Dublin vs Mayo: Reliving the 2017 All-Ireland final
Last Updated: 18/03/20 2:47pm
With all GAA activity currently ground to a halt, we look back on the day Dublin completed the three in a row, the day Mayo came pushed one of the greatest ever Gaelic football teams all the way, and one of the most dramatic All-Ireland finals ever seen. The 2017 showpiece was something special.
The Sky Blues had eased their way to the decider, with the routine Leinster procession followed by 10 and 12-point victories over Monaghan and Tyrone respectively.
In contrast, the westerners had once again taken the scenic route, surviving a nine-match odyssey (in which four games ended level after 70 minutes) to take their place in the showpiece event.
The stage was set...
Ex-Taoiseach Enda Kenny and former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley joined Sky Sports on the sideline in Croke Park to look ahead to the game.
"I know of no team who deserves to win an All-Ireland better than Mayo," said Kenny.
"We've had so many near misses. This is a truly exceptional Dublin team, but they were not tested against Tyrone, and this match will be very different because from the moment he throws that ball in, it's going to be man-for-man.
"I've never seen a Mayo team as well prepared as this one, in terms of their conviction and their belief. They know they can win."
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"I've got a real sense about this Dublin team that they're going to go down in history as one of the greatest GAA teams, if not the best of all time," said McGinley.
"Jim Gavin, like Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, has awoken a giant.
"We certainly wouldn't begrudge a Mayo win, and I think a lot of romantics would love to see that, but I think they're coming up against a colossus."
The Dubs got off to the dream start, with Con O'Callaghan making a storming run through the heart of the Mayo defence and sliding it into the net. However, from there the Connacht side rallied, and took the lead before half-time, going into the break, 0-9 to 1-5 to the good.
Although Dublin countered at the start of the second half, Mayo shut down their purple patch with a stunning Lee Keegan goal.
Space opened up as John Small and Donal Vaughan were both shown red cards, and it was neck-and-neck heading down the home straight.
Ultimately, it was left up to Dean Rock to land a pressure free late on, and the Ballymun man made no mistake, despite the best efforts of Keegan who threw his GPS in the direction of the ball in an effort to distract the Dubs marksman.
'Sport can be cruel': What they said...
"Any defeat can be hard to take," lamented Mayo boss Stephen Rochford. "Losing a second final by a point... sport can be cruel sometimes."
"Anytime we've played Mayo in recent seasons, it's been very close. It's what we were expecting going into the game," said Jim Gavin.
"The Dublin team showed great composure during the match. It was nip-and-tuck all the way."
The expert view...
"We had a lot of games like that this year with Mayo," said James Horan in the Sky Sports studio.
"Mayo got such an amount right today. The kickouts they got right, they dominated midfield, they were aggressive, their running, they did all that kind of stuff. They gave everything against a brilliant team, who were on the ropes in the first half."
"[Dublin] find a way how to win it," added Peter Canavan.
"A number of things didn't work for them in the first half. We said at half-time, for Mayo to play so well - they're only one point up. They needed to go in at half-time three or four points up."