The fairytale of championship 2020 which starred Tipperary and Cavan came to an abrupt end last weekend as Dublin and Mayo qualified for another All-Ireland senior football final. It’s the fourth time in the past ten years that the counties have met one another in the decider.
In Saturday night’s game Cavan put up brave resistance throughout, but – without being spectacular – Dublin went about their task in relentless fashion, extending their lead bit by bit as the game went on. In the end they won by 15 points without ever reaching fourth gear.
Sunday’s game was a bizarre affair. There was a time when Mayo’s inability to get enough scores to win big matches was costing them dearly, but not this year. Having run riot in the league against Galway earlier in the year they did something similar against Tipperary last Sunday, scoring an astonishing five goals and twenty points. They have a number of new players on the team who have looked the part so far.
However, while James Horan’s men notched up one of the biggest totals that we have ever seen in a semi-final, they conceded 3-13, which has to be a worry. Looking back on the match, Tipperary had no less than ten goal chances, taking just three of those. Suffice to say if Mayo cough up ten goal chances against Dublin in the final it will be a Christmas procession for the holders.
But Mayo are the one team that seem to be able to spook Dublin in finals. Their three previous meetings in finals have resulted in one-point wins for the Dubs, and two of those were after replays.
One Mayo diehard texted me on Sunday evening to point out that the final will be played on the 19-12-20. When you add those figures together you get ’51, the last year Mayo won the Sam Maguire! Hopefully we will get a good competitive final after what has been the strangest year in living memory.
I couldn’t comment on last Sunday’s game without mentioning Cillian O’Connor and his scoring return of 4-9, which is an astounding total in any match, let alone an All-Ireland semi-final. It is one of the individual sporting performances of 2020.