National Football League Division 1
A 12 point hammering by Dublin in Croke Park tonight leaves Mayo with more questions than answers.
With wins over Kerry and Roscommon behind them, Mayo travelled to the capital with some momentum behind them but those results were cast in a very different light tonight.
Were those opponents the authors of their own downfall as much as Mayo moving well? It would appear so.
It would be foolish to start writing off Mayo on the basis of this result. They've bounced back from similar performances in the past. But with Mayo much closer to full strength than Dublin, this result is a big cause for concern for Stephen Rochford and co.
What will frustrate them is not just the margin of defeat but the lack of any sign of a meaningful comeback in the second half.
Mayo trailed by six at the break and the second half was being played as Dublin desired - wide open as Mayo tried to get back into the game. Dublin kicked seven points from seven shots in the first ten minutes of the second half to stretch their lead to ten points and it could have been worse.
Their next attack led to a penalty which saw Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke pull off an incredible double save from Paddy Andrews while Colm Boyle got a crucial arm in to stop the second rebound going in.
Even at that stage it was damage limitation and Mayo did not make a good fist of that at the other end, failing to score for the last 23 minutes of the game.
By the game's end, 12 points arguably did not do justice to Dublin's dominance. They were toying with Mayo and have certainly laid down a marker should these sides face each other later in the season.
Mayo trailed at the break by six points, 1-5 to 0-2, and had Dublin been more clinical in front of goal, it could have been worse. Eoghan O'Gara blazed off target twice with goal chances while Michael Darragh MacAuley had his shot saved by David Clarke.
That said, Mayo's paltry tally of two points in the half, both from Cillian O'Connor deadballs, should have been added to as well.
Mayo had 16 shots but their execution and their decision making let them down all too often. Mayo's kicking game did not get going at all as far too much ball failed to stick in the full-forward line and support play was notable often only by its absence.
Dublin's goal arrived from the hands of corner-forward Conor McHugh who palmed home after a Mayo short kick-out backfired. It put Dublin 1-2 to 0-0 up after earlier points from Dean Rock (free) and McHugh.
Cillian O'Connor converted a '45 on ten minutes for Mayo's first point and when he kicked another '45 on 19 minutes only the goal separated the teams and Mayo were coming more and more into it.
However a dominant Dublin defence shut Mayo out and Philly McMahon, Rock and Eric Lowndes kicked three unanswered points for Dublin to lead by six at the short whistle.
Mayo host Cavan in MacHale Park on Sunday, March 19 next hoping to bounce back from this heavy defeat.
Mayo: D Clarke; L Keegan, K Higgins, P Durcan; S Coen (0-1), C Boyle (0-1), D Vaughan; T Parsons (0-1), J Gibbons; F Boland, K McLoughlin, D O'Connor; E Regan (0-2, fs), C O'Connor (0-2, 45s), A Moran. Subs: B Harrison for Gibbons; S Nally for Vaughan; C O'Shea for Moran; C Loftus for D O'Connor; D Kirby for Boland.
Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon (0-2), M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, D Daly, J Small, E Lowndes (0-2); B Fenton, MD MacAuley; N Scully, D Rock (0-8, 6fs), SB Carthy; C Kilkenny, E O'Gara, C McHugh (1-3). Subs: P Andrew for O'Gara; P Flynn (0-1) for Carthy; K McManamon for McHugh; C Reddin for Byrne; C Mullally for Small.
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).