traded points, and although Diarmuid Connolly cut the gap to two, it looked like Mayo had the upper hand with Doherty putting the ball in the back of the Dublin net with 10 minutes left on the clock.

However, the goal was ruled out due to a square-ball, before Mayo legitimately breached the Dublin net, with a Sweeney 64th minute effort, to ensure a 2-15 to 1-13 lead.

Dublin clawed back with 1-1 inside a 20-second spell, as they cut the gap to the minimum, with O'Gara bagging the first of his two goals.

A brace of O'Connor scores brought the Ballintubber clubman's tally to eight points, but Dublin held out as an O'Gara bullet brought the teams level 16 seconds into injury-time.

Dublin had a chance to claim a winner late on, but Jack McCaffrey failed to slot over the final kick, as both teams shared the league points.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton (0-1, 1 45); J Cooper, R O'Carroll, D Daly; J McCarthy, T Brady, K Nolan; MD Macauley, C O'Sullivan; P Flynn, A Brogan (0-2), D Connolly (0-2); K McManamon (1-2), C Costello (0-4, 1f), P Andrews. Subs: J Whelan for Flynn (INJ 27); S Currie for Brady (29); N Devereux for Andrews (HT); J McCaffrey for O'Sullivan (HT); D Nelson for McCarthy (51); E O'Gara (2-0) for Daly (56).

MAYO: R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, G Cafferky, B Harrison; L Keegan, D Vaughan (0-2), C Boyle; A O'Shea, J Gibbons (0-1); K McLoughlin (1-3), K Higgins (0-1), J Doherty; A Moran (0-1), A Freeman, C O'Connor (0-8, 5f). Subs: S McHale for Boyle (BC 20); D Drake for Harrison (HT); M Sweeney (1-1) for Freeman (47); E Varley for Cafferky (57); T Parsons for A O'Shea (57); S O'Shea for Doherty (68).

REFEREE: Cormac Reilly (Meath)

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