Dubs take time to break roadblock

 

Dubs take time to break roadblock

Perhaps then we’d have all been spared the first 60 minutes of a match that will be quickly forgotten.

Eventually, when the need was greatest, Dublin broke through Derry’s roadblock to snipe four points in the final 10 minutes or so.

In the process, they relegated Derry to Division 2 football for 2016 and improved their own chances of returning to the league semi-finals.

Beyond that, the greater question was whether or not such low-scoring, tactical battles are going to be the norm.

Donegal, Tyrone and Derry have all made no apologies for setting out to stifle Dublin at Croke Park and there could be more coming Jim Gavin’s way next weekend.

They travel to Clones to take on a Monaghan side that lost heavily to Dublin in last year’s Championship and, more recently, stopped Donegal scoring a single point from play in 70 minutes.

All the ingredients then for another re-run of the Alamo where Dublin attack a heavily fortified defence.

“It’s another great challenge next weekend in Clones,” said Dublin manager Gavin. “It’s a great ground against an excellent team in Monaghan.

“It’s just a challenge for us. Whatever way a team plays against us, whether it’s man to man or that blanket defence, it’s a case of just trying to work our way through it.

“That would be the most satisfying thing from the Derry game. Obviously the first quarter of the game, it took a while to get into it. A lot of shots dropped short.

“There was a bit of a wind there off the Canal End. There were a lot of misses passes, handling errors, some players were slipping.

“But I think in the last quarter we got a bit of momentum. We had a word with them at half-time and I thought we played controlled football in the second-half. To come away with the two points is probably a bonus.”

Derry edged the first-half 0-3 to 0-2 but it was painful viewing and Dublin supporters in the 19,224 crowd openly booed the Ulster outfit. In fairness, both teams were guilty of handling errors and misplaced passes in rain-sodden conditions.

Dublin had 17 wides. It didn’t get much better after the break either as Derry tried to steal a result to prolong their relegation battle. The sides were tied at 0-4 with an hour played. But by leaking those four late points Derry slipped to defeat.

“Overall in the game I think we had 30 scoring opportunities,” said Gavin.

“We got eight points, seven were dropped short and the rest were wide. It was just technique more than anything else and conditions were tough for both teams. Defensively, I think we played quite well. We showed a good structure, we limited them to one point in the second-half. Against any inter-county team, that’s a good score. So positive in that respect.”

Derry manager McIver claimed both teams were guilty of stifling tactics. Asked if he ever managed a team that was booed before, McIver said: “No. Which I thought was pretty harsh because Dublin set up exactly the same as we did. So I couldn’t see why we were getting booed and there were more Dublin supporters than Derry supporters.”

But he accepted his team did come to Croke Park intent on playing a defensive game. At one stage in the second-half as Dublin probed for openings, there were no Derry players beyond their own 45m line.

“When we were here a year ago in the final, we were well opened up. This time, Dublin scored eight points and two of those came in the last minute or so. From a defensive point of view we did the business. Look, until the GAA authorities do something to change the rules .... unfortunately that’s the way a lot of games are going.

“Believe me, it’s not the way we want to play football, no. But on the day, we knew we had to come down and be really, really good from a defensive viewpoint. To be fair to the players, they were.”

Scorers for Dublin:

D Rock (0-3, two frees), Diarmuid Connolly (0-2), Michael Darragh Macauley, Cormac Costello and Paddy Andrews (0-1 each).

Scorers for Derry:

Benny Heron (one 45), James Kielt (one free), Mark Lynch and Enda Lynn (0-1 each).

DUBLIN:

S Cluxton; P McMahon, R O’Carroll, E Culligan; J Cooper, J Small, J McCaffrey; MD Macauley, T Brady; P Flynn, D Connolly, C Kilkenny; K McManamon, D Rock, B Brogan.

Subs:

C Costello for McManamon (h/t), J McCarthy for Brady (42), David Byrne for Culligan (42), P Andrews for Kilkenny (51), B Fenton for Macauley (54), Davy Byrne for Brogan (70).

DERRY:

T Mallon; O Duffy, N Holly, K Johnston; L McGoldrick, C McAtamney, M McIver; M Lynch, E Bradley; SL McGoldrick, D Heavron, E Lynn; B Heron, E McGuckin, J Kielt.

Subs:

F Doherty for Bradley (46), T O’Brien for McGuckin (46), C McFaul for Kielt (46), D McKinless for McIver (51), N McNicholl for L McGoldrick (67).

Referee:

C Lane (Cork).

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