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Gilroy’s gospel pays off for Dubs

PAT GILROY summed it up pretty well.

This was about more than Dublin beating Tyrone, it was merely further confirmation that no-one ever gets the better of Father Time.

Sporting dynasties, like the players and managers who build them, have a finite life span.

Tyrone’s underage production line offers the county much hope for the future but the days of this great team are surely at an end.

Eight of the men that started for Mickey Harte on Saturday were front and centre, back in 2003, when the Ulster side won their historic first All-Ireland. This day was always going to come and Dublin were there to greet the dawn. "With the type of football that is being played at the moment you really need to have a serious level of fitness," said Dublin boss Gilroy. "When the heat goes up, as it did there, I definitely think (youth) is a factor.

"The younger teams have a bit of an advantage with the type of game that is being played at the moment."

When all was said and done and the autopsy filed, Dublin had simply out-Tyroned Tyrone.

Gilroy has preached the same defensive gospel since February and his converts reaped that reward two days ago.

Nothing highlighted the "new Dubs" like the disparity in frees both sides conceded. Tyrone coughed up a relatively paltry 19. Dublin saw fit to step outside the law a whopping 34 times.

It may not please the purists but such is modern-day football and it was revealing the number of times that the players in blue unceremoniously grappled opponents to the ground when Tyrone men were about to show them a set of heels.

Whatever happens in the semi-final, this result alone will stand as vindication of Gilroy and his root-and-branch reconstruction of the team that Pillar built when the dust settles on the 2010 season.

"I was always very confident that what we were doing was the right thing for Dublin. We had the right bunch and we had enough evidence to believe that this was the right thing to do for us."

Like Down before them, Dublin gave themselves the best possible chance of creating history by galloping into an early lead but, unlike James McCartan’s men, they didn’t lead from first post to last.

Dublin were a point behind by the break, two in arrears soon after it and still level with seven minutes to go. Every one of those statistics only serves to add lustre to their achievement.

"I said it during the week that you never know what could happen if an underdog can get a performance and that is what happened," said Gilroy.

"We got the performance and came out the right side of it. As a group, we see ourselves in bonus territory now.

"Maybe beating one of these teams, we were not sure if we had enough in our armoury this year to do that but we certainly expected to be closing the gap and it took us over the line.

"Maybe some of the shooting by Tyrone in the second half helped us."

There was no maybe about it.

The Ulster champions registered a wincing 17 wides, 10 of them in the second half and if there was anything more shocking than the final tally, it was the identity of the culprits.

Consider the running order of waywardness in that second period: Martin Penrose, Stephen O’Neill, Sean Cavanagh, Cavanagh, Cavanagh, Owen Mulligan, Brian McGuigan, Cavanagh, Penrose, O’Neill and Joe McMahon.

It is an astonishing list and, when the debit and credit columns were added up, Mulligan and Philip Jordan were the only men on the Tyrone side who emerged comfortably in the black.

Dublin’s order of merit was understandably longer but theirs was all about the collective. All except for one man. Once again, Bernard Brogan was exceptional, scoring nine points and having a hand in countless more.

Older brother Alan, was less conspicuous on the scoreboard but the former captain was beginning to cause havoc when the management inexplicably called him ashore for 15 minutes before sending him back on towards the end.

Luckily for Gilroy, he didn’t live to regret it.

Fortune was with his side on other occasions too, most notably when Penrose hit the post on the interval when clean through and then when Eoghan O’Gara netted the crucial score from a similar ricochet five minutes from time.

As someone said later, it was hard to begrudge them their day in the sun given the ill-strokes that have befallen them in recent times. From here on in, they are deep in "bonus territory" as Gilroy put it.

"It wouldn’t have been our expectation that we would beat one of the top three this year. That’s being honest. We thought that there would still be a bit of a gap because there were so many new guys.

"We expected that performance and we expected to be making progress and closing the gap. You never know now, we are in the semi-final and we will have to keep having a go at it."

Youth knows no other way.

Dublin: S Cluxton (0-1, ’45), M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, P McMahon (0-1), K Nolan, G Brennan, B Cahill, MD Macauley (0-1), R McConnell, B Cullen (0-1), A Brogan (0-1), N Corkery, D Henry, E O’Gara (1-0), B Brogan (0-9, 5f).

Subs: P Flynn for Henry, C O’Sullivan for Cahill, E Fennell for Corkery, C Keaney (0-1, f) for A Brogan, A Brogan for Cullen

Tyrone: P McConnell, C McCarron, Justin McMahon, R McMenamin, D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan (0-2), C Cavanagh, K Hughes, B Dooher, B McGuigan (0-1), Joe McMahon, M Penrose (0-5, 4f), S Cavanagh, O Mulligan (0-5, 2f).

Subs: D Carlin for McCarron, S O’Neill for Harte, E McGinley for Hughes, P Harte for Penrose

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).