Top three Mayo matches of the decade

It’s been one hell of a decade for thrilling matches involving Mayo. Endless Championship jousts – particularly with Dublin, Kerry and Donegal – have produced a series of unforgettable moments and the task of trying to select a top three is no easy feat.

As we approach the end of this decade, I took a stab at picking my three most memorable Mayo matches between 2010-2019. I’m aware that there are some absolute scorchers missing (and I’m also still not quite sure myself how either of the 2014 semi-finals against Kerry have missed out) so feel free to comment on the blog with your own top three!

2012 – All-Ireland semi-final v Dublin

A flurry of unanswered Mayo points either side of half-time in this contest remains one of the most thrilling memories of this or any other decade as Mayo set about dismantling the reigning All-Ireland champions. When Alan Dillon’s 51st minute point made the score-line 0-17 – 0-07, the Croke Park crowd were struggling to believe eyes…..until a Dublin surge brought everyone back down to earth.

Who knows how things might have finished up had David Clarke not managed to get a strong right hand to Bernard Brogan’s goal-bound shot late in the day? As usual, it was never destined to be straightforward. A jubilant Keith Higgins emerging from a sea of bodies with the ball deep into injury-time endures as a priceless image to this day.

2013 – All-Ireland quarter-final v Donegal

Have Mayo produced a better 70-minute performance during this decade? So many aspects of what had become a well-oiled machine by this stage seemed to be functioning at full capacity on this day and the result was a shock to the Donegal system which had previously been so carefully cultivated by Jim McGuiness.

Aidan O’Shea produced a colossal display around the middle which appeared to set a platform for Donie Vaughan (among others) to rampage forward on more than one occasion. A voracious appetite for goals was another startling feature of this game, with Cillian O’Connor helping himself to a mind-blowing total of 3-4 on the day. The constant energy of Keegan, Higgins, O’Shea and plenty of others was a sight to behold in a performance that arguably represented a peak for this magnificent team.

2015 – All Ireland semi-final v Dublin (first game)

The sheer defiance of the late rally here was the abiding memory and ultimately why this game squeezes into my top three in the face of stiff competition.

We had seen the stubborn character of this team on more than one occasion by this point (notably when dealing with the loss of Lee Keegan and a five-point deficit in 2014 against Kerry) but the difference on this day was that they faced an additional enemy alongside the boys in blue … the clock. A seven-point gap with less than ten minutes remaining is simply not a position that teams recover from against a Dublin side that have redefined the sport as we know it during this past decade.

Slowly, methodically, Mayo somehow clawed their way back, though, and the short spell between the referee signalling for a penalty and Andy Moran claiming an iconic equaliser shortly after O’Connor’s goal ranks as possibly the most intense couple of minutes we’ve seen in the last ten years!

34 thoughts on “Top three Mayo matches of the decade

  1. Hard to disagree but Mayo beating Kerry in the 2017 semi final replay has to be in there. Not often we get to beat Kerry never mind in a replay. 2014 replay and 2017 final also amazing games just not with the right result

  2. Everyone has a different opinion, but the 2017 All Ireland final is for me our finest performance of the decade .

  3. Great article and it’s the right discussion to finish off the year/decade.

    I wouldn’t disagree with any of the suggestions made. I’d add that resounding win in Salthill, and our league final into the mix.

  4. Another great post to show why this the best sports blog in the country! Well done on all of your hard work on this great site – we really appreciate it! Maigh Eo Abú!

    Is there any Mayo dvd that shows these clips of these classic matches. Looking at you tube can be a pain , twould be mighty to have a dvd to tuck into for the Christmas.

  5. 3 great matches and I’d like to throw in 2017 final even if we lost (still feel we were deserved winners), 2017 semi versus Kerry and 2016 quarter final versus Tyrone. Have to say super 8’s win over donegal in castlebar was highly memorable too.

  6. Forgot the league final win!!!! And beating Roscommon in the quarter final replay in Croke Park. Enjoyed that too. No matter what anyone thinks it’s great supporting Mayo.

  7. I’d add 2013 Galway to my own list – will never forgot that day in Pearse Stadium, absolutely dismantling our nearest rivals. 17 points. 17!! Andy coming back from the cruciate and getting a score was just beautiful. That was the day Mayo truly announced themselves as a proper All ireland contender imo (in 2012 we were in hope more than expectation)

    2013 Donegal and 2017 Kerry the others

    2012 semi was very memorable but to be honest we very nearly blew it and to be fair we took advantage of a very sluggish Dublin, still hungover after winning Sam. Even Wexford and Laois put it rightly up to them that year

    2015 is an interesting choice, I actually thought that was a quite a forgettable enough year overall and in the semis I felt we were so slow to get going in the drawn game, and really left it behind us in the replay. Dublin hadn’t really become the force of today at that point (were much more unsure of themselves and didn’t really know their best forward line) and were there for the taking.

    2017 final was certainly one of our better performances but I can’t include a loss!!

  8. My God, just came on this now, I was going to run something here as to Mayo’s best performer in an All Ireland final, when the stakes were highest.
    Mayo have had brilliant games in semi finals from a wide range of players, only to ” not show up in a final “.
    For me one guy stands out as our greatest player in all my Mayo finals since 1989, whether it be as a man maker, defender, and goal scorer, of course it has to be Lee Keegan.
    There are more than 3 top Mayo games to pick from.
    My list is as follows.
    Beating Tyrone in semi final in 1989
    Beating Tyrone in quarters in 2004
    Semi final v Dubs in 2006, but for me this is tarnished due to the collapse in the final.
    Quarter v Cork in 2011
    Semi v Dubs in 2012, Mayo should have won by 10 points.
    Replayed Ros game, replayed semi final and final of 2017, three brilliant games in close succession.

  9. All great choices from Kevin and from posters above.
    My own three are a win, a loss and a draw.
    2017 Replay v Kerry. Sweet after 2014.
    2017 Final. Just a game that had absolutely everything. Performance levels were phenomenal and still didn’t prevail.
    2016 Drawn All Ireland. 5 points down at half time but seemingly doing everything well. Three points down going into injury time. Cillian O Connor’s point to equalise and then the drama of not getting scoreable free after Bastick’s pick up off the ground.
    So many great days. League Final win just outside top 3 for me but another great day.

  10. Game of the decade is really personal preference as everyone will see things a little differently and remember some games above others for various reasons.
    Personally the 2015 and 2017 games v Dublin had great performances from Mayo but I don’t think you can say our game of the decade was one where we didn’t win. For me it’s either Donegal game in 2013 where Mayo played virtually the perfect game and reached the peak of their powers or perhaps Cork in 2011 where Horan announced a new Mayo, where we started to believe we are contenders.

  11. I left Croke Park after the 2017 final loss saying to myself – to win an all Ireland these players cant do any more than what they have already done. We had so many players who played so well for a large part of that game and we still didn’t get over the line. The intensity and pace of that game was unreal all the way through. Small margins.
    I am over 40 years following Mayo now – we had more great days out over the last 10 years than the previous 30 years put together. Younger supporters may not fully appreciate this.

  12. No1, Dublin Semifinal 2012, ,……No2, Kerry Replay 2017….No3, League Final, 2019….No4…. Tyrone Semifinal 2013… .No5, Donegal quarterfinals 2013…..No6, Draw in Ballybofey keeping us in Div One 2018…. No7 Quarterfinal Donegal 2015…..No8 Dublin hammered in the League 2012 , in Castlebar, Conor Mortimer 9 Points, MotM Award and break’s the then Mayo scoring record…. (original Match abandoned due to fog at halftime) No9, Kerry in round 6 NFL 2019.. . .No10…. Connacht Final win V Galway in Castlebar 2014!

  13. On further reflection. .2014, Coming back from 7 points down with 14 men, versus Kerry was probably No1..

  14. Back to what the blog is all about!

    Very difficult to pick 3 but here goes in no particular order.

    V Dublin 2012.
    I was working in Japan at the time and couldnt get a tv stream but thankfully could get radio. Had the flight booked home before the Mid West broadcast finished.

    V kerry 2014 1st game.
    4 points down and keegan redcarded after about 30 mins.I really didnt see a way back for us.The 2nd half performance that day was the best half of football ive ever seen Mayo play.

    V Dublin 2017 final.
    Some finals i couldnt bring myself to watch back and havent to this day but I watch this game from time to time.The atmosphere,the intensity,the performance,the emotion and the drama,Ive never experienced anything like it.

    I dont care what people from other counties say or do,they’ll never know the privilege of following our beloved Mayo.

  15. Maybe a bit of recency bias but beating Donegal in Castlebar this summer was unreal. The atmosphere in the MacHale Park stand that day was better than anything I’ve seen before.

    Another underrated game was the Derry qualifier in 2017 with Conor Loftus getting a goal after us missing a pile of chances.

  16. Willie joe. This is your most enjoyable episode all year. You ask for the most memorable and I think only games we actually won are in that category. This years league final is my number one followed closely by the victory over cork in 2011 I watched the game in schull that day and afterwards walked down the Main Street in my green and red jersey. It’s hard to describe how proud I was although I really wished I was in Dublin that day

  17. You can’t ever really say you enjoy a Mayo game in the classic sense of the word. Heart rate accelerated, sweating, swaying, pulling hair out, roaring, screeching and frothing at the mouth. Even watching it back after it’s the same.

    Top 3 most satisfying for me were:
    1. 2012 Semi vs Dublin.
    2. 2017 Semi vs Kerry.
    3. Beating Galway this year (Christ that was sweet. Sorry Tuamstar).

  18. Noted willie joe. Now I’d like to know your top 3. Well done Kevin and happy Christmas to all

  19. It’s a tough choice, Michaelincork, but, if forced to choose, then I’d go with the same three as Near Hand In listed yesterday. That was Donegal in 2013, Kerry (replay) in 2017 and the 2017 final. Of the lot, I think I was most proud of the team after the 2017 final. They gave it absolutely everything and the final had everything but we came up a millimetre short in one of the greatest finals of all time. As supporters, we really couldn’t have asked any more from the lads that day.

  20. Well that piece just hits the spot – that is me fired up again for 2020. There will be highs and lows but we will give it a right lash together. I can’t really remember what I did for 250 days of this year but I remember vividly every hour of the 10 or so days I spent following the senior team and that just might be what it is really all about; memories. Keep up all the good work if you can WJ and the same goes to all the crew who were responsible for all those top quality podcasts during the year. Have a great Christmas all.

  21. Mayo V Cork in Limerick 2017 has to be up there, the noise in the Mackey Stand that day for a crowd of about 13k was something else, thought the roof was going to lift, especially just before extra time started. Mayo v Kerry (1st game) 2014 and 2012 against Dublin would be my other two selections.

  22. Two of my three Willie Joe, but an excellent choice too. 2013 v Donegal was an exceptional performance. Almost impossible to choose.

  23. Apologies, Near Hand In – I stand corrected on your choices. And, much as I enjoyed that 2013 thumping of Donegal (so much so that the TV cameras picked me up literally dancing in the aisles after one of our scores that day), on reflection you’d have to say that the performance in the drawn 2016 final tops it. Cillian’s equaliser – I was in the Upper Davin so had a perfect view of it – will live with me always.

  24. 2019 Mayo vs Donegal game. That was the best game I attended in MacHale Park in 20 years. There was such passion from the mayo supporters which is weirdly lacking when we play Galway or Roscommon.

    2019 Mayo vs Kerry. League final, what a day to be a Mayoman. Great to have your UK relations with you winning in hq, it will be in the memory bank for eternity. There has been plenty of needle between these two teams, and it was nice to quieten them.

    2016 Mayo vs Dublin. Cillians last kick of the game score to draw the game. What emotions, especially if ya live with them in Dublin.

  25. I’m going for titles: 1 beating Cork in Ennis 2016 U21. 2 League title this year.
    Wins Kerry 2017 replay.
    Performances: 2017 final.

  26. the three games i will never forget are 1. league game in mchale park versus dublin in 2012. 2. all-ireland semi-final versus dublin in august 2012. league final versus kerry in 2019.

  27. Reckon in terms of best podcasts, there should be a poll as well. I’ve said it before, I would be lost without the blog and podcasts.
    A huge thank you to yourself WJ, Rob and all that make the podcast possible. Never forget that the service ye bring to all us worldwide and feels like we are right there in the thick of the action.
    I went back and thought about which of your podcasts were the most memorable and in fairness there are a fair few. I just urge everyone to listen to the win over Galway this year in Limerick. For me, I throw on a podcast and go for an auld run and me living here in Australia. This was the highlight of the year for ylme. In terms of podcasts, it was top class. It was measured (The action throughout the game), it was analytical (interview with Barrry Cullinane who analysed the game really well), the interview with Billy Joe (after his toy show audition) and most of All towards the end of the podcast trying to get out of Limerick. I lived in that part of the country for 4 years and was trying to tell people – just park the car pointing north on the old Cratloe road and you’ll be sound going out of the Gaelic Grounds.
    A huge thanks WJ and the service you provide. You have no idea how you spread the atmosphere of a game worldwide.

  28. Thanks for that, Erris Head. I have to point out, though, that it’s Rob Murphy, not me, who deserves that praise. I just do a bit of chat on the podcast, he does all the recording and editing on it so it’s him who makes it all happen, including lining up people to be on it.

    That episode down in Limerick was good fun alright and was certainly one of the most enjoyable of the year. The League final one would, of course, also be one of the highlights – for me, that would be hard to top.

    Episode 50 for the year is still to come! Time is running out on us but we’re hopeful to have no.50 up ahead of the New Year.

  29. Lots of memorable moments for me but standout game 2015 draw for reason of comeback during which time while waiting for penalty to be taken my 12 year old son turned to me and said “I feel like my heart is going to come out through my chest “a memory I’ll never forget. Also be remembered for game where Andy Morans shot for goal was tipped onto the post by John small which if it had gone in there would have been no 5 in a row .

  30. It was some decade, and if we get anything like the number of memories we got in the coming decade we are in for a treat!

    So many incredible memories, but I think that comeback in 2015 against Dublin, the kerry replay in 2017 and all ireland final in 2017 would be hard to top.

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