Mayo snatch it in the last minute

TG4 All-Ireland Finals. Mayo snatch it in the last minute
Mayo 1-4 Dublin 0-5

Dublin and Mayo brought colour and glamour and a sense of
pride with them for the TG4 All Ireland final on Sunday last.
It would be a bit too simplistic to state that Mayo were lucky
to win and that Dublin deserved a draw. Whatever about the
lucky tag most people present at rain soaked Croke on Sundaythought
that Dublin deserved a draw. Perhaps a draw would have given
both teams a chance to produce their real form.

Purists and advocates of the theory that ladies football is
much faster and more open than the mens game, will have their
doubts after Sunday, you can blame the conditions, particularly
the rain which descended with a menacing venom as soon as
the Junior game had finished.You can blame the conditon of
the pitch which has come in for much criticism, you can blame
the emphasis on defence, but quite honestly you cannot blame
the players who gave everything.

While the standard of the Junior game was not as high, the
entertainment value was much higher. Mind you Mayo and their
followers will have no complaints, a win is a win no matter
how it comes, it will add to the record books which now show
that Mayo’s name is now inscribed on the Brendan Moran cup
4 times and that indeed is a tremendous record and a testament
to their wonderful commitment and dedication. Sundays win
was important as the previous ones and perhaps more so, with
many believing that this was for their great friend Aisling
McGing who lost her life a road accident in June, this win
will unite this closely knit bunch even more and hopefully
will ease the pain for Sharon, Michelle, Caroline and their
proud parents.

It has also been a remarkable oddessy for manager Finbarr
Egan who has been involved in their 5 visits to Croke Park.
While he was elated with the latest success, he is not sure
if her will be back for more, with his wife expecting their
first child later in the year. It will matter little to heartbroken
Dublin, if nice things are written about them, their commitment,
their dedication, their focus, their 170 and odd training
sessions since January etc. they had their chances, they know
it, their manager Mick Bohan and his team knows it, their
supporters know it. It was all a case of being so near and
yet so far.

The game was not as bad as many people made out it was. It
was the case of 2 very strong defences on top, who snuffed
out the danger of either sets of forwards. Who would think
that their consistent scorer of the past 5 years Cora Staunton
would not score from play or from frees. Who would think the
game would be scoreless for such long periods, but that the
way things go and we must be philosophical about it. Some
wag stated that perhaps they have been watching too much of
what has been happening in the mens game. Both teams opted
with 2 inside forwards, which crowed the middle of the park
, but when the forwards did break loose there was blanket
cover, filtering back to snuff out the danger.

Dublin started well and Angie McNally had the first real chance
when she raced straight though the heart of the Mayo defence
but an excellent block down averted the danger. They did score
early points through Karen Hopkins and Mary Nevin, but hey
did not score again for all of 44 minutes. Mayo replied with
4 points before the break through Diane O’Hora 2, Emma Mullin
and Michelle McGing and they did not score again until 0’Hora
later named player of match, scored that stunning goal at
the death.

Angie MCNally did break the Dublin drought with a pointed
free the only one she converted out of at least 5 score able
attempts. Sinead Ahern’s introduction had an immediate impact
as she fired over the equalising point shortly after being
introduced and when Gemma Fay put them in front with 6 minutes
to go, it looked like a blue day. The never say die spirit
of Mayo saw them try to retrieve the game with urgency and
when Cora Staunton floated a 50m free into the danger zone,
perhaps something which should have been tried more often
during the day, in the prevailing conditions and Diane O”Hora
grabbed the goal that will make her famous for life.

On a day when both sets of defences were dominant, Mayo had
that extra rub of the green which saw them through, Dublin
appearing in their first final, will recover and regroup and
the experience they have gained during a great campaign will
stand them in good stead for the future.

Referee Eugene O’Hare came into the game with a big reputation.
He handled the game pretty well in the circumstances, he had
his critics and what ref hasn’t, he tried to let let the game
flow as much as possible and if he had to blow for every minor
infringement then he would have even more critics. By the
time the after match banquet took place at City West attended
by 800 people many of the post mortems had been done and continued
to be done right up to 5am in the morning. Winners and losers
mingled freely glad in one sense that their tough season was
over,some were happy some were sad, but all can be proud with
the contributions they had made in making it such a memorable
finals day.

TG4 must be well pleased with the TAM ratings for the games
the highest they have had for any transmission during the
year and that that only bring more interest and more support.

be the first All-Star night sponsored by TG4 and O’Neill’s
at City West on November 15th and we look forward in anticipation
to another great night.

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