James Horan immensely proud of Mayo players after Dublin victory while Dessie Farrell laments flat second-half display
Mayo delivered Dublin’s first championship defeat since 2014.
The Dubs’ 45-match unbeaten run in the championship came to an end.
Brian Fenton tasted a championship defeat for the first time.
Mayo secured their first win over the Sky Blues in 15 attempts.
The records tumbled.
But the big one for Mayo is still to be achieved: ending their 70-year wait for an All-Ireland title.
Nonetheless, they can savour their dramatic victory on Saturday evening before focus turns to the decider.
“We’re delighted,” said Mayo boss James Horan after the contest. “We’re delighted how we finished it and how we built our energy through it. We were a bit tentative maybe starting off, but I thought after 20, 25 minutes we started to come into it. In the second half, we were very strong. We won a lot of the battles.
“I’m just immensely proud of how the guys played, the work-rate and effort and honesty that they showed. Delighted with the win.”
Similar to the Connacht final win over Galway, it took until the second half for Mayo to settle.
“If we get our energy right, we can be very dangerous,” Horan continued.
“We were just a bit hesitant with our decision-making in the first half. That’s not where we’re at our strongest. So we committed and play to our strengths, we’re very, very strong. And you saw that in 40, 50 minutes of the game and in extra-time. We’re delighted with the win, but we’ll quickly move on as we always do for the next game.”
Farrell lament’s ‘flat’ second-half performance
Meanwhile, Dessie Farrell was mystified after he watched his Dublin team surrender a six-point lead at half-time.
“I don’t know, it was obvious we were very flat in the second half,” he replied, when asked where it went wrong.
“We knew Mayo, and they had done it in the Connacht final as well, were going to come with a lot.
“We found it very difficult to get out past their high press and we struggled to build any sort of momentum and a couple of mistakes, a couple of bad decisions.
“I thought at one stage if we could get a score or two it might start to ease the pressure and we’d ride out the storm, but we never could get that extra score or additional score that was going to put that safe distance between us and you could see it building then, and it was very hard to disrupt their momentum that they generated significantly. They got back into it, got the draw and won in extra-time obviously.”
Dublin failed to stem the Mayo momentum, even when the match went to extra-time.
“I think we probably had played so badly in the second half that we felt we were going to try and make amends and redress that situation. The [Colm Basquel] black card then [impacted us],” Farrell added.
“When legs are tired and there’s a lot of fatigue in the system, a black card at that stage is a killer and it was very, very difficult for us to get the ball back. A black card at any stage is problematic, the way teams are so capable of keeping possession but particularly in extra-time when there’s a lot of tired bodies, tired limbs, it’s exceptionally difficult then at that stage. That probably spelt the death knell at that stage.”
However, the Na Fianna man said the apparent rustiness throughout the Leinster Championship was not a factor.
“Not particularly,” he answered.
“Obviously, you would like to be coming into this stage of the competition with a little bit more momentum or collective team form a little bit better than it was. We showed glimpses of it here and there and good patches, really good patches.
“It was looking for that consistency that we’re missing all year and, again, first half, looked really good at times and in the second half it was the exact opposite of that.
“It’s hard to diagnose but I think it revolves around the lack of consistency across the quarters that was hurting us and it manifested again today.”
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