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Thursday 21 November 2019

Drive for five still on as fans paint the town blue after Mayo drubbing

Angela Harford, from St Margaret’s, Dublin (third from left), and her sister Sandra (right of Angela) with all their children after the match. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Angela Harford, from St Margaret’s, Dublin (third from left), and her sister Sandra (right of Angela) with all their children after the match. Photo: Caroline Quinn

The drive for five is on.

Dubs fans were left biting their nails as the teams ran in at half-time in the weekend's All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo.

However, just 12 minutes into the second half the game was all but done as the Boys in Blue ramped up their intensity to quickly secure a 10-point lead.

It proved to be too much for Mayo, whose fans faced another year of disappointment.

It meant Dublin fans at Croke Park were ready to paint the town blue after the final whistle blew.

"We're absolutely delighted with that," Eddie Whelan, from Finglas, told the Herald.

"I was a bit nervous in the first half, I thought Mayo might pull away, but that was an unbelievable second half.

"Con O'Callaghan is an absolute legend. I'd love to be going to the final, but I don't fancy our chances getting a ticket, as we're not associated with any club, so it's going to be very difficult to get one."

For Martina Skelly and daughter Emma (13), who were there with pal Rebecca O'Hanlon, there was never any doubt about the Dubs' win.

"It's only 20 minutes down the road for us," said Martina, from Finglas.

"So it wasn't that big a deal to get over here today, considering last week we were in Omagh.

"I wasn't nervous at all," she said when asked about their feelings as Dublin trailed at half-time.

"We trust in Jim," they said, gesturing at the Gavin badges they wore on their blue jerseys.

Martina said she was hopeful of getting a coveted ticket for the All-Ireland final after winning tickets to the last three finals.

"I'm very lucky as I've won tickets the last three times," she said.

"I won them in various competitions and on radio shows.

"Hopefully this will be four in a row for me and five in a row for the Dubs."

Former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy paid tribute to Mayo, who he described as a serious team.

"That was a great result for Dublin," he said.

"It's very hard for Mayo, playing so many games in a row. In fairness to them, they just ran out of legs in the end.

"You're always going to get that with Mayo," he added, referring to their two-point lead at half-time.

Hype

"They are a serious team and they've shown that for the last 10 years. They were just unlucky to meet a Dublin team as good as this one."

Asked about the five in a row tantalisingly on the horizon, Pat declined to get caught up in the hype.

"We don't go there," he said.

"We don't even mention that phrase."

Outside the stadium, Mayo fans felt deflated.

Peter Glavey and daughter Cassie (10), from Swinford, thought their team had a chance to shrug off the Mayo curse.

"To be honest, at half-time I'm thinking, 'Right, we're in it, we're two points up'," Peter said.

"We seemed to have a bit of control, but I don't know what happened in the first few minutes of the second half.

"I really need somebody to analyse that for me and tell me what happened. The first thing I noticed was Michael Darragh MacAuley went up for that throw-up ball and instantly punched it towards the Dublin goal.

"Dean Rock knew that ball was coming and we were caught flat-footed and bang, point straight away.

"It's disappointing, but look, it's always worth the trip," he added.

Last night, the Dubs discovered the last hurdle they must clear to secure the Sam Maguire yet again.

Kerry beat Tyrone to set up a showdown in three weeks' time, and the fans in green and gold were yesterday confident they would be able to stop the blue steamroller.

Kerry fan Sean O'Donnell brought his three-year-old daughter Robin to the game, while friend Bartley O'Connor brought his four-year-old daughter Meera.

The two friends, who live in Rathmines, grew up together in Co Kerry and were delighted with the result.

The friends said they were keen to carry on the tradition of "GAA, Kerry and friendship" with their two girls, proudly dressed in yellow and green.

Sean said: "It's been a great day.

"It is the first time the girls have been to Croke Park together, so it's a milestone day as well for us.

"Bartley and I have been friends for life, and I really think the ties of GAA and Kerry were really important to that friendship, so we're hoping for the same for the girls.

"We faced the old enemy today in Tyrone and I still believe Kerry have a chance of the All-Ireland.

"You have to have hope that Dublin are beatable and if anyone can take Dublin on now, it's Kerry."

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