McEnaney 'absolutely delighted', Farrell 'happy', after Dublin draw with Monaghan

The Jim Gavin and Malachy O'Rourke eras, both successful seven-season long periods, ran virtually concurrently between 2013 and 2019; Gavin managing Dublin for 2,616 days and O'Rourke Monaghan for 2,476.

McEnaney 'absolutely delighted', Farrell 'happy', after Dublin draw with Monaghan

Monaghan 1-15 - Dublin1-15

The Jim Gavin and Malachy O'Rourke eras, both successful seven-season long periods, ran virtually concurrently between 2013 and 2019; Gavin managing Dublin for 2,616 days and O'Rourke Monaghan for 2,476.

Displaying all the same characteristics that lifted the two counties above the norm during those years, Dublin and Monaghan dished us up more of the same on Saturday evening.

Not to suggest that it was mundane or routine, far from it as Dessie Farrell and Seamus McEnaney were given strong signals from their players that they will give everything to the new regimes in a thriller that, controversially, ran into an 80th minute and ended in dramatic stalemate.

There were concerning moments for both camps; Dublin's first-half no-show under Farrell - they trailed by 10 points after 30 minutes - and Monaghan's late collapse under 'Banty' when they conceded 1-5 without reply, but largely this was an indicator that both camps remain in rude health.

"We'd be absolutely delighted with how Monaghan performed," maintained McEnaney, Farrell speaking in similar tones. "I'm happy with how they performed," said the Dublin manager.

Farrell, surely, is the happier. His team finished with waspish endeavour, all energy and ferocity as they outscored Monaghan by 1-7 to 0-1 from the 61st minute to turn a certain defeat into what felt like a victory, Kevin McManamon's 70th-minute goal enlivening them and David Byrne's 80th-minute equaliser capping the comeback.

"It's not an exact science," shrugged Farrell of his team's Jekyll and Hyde performance. "Sometimes you think you're well up for it and then you can come out and the performance can be flat.

"I think that's what happened us in the first-half. I'm proud of the lads in the way they showed that character and heart to get back into it and make the second-half much more competitive and to ultimately get a point out of it at the end."

The Farney were Dublin's bogey team, in the league at least, throughout the Gavin-O'Rourke eras, meeting six times. Dublin won four of those but two were only by a point and if Monaghan had won on Saturday it would have been their third consecutive win in a row following 2018 and 2019 triumphs.

But they couldn't hold out despite players like Rory Beggan, Niall Kearns and leading scorer Conor McManus showing all the typical Monaghan characteristics of quality and courage on a God awful evening ruined by high winds and rain.

"Obviously they're an experienced bunch at this stage," said Farrell of his players, who fought back remarkably. "They obviously weren't happy with things themselves. We were happy to have the opportunity at half-time to get in and to regroup and to rectify some of the stuff that was going wrong for us, because there was a lot of it."

Farrell named a dummy team for the match programme and went with Liam Flatman, whose previous start was against Galway last year, as well as Dan O'Brien and debutant Dara Mullin in his lineup.

O'Brien, a point-scorer, was the only one that lasted the duration with Farrell forced to reconfigure and recalibrate, running in his full allocation of subs by the 59th minute.

Sean Bugler, not a newcomer by any means but still a rookie, was the real standout performer, scoring three points as a sub late on.

It was also his powerful punch to a bouncing ball that set up McManamon for the 70th minute goal that ignited Dublin's comeback.

"Without doubt the goal was somewhat fortuitous," said Farrell of a score that had its origins in a ballooned point attempt. "I think Kevin Mc actually kicked it himself initially, an attempted score, and then obviously got on the end of it."

Dublin grew stronger as the game went on and Ciaran Branagan's decision to play into a 10th minute of stoppage time, when only six had been initially announced, energised the hosts.

"There's loads of learning in this National Football League, for everybody," said Monaghan boss McEnaney. "For the players, for the management, for the group, but we'd be absolutely delighted with how these lads are going through the process. How they've applied themselves and their application to what we want them to do.

"We're absolutely delighted to get a point in Croke Park. Yes, we're disappointed we didn't get two but we're absolutely delighted to get the point. It's a positive for us, nothing more than positive for us.

"We felt coming up that it would take 17, 18 points, maybe even something like 2-15 to win the game against Dublin. You have to be at that scoring level to compete with Dublin and to beat them. Unfortunately 1-15 wasn't enough. You'll probably have to score 20 to win the game, it's proven that way."

Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus (1-4, 2 frees, 1 mark); R Beggan (0-3, 2 frees, 1 45); M Bannigan and R McAnespie (1 mark) (0-2 each); D Ward, N Kearns, C McCarthy and C Boyle (0-1 each).

Scorers for Dublin: D Rock (0-6, 4 frees); K McManamon (1-0); S Bugler (0-3); D O'Brien, C Kilkenny, J McCarthy, N Scully, C Basquel and D Byrne (0-1 each).

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; D Wylie, C Boyle, K Duffy; R Wylie, R McAnespie, K O'Connell; D Hughes, N Kearns; D Ward, M Bannigan, C McCarthy; D Malone, K Hughes, C McManus.

Subs: A Mulligan for Bannigan (48); S Carey for K Hughes (60); C McGuinness for McCarthy (65); P Keenan for Ward and Hughes for Kearns (73).

DUBLIN: E Comerford; M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, L Flatman; J McCarthy, J Small, E Murchan; B Fenton, B Howard; N Scully, C Kilkenny, D O'Brien; D Mullin, P Andrews, D Rock.

Subs: A Byrne for Andrews (12); P Mannion for Mullin (h/t); S Bugler for Flatman (41); C Basquel for O'Brien (52); K McManamon for Byrne (59).

Referee: C Branagan (Down).

The game in 60 seconds

IT MATTERED: Leading by nine points with an hour played, Monaghan should have won but were outscored by 1-7 to 0-1 from there on. As much as manager Seamus McEnaney insisted afterwards that he was proud of the performance, it will inevitably feel like a point lost for the Farney.

CAN'T IGNORE: If Dessie Farrell was in any doubt about whether a crew of players who dug down deep to mine out results throughout the Jim Gavin era would do the same for him, he got his answer on Saturday. Dublin had no right to get anything from the game but somehow did.

GOOD DAY: Sean Bugler is a young forward with talent to burn and was Man of the Match in last year's Super 8s game against Tyrone. He scored 0-3 that day and did the same as a sub on Saturday evening. Expect to hear plenty more from him.

BAD DAY: Paddy Andrews pulled up in the 12th minute with an apparent leg muscle injury and immediately exited. He cut a frustrated figure and marched straight down the tunnel. It could be a while before we see him again.

PHYSIO ROOM: Andrews' exit was concerning though Dublin have plenty of cover in attack. Con O'Callaghan still has to return from injury as does goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton while we've yet to see Jack McCaffrey, Diarmuid Connolly, Cian O'Sullivan or Michael Darragh Macauley either.

SIDELINE SMARTS: Dessie Farrell will get the plaudits for recalibrating and reconfiguring his team, bringing on all his subs by the 59th minute. In truth, his ultra experienced team probably took it on themselves to raise standards.

BEST ON SHOW: Niall Kearns had a powerful game in midfield for Monaghan but Conor McManus, who first started out as a wing-back in Seamus McEnaney's first term in charge, continues to be their go-to guy, kicking 1-4 up front and tormenting Dublin.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Ciaran Branagan appeared to black card an enraged Darren Hughes for dissent and Monaghan were left furious by the Down official's 10 minutes of stoppage time late on. Only six were initially allotted though there was a lengthy stoppage during that period.

NEXT UP? Both counties have home games in Round 4 on the weekend of February 22/23. Dublin are first up on the Saturday evening against Donegal at Croke Park while Monaghan host Mayo the following afternoon in Inniskeen.

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