Dublin not standing still in All-Ireland charge

O’Byrne Cup - Dublin 1-16 DCU 1-12: In years to come, Dublin GAA chiefs will hope to reflect on the week just gone as a historic one.

That Jim Gavin’s senior footballers took five points from a possible six to progress to the semi-finals of the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup in that period will be incidental.

Admittedly, for a youngster like Con O’Callaghan, whose 1-2 yesterday was instrumental in Dublin leapfrogging DCU into top spot in Group A, it’s been a few days to remember.

But the bigger picture for Dublin GAA is the long-term impact that Bryan Cullen’s appointment as high-performance director might have.

The 2011 All-Ireland-winning captain will oversee the strength and conditioning of Dublin teams, with an emphasis on the senior football setup, in the wake of Martin Kennedy leaving for the IRFU.

It’s a novel move by Dublin and one that Gavin hailed as visionary after watching his largely experimental team secure a semi-final clash with hosts Longford next weekend.

“He has all the academic qualifications, he got his PhD in DCU, he has worked with a very professional set-up in Leinster rugby, an elite professional setup, so he brings back a wealth of knowledge and obviously he’s learnt so much as a player,” said Gavin.

“I think it’s great vision and foresight from our chief executive, John Costello, and the management committee of Dublin GAA, to have that vision to bring somebody in of his expertise.

“It’s for the players, and that’s the strong thing you’d have to say about it, it’s about talent development for Gaelic footballers and hurlers within the county, from their skill acquisition to their athletic development and also giving them life skills that they can carry on in their careers professionally.”

Gavin talked of installing ‘pathways’ for young players to follow as they progress through the ranks, all overseen by Cullen.

The news is equally positive on the field, with two Dublin wins in the space of four days.

Gavin did field six All-Ireland final starters yesterday though in three games overall he has looked at 29 players.

Sigerson Cup holders DCU got their goal after 67 minutes, leaving just three points in it, though, in truth, Dublin never looked like losing.

Shane Carey and Enda Smith shared DCU’s first-half tally of 0-6 evenly between them and the duo contributed 1-10 overall, 1-3 for Smith.

Longford’s Michael Quinn showed plenty of industry and put out fires around the field but Dublin’s physical strength eventually ground DCU down.

Scorers for Dublin:

Dean Rock (0-6, 3 frees), C O’Callaghan (1-2), C Costello (0-3), S Carthy and P Andrews (0-2 each), J Whelan (0-1).

Scorers for DCU:

S Carey (0-7, 3 frees), E Smith (1-3), M Quinn and D Byrne (0-1 each).

DUBLIN:

M Savage; J Cooper, J Curley, C Mullally; N Scully, P McMahon, J Small; J McCarthy, D Bastick; T Brady, D Rock, S Carthy; C Costello, P Andrews, C O’Callaghan.

Subs:

J Whelan for Brady (h/t), C Reddin for Bastick (43), D Daly for Mullally (49), M Deegan for Andrews (53), S Cunningham for McCarthy (58), E Culligan for Cooper (59).

DCU:

P O’Donnell; E Smith, K Feely, S Attride; C Mulligan, C Moynagh, D Byrne; C McGonagle, S Carthy; R Connor, M Quinn, C Breheny; C McHugh, E Smith, S Carey.

Subs:

D Ward for Mulligan (30+1), S McCoy for McHugh (h/t), D Mannix for Breheny (h/t), N Gavigan for Feely (43), P McKenna for Eoin Smith (46), Eoghan Smith for Connor (53).

Referee:

A Nolan (Wicklow).


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