Dublin and Mayo will have to do it again after thrilling All-Ireland final ends in a draw

The game ended 2-09 to 0-15

BY Sinéad Farrell 17:13 Sunday 18 September 2016, 17:13 18 Sep 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Cillian O'Connor emerged the hero for Mayo to ensure that the 2016 All-Ireland final will go to a replay.

It looked as though their quest for All-Ireland triumph was headed for its 66th year, but points from O'Connor and Donal Vaughan prevented Dublin from claiming their second consecutive All-Ireland title.

The 2016 All-Ireland football decider was witness to one of the most bizarre events in GAA history with two first half goals coming from Mayo players. But unfortunately for them, they ended up in the wrong net. Another freakish extension of that fact is that those goals were Dublin's only scores on the board for the first 30 minutes.

Similar to last year's decider, heavy rain impinged on the quality of the game and the sides were level on three occasions. 

The first half was a frenetic affair with plenty of handling errors afflicting both sides. Half-forward Kevin McLoughlin was responsible for the first of Mayo's own goals after a low gravity shot from Bernard Brogan was sailing wide, before he unwillingly directed it into his own net. Dublin were then leading by one point, despite playing so poorly.

Image: Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo scores an own goal. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Cillian O'Connor appeared to have restored some calm for Mayo with a point to level the game, before Dublin struck again to extend their lead to two. A long range pass from Diarmuid Connolly caused a collision of bodies in the goal mouth and ended up in the net, this time Colm Boyle had the misfortune of unintentionally tapping it into the net.

After some nervy shooting from dead balls, Dean Rock reclaimed his scoring rhythm to put Dublin's first point on the board after an astonishing 31 minutes. It will be interesting to hear if Dublin have ever lasted that long in a competitive game without a point on the board before. 

A decisive moment arrived in the 24th minute when Dublin's James McCarthy was dismissed on a black card for a challenge on Cillian O'Connor. But the introduction of Paddy Andrews, who hit two first half points, adequately filled the void.

Mayo's Donal Vaughan and Jason Doherty ensured that Mayo would keep a close distance with the reigning champions with points before half-time but Dean Rock concluded the opening period with a free off the ground to leave the half-time score reading 2-04 to 0-05. 

Image: Tempers flare between both sides. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Mayo took the early initiative after the restart with four points from O'Connor, Paddy Durkin and Andy Moran without a response from Dublin to reduce the deficit to the thread bare margin. 

Brian Fenton and Dean Rock combined to keep their noses in front with less than 20 minutes to go. After some tense exchanges book ended by a fracas between Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan, the sides were level again through a point from Alan Dillon. 

But Mayo captain Cillian O'Connor exuded composure to slot over a final shot in the last minute of additional time to send this epic encounter to a replay.

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