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Player Ratings: How They Rated As Mayo Show Great Courage To Earn All-Ireland Final Replay

Player Ratings: How They Rated As Mayo Show Great Courage To Earn All-Ireland Final Replay
By Gavin Cooney

The third Sunday of September will prove to be just the first act in the 2016 All-Ireland final, as Dublin and Mayo slugged out a scrappy yet fiercely intense draw at a sodden Croke Park. Some may have questioned Mayo's character and bottle pre-game, but this game showed that they are a squad of great character: coming from behind to equalise with a 76th-minute Cillian O'Connor point from play.

Dublin were poor by their own, vertiginous standards, but Mayo should take great credit: their defence did a number on one of the best forward lines of the modern game.

Here are the player ratings:

Mayo 

David Clarke - 7.5

Made two fine, goal-saving saves in the first half, only to be hoisted by the absurd misfortune of two own goals in the first twenty minutes. Ruined a great trivia question and cost his side a point by rushing miles out of his goal to snatch a ball from the air on the half-hour, leading to Dean Rock converting the resulting free-kick. Kick-outs were solid.

Brendan Harrison - 7

Struggled early on against Bernard Brogan, who himself looked slightly below the pace of the Kerry semi-final. He grew into the game, however as Brogan faded, however, and was one part of an extraordinarily committed Mayo defence.

Donal Vaughan - 8

Vaughan brought a superb energy to the first-half: surging forward on a number of occasions, clipping over one point and dropping a second effort short in the second-half. An exceptionally energetic performance. Popped up to score a second point in added time, astonishing heart.

Keith Higgins - 7.5

Higgins began the game marking Ciaran Kilkenny and was typically tenacious, but upon James McCarthy's black card, he struggled  to get to grips with Paddy Andrews. His forays forward were blighted by being careless upon possession, however. For all of his attacking limitations, he led a defence that did one hell of a  number on the Dublin attack.

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Lee Keegan - 7

Arguably Mayo's player of the year, Keegan was given the arduous task of marking Diarmuid Connolly. While Connolly didn't make much of an impact on the scoresheet (just the one exquisite point form play), he was a floating menace for Dublin, and his assist for what proved to be the second own-goal was divine. A fascinating tussle, that took a turn for the brainless, as both were booked for some moronic jersey-pulling.

Colm Boyle  - 7.5

The man who had the misfortune to deflect in the second own-goal, but it was avoidable had he remained sharp and been aware of Dean Rock's movement behind him as the ball was floated in by Diarmuid Connolly. Aside from that, however, dealt extremely well with Kevin McManamon, who was subbed on 45 minutes. Taken off after picking up a yellow.

Patrick Durcan - 7.5 

Durcan has a phenomenal engine. Raced upfield to score a very fine point in the 38th minute, and was a vital member of a Mayo defence that should be proud of their performance.

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Seamus O'Shea - 6

O'Shea was extremely wasteful in possession, and endured a horrid couple of minutes in the second half: one extremely wayward shot in the 48th minute spurned a scoring chance, and a poor pass two minutes later gifted Dublin their first score of the second half. Lasted 55 minutes, before making way for Alan Dillon.

Tom Parsons - 7.5 

Kerry endured a nightmare on their own kick-out against Dublin in the semi-final, and Mayo faced no such troubles: Parsons' performance in midfield was a major reason for this.

Kevin McLoughlin - 7.5

The hapless victim of the capricious ricocheting of the football for Dublin's first goal. Didn't seem to play sweeper, instead going man-to-man on Paul Flynn, emblematic of a Mayo side who began the game on the front-foot: pushing up on Cluxton's kick-outs and wantonly flinging themselves into Dublin players with reckless intensity.

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Aidan O'Shea - 6

In an ideal world, O'Shea would be the pivot off which the Mayo attack worked. In reality, in the first-half, O'Shea proved to be a good outlet for primary possession, but had too little movement off his either shoulder. He wasn't helped by the fact he was always bottled up by Dublin defenders as soon as he got a hand on the ball, and he could seek very little refuge in the referee's whistle.

He picked up a stupid yellow card for a check on Johnny Cooper in the second-half, perhaps in an act of frustration: O'Shea struggled to make the impact Mayo needed him to make in the second-half.

Horrendous decision-making late on, hoofing the ball away with two minutes late and the game still at play.

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That said, he was unafraid to get back on the ball a minute later to tee up O'Connor for the equaliser.

Diarmuid O'Connor - 7

O'Connor really struggle to make an impact offensively, but defensively, he was tireless. Made a sensational block in the second half before he was caught by the pace of the game late on: evident in the fact that John Small found space to point to give Dublin a 65th-minute lead.

Jason Doherty - 7

Doherty's work-rate was superb, and scored a brilliant point in the first-half and kept composure when all those around him were losing theirs to set up Moran for a goal chance on 53 minutes. His teammate failed to keep up his end of the deal.

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Andy Moran - 6.5

The great man struggled to make an impact in the first-half, and like O'Shea, found himself isolated on the edge of the square. Started the second-half brilliantly: scoring a point from play and conjuring a goal chance through wondrous movement. He proved more troublesome in the second half, although fluffed his one major line: pointing a huge goal opportunity.

Cillian O'Connor -  8 

Perhaps O'Connor could have made a better effort to get out of the way of James McCarthy in the black card incident. Quiet from open play in the first-half, he exploded on the second-half, spearheading Mayo's early second-half revival. Flawless on free-kicks.

Kicked the last minute equaliser, showing exceptional courage for a team who ended the quarter-final against Tyrone afraid to take a shot. Let no man question his, or his team's character.

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Subs

Alan Dillon - N/A

Replaced Seamus O'Shea, and scored a beautiful equalising point with six minutes left. Sadly had to leave injured a couple of minutes later.

Barry Moran - N/A

Replaced the stricken Dillon, surprised not to see him come on earlier.

Chris Barrett - 6

The man who replaced Boyle did so with minimum fuss.

Evan Regan - N/A

An added time replacement for Andy Moran, shipped a serious blow late on.

Dublin 

15 Bernard Brogan - 6

Had the beating of Brendan Harrison all day. Found plenty of space, just couldn't convert, like most of Dublin's forwards.

14 Diarmuid Connelly - 8

Best footballer in Ireland. End of. Pass to set up the second Mayo OG was sublime. There is a line and he plays on the other side of it but the best footballer of his generation undoubtedly.

13 Dean Rock - 6

Rocky first half for Deano - pardon the pun.  Kicked a number of bad wides but was in the middle of it all for the pivotal Dublin second goal.  Seemed to leave everything short.

12 Ciaran Kilkenny - 7

Had the energy of a well-fed greyhound or a small meteorite. Covered more ground than St Brendan on his trip to America.

11 Kevin McManamon - 5

Poor game by his own impeccable standards. Very poor wide in the second half and poor giveaway helped Mayo as they fought their way back into the game.

10 Paul Flynn - 6

Anonymous end to a less-than-memorable season.

9 Michael Dara McAuley - 6

Subbed off after 52 minutes. His contribution will be remembered for a wild challenge on Cillian O'Connor that could have had him sent off.

8 Brian Fenton - 8

Tore Mayo apart twice in first half and could have had two goals. Probably won the Footballer of the Year gong today on this performance.

7 John Small - 7

Towering leap on 55th-minute kickout was one of a number of brilliant contributions.

6 Cian O'Sullivan - 7

Nowhere in the footballer of the year reckoning but try to imagine Gavin's Dublin without him.

5 James McCarthy - 5

Black card in the 23rd minute was debatable but robbed Dublin of one of their best counterattacking threats.

4 Davy Byrne - 7

A great game completes an incredible journey for Byrne, who was hospitalised after the scrap in a training match with Armagh last season. Made the leap this season.

3 Johnny Cooper - 7

In the wars with Andy Moran. High catch late on showed he's got ups. All-Star.

2 Philly McMahon - 6

Was not the rampaging beast of last year's final but his backline kept Mayo without a goal.

1 Stephen Cluxton - 6

The lynchpin of all Dublin success but the match didn't pass without a few helter-skelter moments.

SUBS

Paddy Andrews - 7

Two sublime points from play after coming on for McCarthy.

Others - Eoghan O'Gara, Denis Bastick, Darren Daly --- n/a

See Also: Joe Brolly Vows To Wear Mayo Jersey In RTÉ Studio As Promise To Deceased Girl

See Also: Irish Sporting World Reacts As Mayo Fight Back To Draw An Incredible All-Ireland Final

 

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