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Published: 19:50 | 1/10/16

Connolly: We snuck it by one point

Diarmuid Connolly praised Mayo after his penalty helped Dublin win the All-Ireland final replay by 1-15 to 1-14 at Croke Park.

The forward admitted that his side just 'snuck it' after a cracking encounter of high intensity which swung to and fro.

Connolly's 41st-minute penalty proved decisive after he swept into the corner from a spot-kick awarded for the recalled Robert Hennelly's clumsy foul on Paddy Andrews after the Westerners' goalkeeper had fumbled an easy high ball.

Cillian O'Connor narrowly missed an opportunity to send the game into extra time and Connolly was fortright about how close the game was.

“‘Just take a breath, put it in the corner and put it away,” he told RTE about his penalty afterwards. “That’s all it is.

“After the replay there was still nothing in this game, absolutely nothing.

“They had the free at the end to draw it again, there was really nothing in it and that’s credit to them. It’s a credit to how good and well put together this Mayo side is.

"Commiserations to them, they put an absolutely massive fight together there for two games. We barely snuck it by just one point, that’s how close it was.”

“We’re not here to prove a point. Every game as it comes and every year as it comes. We weren’t going to defend this Sam Maguire, we were going to attack it and win it. I said that two months ago and that’s what we went after."

Philly McMahon meanwhile also paid tribute to the beaten Mayo side.

“Two weeks ago our character was really tested,” he told RTE. “Mayo are a really strong competitive team.

“When we play Mayo it’s always a tough and tight game, we all have bumps and bruises from that [draw].

"This is what football is about, the two teams bring out the best in each other. We are delighted.

“They came little bit closer to beating us today but we just got over the line.

"A lot of people are struggling in life; we are so lucky that we get to play in front of this crowd.”

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford defended his decision to recall Hennelly in place of David Clarke in goals.

“In selection, you make a calculated decision,” he said.

“We felt on our analysis of Dublin they pushed right up on our kick-out in the drawn game. We felt it was something they may target again. That was the reason behind it.

“Extremely proud of all the Mayo players, I thought they left all their energy out there and that’s matched with huge amount of disappointment.

“When you come out of a battle like that, come second, there’s disappointment to lose by the smallest of margins.”

“The majority of that group have been in four All-Ireland finals now, with three defeats.

“They’re very crestfallen, devastated.

"You don’t put the last nine or ten months of your life into an inter county scene and take anything out of the year only absolute dejection.

“They've been doing that for the last number of years and they continue to fall short. I’m sure that will be the subject of a lot of column inches in the coming weeks.

"It’s not to be and we’ll see what the future brings with regards to how we move in.”

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