That after the event, James Horan didn’t appear exasperated by the persistent line of questioning regarding the catastrophic opening 12 minutes of the second half for Mayo suggests he too believes their All-Ireland semi-final hopes foundered in that period.
Dublin, he said, “pinned back their ears” and went to work on decimating all the good work Mayo had put in to build a 0-8 to 0-6 half time lead.
“We were pretty strong in the first half, we defended well and built a few good scores. I thought we were patient and could have gone in more than two (points) up.
“But at the start of the second half, Dublin were very strong and they came at us very hard,” Horan reflected. “Con O’Callaghan got a goal but before that we put a shot into their goalie’s hands and (Dublin) came down and scored from it.
Then they won the next five or six of our kickouts and got a second goal. In that period they were in complete control and we were struggling to get our hands on possession.
Indeed. It’s not as if Mayo weren’t expecting a revved up side chasing history after the break. So how come Horan’s players were simply blown away?
“They had changed nothing obvious, they definitely pinned back their ears a little bit and ran at us when they got the bal. They weren’t doing that as much in the first half but they got a step on us for some of those goals and they finished them very well.
“A team like Dublin are always going to come at you and we were on the ropes and we didn’t deal with it well. They came from a lot of different angles and really got their tails up so it took us a while to adjust. They had a very strong period and we couldn’t deal with it,” rued the Mayo manager.
“They are always going to come at you, they have such pace and athleticism and skill all over the place. When Con O’Callaghan got the ball in his hands he was just going run at his man (Lee Keegan). When a couple of things like that happen, suddenly your legs get a bit heavy and they took full advantage for that period.”