Dublin swat Tyrone aside to book final showdown with Derry

Dessie Farrell’s side make in five successive wins as young players continue to add depth

NFL Division One: Dublin 5-18 Tyrone 0-12

Dessie Farrell’s demeanour of late has appeared almost challenged by the success of his team. The Dublin manager and his preferred restraint when reflecting on matches have been put under pressure by his side’s form.

Yes, there have been contexts and qualifications about the opposition but the All-Ireland champions have impressed in the way they have gone about their business and the increasing influence of younger players, which is giving the panel real depth with the championship just around the corner.

The latest demolition job was no different. A 21-point defeat of any Division One opposition is a startling enough outcome, even against a Tyrone side missing a litany of their best players. And Farrell sounded almost relieved that next weekend’s final against table-toppers Derry would provide a searching examination of where the team actually stands.

This was a training spin. Once the first goal went in, in the 13th minute, Dublin won as they liked. Many of their virtues were displayed in fashioning it. Brian Howard’s exquisite kick-passing found Brian Fenton and his accuracy picked out Con O’Callaghan, who laid off the scoring assist for the rampant Colm Basquel to ram the ball into the net.


At that stage of the match a lead of 1-4 to 0-3 is hardly a hopeless cause but Tyrone seemed to treat it that way.

A second, just before half-time, again created by O’Callaghan’s assist set up Niall Scully and he did the necessary. At the break, it was 2-11 to 0-6 and all hope of a contest could safely be abandoned.

This completed a run of five successive wins for Dublin, a fair turnaround from the opening two matches, which they lost by a point to Monaghan and Mayo.

Next week will be different. Under Mickey Harte, Derry have been the most consistent team in the division and although he pulled a few frontliners when Dublin successfully raided Celtic Park, next week will be a litmus test for both of them.

Farrell was inclined to explain Tyrone’s abysmal performance as being what happens when a team with effectively nothing to play for comes up against a team that does.

“But I’d prefer that than a flat performance from us because the opposition weren’t up for it necessarily or were changing their team up or were resting lads or whatever – that we respond accordingly and go about your business in the best way possible.

“I’d prefer for us to perform reasonably well than have a situation where you get through it, you get the two points, but you’re still coming away scratching your head because fellahs haven’t got up for the game or haven’t been as clinical as you’d like.”

That certainly didn’t happen, as illustrated by the tenacity of the defence almost throughout and oblivious to the damage being wrought at the other end.

Daire Newcombe tussled away with former All Star Cathal McShane, winning the first contested ball between them, albeit his man shot a couple of points in the first half. The first came after a delivery by goalkeeper Niall Morgan, who as usual roamed up field and displayed more urgency than anyone else on his team.

Tyrone were repeatedly punished by turnovers and counterattack. If the contest had been undermined by half-time, it disintegrated in the third quarter. Three goals were scored between the 46th and 50th minutes. Eoin Murchan led the charge for the first and passed to Lorcan O’Dell, whose quick kick into breaking wing back Cian Murphy left the latter one-on-one with Morgan and a nimble sidestep opened up the goal.

Basquel and O’Dell provided a goal and an assist for each other in quick succession to bring up the fourth and fifth goals.

There was a wide range of scoring with nine different players raising flags. There were significant hauls for Killian McGinnis and Ross McGarry – 0-3 each – whereas Paul Mannion came in off the bench to shoot 0-2.

Tyrone manager Brian Dooher came out with his hands up.

“There’s not much to take out of that, to be perfectly honest and to call it what it is, it’s a bit of an embarrassment. It just wasn’t good enough and we know that.

“For one reason or another, we just weren’t at the races there, and we were punished every time we made errors, well and truly punished for it, and rightly so.

“I’m not going to say there’s excuses for it because there isn’t. It wasn’t good enough – disappointing in our application and our general intensity and work rate wasn’t near where it should be.”

Farrell looks forward to next week and the summer beyond. The finish to the league has produced some excellent performances and there are still players due back. All Star veterans Stephen Cluxton and Michael Fitzsimons are back in training according to the manager. He acknowledged the satisfactory position the team was in.

“For us, a team like Dublin, one of the challenges is to continue to evolve while staying very, very competitive. You should have at least one eye on what’s coming in the future.”

DUBLIN: D O’Hanlon; D Newcombe, E Murchan, S McMahon (0-1); C Murphy (1-0), B Howard, T Lahiff; B Fenton, K McGinnis (0-3); N Scully (1-0), C Kilkenny, R McGarry (0-3); C Basquel (2-3, 1m), C O’Callaghan (0-4, 1f, 1m), L O’Dell (1-2).

Subs: T Clancy for Newcombe (46 mins), P Mannion (0-2) for O’Callaghan (47 mins), P Ó Cofaigh Byrne for Fenton (50 mins), B O’Leary for Kilkenny (53 mins), C O’Connor for Murchan (60 mins), S Forker for Lahiff (67 mins).

TYRONE: N Morgan (0-2, 1f); C Devlin, N McCarron, A Clarke; B Cullen, K McGeary (0-1), N Devlin; B Kennedy, J Oguz; C Cush, L McGarrity (0-1), A Donaghy; D McCurry (0-2, 1f), R Canavan (0-4, 1f), C McShane (0-2).

Subs M Donnelly for Cush (half-time), Tarlach Quinn for McCarron (half-time), C Daly for McShane (48 mins), S O’Donnell for McGeary (49 mins), Tiernan Quinn for McCurry (54 mins)

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times