Late rally in vain as blues fall to Mayo
They say that luck can be such a precious and desired commodity for any team with championship ambitions and it's fair to say that the bounce of the ball did not quite go Dublin's way as they fell to a talented Mayo side in last Saturday's thrilling Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter-final in Pearse Park, Longford.
The final scoreline of 5-12 to 2-19 reflected the tightness of the exchanges and while the Connacht champions were undoubtedly the more dominant and impressive team in the first half, Dublin more than compensated for their initial shortcomings with an inspired performance after the break.
That they ultimately fell short was down to a combination of factors, with their late assault on the Mayo goal perhaps deserving more in terms of tangible reward with their opponents receiving the benefit of the doubt in terms of two contentious calls by the referee.
Similarly, fortune certainly favoured Mayo at the end of the first quarter as Ethan Henry's speculative shot cannoned off the upright right into the path of Ciaran Mylett, who palmed home from close range.
To Mayo's credit, they did enough to get the job done after conceding two goals in quick succession to Luke Curran and Alex Rogers with the likes of goalkeeper Luke Jennings, Eoin McHale and Dylan Thornton delivering superb displays for their county.
What cannot be denied is the improvement that Dublin have made over the summer, with six of their seven championship matches played on the road enhancing their team bond, and while the pain and disappointment of exiting the championship will remain acute for the foreseeable future, they should benefit hugely from their collective experiences, which, ultimately, is what representing your county at this level is all about.