There was a sense of inevitability all week about the 2020 All-Ireland senior football championship final.
At the final whistle, despite a solid first half effort, Dublin would run out five point winners and claim their sixth All-Ireland senior football title in a row. It’s their 30th in all, if you’re counting.
The Blues go in as favourites for the 2021 campaign but, for a Mayo side that’s seemingly in a period of rebuilding and restructuring, the game could have really gone either way until the final ten minutes.
You probably weren’t even settled on the couch by the time Dean Rock put the ball in the back of the Mayo net, equaling Conor McGregor’s 13-second knockout time of Jose Aldo with a palmed goal for the Dubs.
A statement of intent, perhaps, but Mayo were well up for the battle in the early exchanges with Cillian O’Connor in notable form.
Niall Scully set Con O’Callaghan up for Dublin’s second with 23 minutes gone, but Mayo were still in the game at this stage, the score after the goal set at 2-03 to 0-08. The champions would take a 2-06 to 0-10 advantage into the break.
All the way to the second water break, things were tit-for-tat but whether it was tiredness on Mayo’s part or steadfast composure on Dublin’s part, the Blues gradually chipped away, outscoring Mayo by three in the second half to take to the steps of the Hogan Stand on a 2-14 to 0-15 scoreline.
The Sam Maguire was always going to stay in Dublin this year because of Covid-19, but the defending champions made sure if it stayed in the capital, it would have their name on the trophy all over again.
U20s not so lucky
In the curtain raiser, Galway beat Dublin by a point in the Bord Gáis U20 All-Ireland Football final.
Offaly and Meath will contest this year’s Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football final after respective wins today over Kildare and Laois.