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Dean Rock slots injury-time winner to secure three in-a-row

Dean Rock slots injury-time winner to secure three in-a-row

Mon, 18th September 2017

DUBLIN 1-17 MAYO 1-16

This incredible Dublin team just keep carving their names deeper into the history books as they edged out Mayo in a pulsating battle in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC final.

A nerveless Dean Rock slotted the winner in the sixth minute of added time, following a foul on Diarmuid Connolly, to seal the three in-a-row for Jim Gavin's men, a feat last achieved by the men from the capital in 1923.

Recent duels between Dublin and Mayo have been ferocious edge-of-the-seat battles and this encounter was another of its genre as the Dubs came from two points in arrears late on to secure the Sam Maguire.

"The three-in-a-row wasn't on our agenda but, Jesus, we can talk about it now!" said an elated Philly McMahon afterwards.

This was a titanic see-saw battle and Dublin were forced to play catch-up on several occasions but showed all the hallmarks of true champions to hold their nerve going down the home stretch.

The Dubs got the ideal start when Young Player of the Year elect, Con O'Callaghan, superbly carved through the heart of the Mayo defence and coolly slotted past David Clarke with the outside of his right boot.

But despite the dream opening the loss of Jack McCaffrey to injury by the eighth minute had an unsettling effect on Dublin's game-plan.

The flying Clontarf man, so often the catalyst of Dublin attacks, had started encouragingly but had to be replaced after it looked like his knee buckled while taking on the Mayo defence on a trademark foray into opposition territory.

By the break the men from the west were in front 0-9 to 1-5 after they had established a stronger platform in the middle third, they had the chances to be further in front at the interval also.

At the break Dublin decided to take remedial action with the introduction of Kevin McManamon and Diarmuid Connolly, both played huge second half roles in Dublin's victory.

From the throw-in Dublin looked more decisive and Paul Mannion, who also had a central part in Dublin's second half improvement, fired over of the left and soon Dublin had the upperhand.

McManamon started to win great first time ball on the run under pressure and forced Mayo onto the back foot. The game began to turn, and then it turned back again.

Both sides had great second half goal chances with Stephen Cluxton denying Jason Doherty and Mannion foiled by Clarke at the other end.

Three-quarters of the way through came a major turning point when John Small was sent-off on a second yellow card and Donie Vaughan got a straight red for the afters. Crucially also a Mayo free was turned into a hop-ball that Dublin eventually secured with Ciaran Kilkenny emerging with possession.

Lee Keegan's thunderous drive for his goal could have given Mayo a winning momentum but the experienced and less experienced heads of Dublin were having none of it.

In a grandstand finish Dublin showed incredible 'bottle' to once again find a way to victory.

"We're so tight as a group, we've been together for so long and we really back each other up to the hilt. If I don't step up one day, someone else will step up. That's the biggest strength of our team, the collective. We've a really special team," said James McCarthy, perfectly summing up the occasion.

SCORERS - Dublin: Dean Rock 0-7 (0-3f), Con O’Callaghan 1-0, Paul Mannion 0-3, James McCarthy 0-2, John Small, Eoghan O’Gara, Kevin McManamon, Brian Fenton, Diarmuid Connolly 0-1 each. Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-7 (0-4f), Andy Moran 0-3, Lee Keegan 1-0, Jason Doherty, Kevin McLoughlin 0-2 each, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle 0-1.

DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Jonny Cooper, Philip McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons; John Small, Cian O’Sullivan, Jack McCaffrey; Brian Fenton, James McCarthy; Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock, Con O’Callaghan; Paddy Andrews, Eoghan O’Gara, Paul Mannion. Subs: Paul Flynn for McCaffrey (8 mins), Diarmuid Connolly for Andrews (ht), Kevin McManamon for O’Gara (ht), Bernard Brogan for Paul Flynn (64), Niall Scully for O’Callaghan (68), Cormac Costello for Mannion (73).

MAYO: David Clarke, Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Paddy Durcan; Lee Keegan, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle; Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons; Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea, Donal Vaughan; Jason Doherty, Cillian O’Connor Andy Moran. Subs: Diarmuid O’Connor for Seamus O’Shea (50), Stephen Coen for Boyle (55), Conor Loftus for Andy Moran (62), David Drake for Doherty (69), Danny Kirby for McLoughlin (74), Ger Cafferkey for Higgins (74).

REF: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

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