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Dublin’s Jonny Cooper (right) commiserates with his Mayo counterpart after the game. Photo by: Sportsfile

GAA Digest: Mayo still on hold for All-Ireland triumph

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Dublin’s Jonny Cooper (right) commiserates with his Mayo counterpart after the game. Photo by: Sportsfile

The bragging rights are up for grabs in the Brogan household and man of the moment Bernard knows it only too well after his two goals settled the 2013 All-Ireland final in Dublin’s favor at Croke Park.

His first goal, a fisted effort against the run of play in the 16th minute, kept the Blues in touch with the Connacht champions as Mayo led by just a point, 0-8 to 1-4, at halftime.

His second goal, again scored with his hand in the 54th minute after a brilliant set-up by Denis Bastick, proved crucial in Dublin’s 2-12 to 1-14 win.

It wasn’t the free-flowing final everyone wanted, and it wasn’t pretty as a series of huge hits left both sides drained in the searing heat and Dublin effectively playing with 13 men in the closing stages as Eoghan O’Gara and Ross O’Carroll were all but out of the action.

But Brogan didn’t care as he stopped for post-match interviews with a second All-Ireland medal in the bag and Dublin’s 24th Sam Maguire secured.

He is now just one medal short of dad Bernard’s haul from the 1970s. And Brogan Junior has his eyes set on more than one All-Ireland win in the future.

He told the waiting media in the Croke Park bowels, “I’m empty, very tired, but I’m delighted. It’s a special day to win another All-Ireland. I’m delighted for all the lads and I’m just trying to get in now to get a bottle of Coors. I’m wrecked.

“Any day you win an All-Ireland is a special day. But there’s a whole new group of lads in there and you just saw how much it meant to them after the final whistle.”

Brogan ended the game with two goals and three points as Dublin’s second half supremacy cruelly punished Mayo’s inability to turn possession into scores in the opening period.

“I was tightly marked but that’s just the way it went. I didn’t get massive scores but today I just got a bit of luck and got a couple of balls passed across, and that’s it,” Brogan said.

“If you’re in the right position you might get some scores. That’s part and parcel of it. On any other day someone else would do it but I’m delighted to do my bit for my team.”

The two Brogan goals -- and one from Mayo’s Andy Moran after the break -- did light up an otherwise dull game.

Brogan admitted, “In fairness, both teams went toe to toe and hit each other very hard, and it was very tense.

“There was nothing given easy and you had to work hard for scores, but that’s what you expect.

“You’ve seen the amount of bruises, black eyes and torn hamstrings.  Lads were rolling off the field. It was a tough game but that’s what you’re going to get.”

Having won their second All-Ireland title in three years – and their first under new boss Jim Gavin – Dublin are looking to dominate Gaelic football for years to come as Gavin confessed.

“Well that’s what we’re hoping. There are very young lads there,” the manager said.

“The age profile is very young and the lads who came in and made a difference all year, the Ciaran Kilkennys, the Jack Caffreys, the Paul Mannions, these lads have been brilliant all year.

“And they’re still very young. People don’t think about that when they’re looking at them and the pressure they’re under. They’re 19 and 20 years of age and have 10 years of football ahead of them, so please God there will be many more All-Irelands.”

Mayo, now waiting 62 years for another union with Sam Maguire, acknowledged that Brogan made all the difference on Sunday.

Star man Keith Higgins admitted that the second Brogan goal all but signaled the end for his team.

He said, “We probably felt we could have been more ahead at halftime. In the second half they probably got the start that we were looking for.

“Once we did get it back level the second goal was a bit of a killer, like, you know. We got it back to a two-point game with seven or eight minutes left, it just wasn’t to be. I suppose it is small margins that change games.”

Team Bosses in War of Words
A WAR of words has erupted between Mayo boss James Horan and opposite number Jim Gavin over Dublin’s tactics in the final minutes of Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

Gavin has dismissed all talk that Dublin, playing with two players injured and all their subs used, were cynical in the closing stages of the match.

He went so far as to claim that Dublin had to play against referee Joe McQuillan as well as the Connacht champions after the ref awarded 32 frees to Mayo in the game but just 12 to Dublin.

Horan rejected those claims on Monday when he responded to Gavin’s remarks.

The Mayo boss said, “I find that amazing. I find that absolutely amazing if that was the comment. I know Jim made another interesting comment, that he’d walk away if his team were cynical, so maybe that’s another comment Jim should look at.

“What was the free count? And what were Dublin saying after the semi-final last year? Were they shouting up and down about it?”

Gavin took exception to the number of fouls awarded against his team on Sunday by Cavan referee McQuillan.

The Dublin supremo said, “That’s just beyond me. I can’t understand that. I really can’t. That’s one of the very disappointing things.

“Not only were we playing Mayo but we were playing the referee as well.”

He also claimed frustration was the root cause of any Dublin negativity in the final stages.

“They were frustrated. That free count is just not acceptable. Anybody here can ask me are Dublin a cynical team and we’re not,” Gavin stated.

“We play the game with certain values in the squad and we play the game the way we believe it should be played and to have that amount, 32 to 12 … that was just Dublin players getting frustrated.

“There is a double count going against us, all the time. It’s not only today. We probably held our counsel for most of the games but that has been the trend in all the games.

“It’s a fight that we have in every game, that opposition players are getting more frees than we are and we work very hard on the art of defending and the technical tackle.

“It’s disappointing. That’s an enormous amount of frees to give away in any game.”

Horan admitted his team had played their part in their own downfall, particularly after enjoying better possession in the first half but failing to convert it into scores.

“We had enough ball to win the game. We just made too many mistakes and had too many turnovers. I think it’s that straightforward,” Horan said.

“We dominated the first 15 minutes but we didn’t get the score return we possibly should have. We had too many wides.

“It’s tough, two All-Ireland finals in a row is tough. Some of the mistakes we made today were disappointing.  That game was there for the taking for us but we just didn’t take the chances.

Star man Keith Higgins agreed with Horan. “Anytime we got the ball up to the half-forward line or full-forwards we looked to be causing them problems but we didn’t get the return we should have,” he said.

 
Mayo Angry at Ref
REFEREE Joe McQuillan has defended his decision to blow the final whistle just seconds after Cillian O’Connor’s late point from a free for Mayo in Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

Angry Mayo players surrounded McQuillan at the end of the game as they believed the match should have gone on for another 30 seconds.

They are also adamant that O’Connor would have gone for goal if he’d known time was almost up.

Mayo boss James Horan stated, “When you ask the ref how long is left, when you ask him twice, you know...he tells you there’s at least 30 seconds left after the score. That’s a little disappointing.

“But, look, that’s neither here nor there. The game is over, we were beaten so, yeah, we’re very disappointed.”

McQuillan claimed that he told O’Connor there was “30 seconds left” as he prepared to take the free.

“There was absolutely no suggestion that it would be after the kick-out or anything like that. I simply said ‘there’s 30 seconds left’ and that was from the moment he asked me,” McQuillan said.

“I said it three times, I’m sure plenty of players heard me and I was on an open mic to all my match officials, including Dickie Murphy who was the overseer on Hawk-Eye, so all of those can confirm what I said.

“Immediately after the game, some Mayo players said to me, ‘You said there was going to be another play,’ but I never said that because there is no such thing as that.

“I can’t tell a player to go for goal or anything like that, I can only tell him how much time was left and that is exactly what I did.

“If the ball had gone out for a ‘45’ I would have had to allow that to be played, but otherwise there was 30 seconds left on the clock.

“The player took some time to take the free and when I blew the final whistle there was 74 minutes and 39 seconds on my stopwatch.”
 

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