12 months ago, Dublin, seeking a second All Ireland title on the trot squared off with Mayo, who were looking for a first triumph since 51′, on the GAA’s flagship Sunday. After sealing a draw in the original game, Mayo would lose out by a solitary point in the replay to continue their years of hurt in Croker.
The side, who had reached Six All Ireland semi finals in a row and won five Connacht titles during that time, were written off heading into 2017 as no one felt they could go back to the well after losing three finals since 2012.
A loss to Galway in the Connacht Championship further highlighted the fact that this team were no longer the force they once were. But in true Mayo fashion, the men from the West bounced back and improved game in game out in the Qualifiers to reach a seventh consecutive semi final where they would topple Kerry after 120 minutes to set up a rematch with the Dubs.
This Dublin team were hyped as one of the greatest of all time and were branded as shoe-in’s to romp to a third successive All Ireland title. Mayo once more were written off.
Last Sunday, Mayo once again demonstrated the heart, courage and skill that has seen them compete at the highest level for the past decade. But unfortunately for the Green and Red of Mayo, the third Sunday in September brought with it more heartbreak Ada late Dean Rock free condemned them to a third one point loss to the Dubs on All Ireland final day in four years.
Along with arguably everyone outside of Dublin, Matt O’Callaghan has sympathy for the Mayo team.
“I despair for Mayo. They’ve lost three in the last four years. Lost all three by a point and lost all three to Dublin… I just don’t know what they have to go to get over the line.”
“A critical turning point may have been the sending off, which was a needless sending off. It was a needless action by an experienced player.”
“I just don’t know what it will take for them to get their hands on the Sam Maguire.”
The greatest strength of this Mayo team is their resilience and ability to fight against the odds. Their is an unbelievable strong core in Mayo and despite their longevity most are still the right side of 30. Those who are not continue to improve such as Keith Highins, Com Boyle and favourite for Player of the Year Andy Moran.
“If you turn the clock back 12 months, the same conversation was probably being had as to how Mayo would go again to the well.”
“It would be far be it from us at this remove to write them off, that they won’t go the well once more. But it’s very very hard to see it.”