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Saturday 27 May 2017

Dublin off to winning start in 2017

Dublin 2-16 Louth 1-10 'Better than Sam Allardyce and no money invovled. I can ride off into sunset': Clarke

Dublin’s Niall Walsh in possession as Louth’s Derek Maguire puts him under pressure during the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup decider at the Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda yesterday.
Dublin’s Niall Walsh in possession as Louth’s Derek Maguire puts him under pressure during the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup decider at the Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda yesterday.

Afterwards, Colin Kelly stood before us and drew a deep breath.

"I'm going to have to listen to a load of stuff now about the Dublin third team," sighed the Louth manager.

It was the only topic of discussion in Drogheda yesterday.

A panel of players taken almost exclusively from those who didn't make last year's squad had just flattened a Louth team buoyed by early season promise - and a rare away win in Meath - on their own turf.

The 2-16 to 1-10 scoreline did nothing to flatter a Dublin team who, in the absence of the majority of the squad that won last year's League, Leinster and All-Ireland titles, hoisted the one remaining available trophy.

It was tempting therefore, to wonder how they might fare in the Leinster SFC were they given a crack.

"They've probably come along in an era when Dublin have the best Gaelic football team of all time," Kelly surmised.

"So they're at a roadblock and there's nowhere for them to go.

"Would they win the Leinster championship? I don't know and I don't care."

It was that sort of day for Louth.

Clearly, the Wee County had invested much in winning. This result, its manner and the constitution of the team that inflicted it, stung badly.

For Dublin, a drizzly afternoon up the M50 was an almost complete triumph.

A turbo-charged spell either side of half-time saw them kick 10 points to no reply and even in the ragged, occasionally narky closing stages, they had the presence of mind to finish the job with a couple of beautifully crafted goals from substitutes Colm Basquel and Killian O'Gara.

"We'll sit down with Jim (Gavin) and we'll go through the players," explained Paul Clarke of the debriefing process now as he hands the Bainisteoir bib back to Jim Gavin in advance of next Sunday's League opener in Cavan.

"We'll discuss everything about them. Bryan Cullen will discuss the gym work they did and how they've improved there.

"We'll discuss the performances and positions and how they did when they came in.

"I'll be telling Jim about when we brought lads in as subs, the instructions they were given and how they were able to follow those instructions.

"So there's a number of things have to be done, so I'll sit down with Jim Brogan and Jim Gavin and Bryan Cullen to discuss all these sort of things."

Prospects

Some of yesterday's panel boosted their stock to the sort of levels that should see a start in Breffni Park in six days time.

The most obvious example being Niall Scully, who followed up his match-winning performance in Newbridge last Sunday with a similarly stylish and effective display here.

Passing, ball-carrying, tackling - it was all there from a player with prospects both bright and immediate.

"I think Niall may have travelled last year," Clarke explained.

"He decided that was what he wanted to do. It was a great call between Jim Gavin and Niall Scully to go away and do something like, and to come back and say 'look, I want to be involved'. "He's proven that he's a quality footballer.

Ciarán Reddin is no stranger to early spring in a Dublin jersey but he led admirably from centre-back yesterday and should make the grade too while Paul Hudson, Jack Smith and Ross Hazley did only good things for their claims. "These lads have skill sets. That's why they're here.

"It was a matter of them coming together. It's great credit to them that they can achieve something like that in a short space of time."

Collapsed

Louth started well and in Pauric Smith (0-5) they had a man with his cross-hairs set but from a 0-5 to 0-3 lead in the 27th minute, they collapsed under Dublin's slicker play and trailed by 0-13 to 0-5 by the 55th minute.

Only for an outstanding one-on-one, pointblank save from Evan Comerford on Tommy Durnin, they might have built a decent lead but Dublin's quality was obvious and the move that led to Basquel's goal exemplified it.

"Better than Sam Allardyce and no money involved," laughed Clarke of his similarly brief but successful reign.

"I can ride off into the sunset."

SCORERS - Dublin: P Hudson 0-6 (3f), C Basquel 1-1, C Reddin 0-3 (1 '45), K O'Gara 1-0, N Scully, J Whelan, C Mullally, S Cunningham, C McHugh, R O'Brien 0-1 each. Louth: P Smith 0-5, P Rath 1-0, R Holcroft, S Mulroy (2f) 0-2 each, B Duffy 0-1.

DUBLIN: E Comerford; R McGowan, E O'Brien, J Smith; R Gaughan, C Reddin, C Mullally; J Whelan, R Hazley; N Scully, S Boland, N Walsh; C McHugh, S Cunningham, P Hudson. Subs: C Basquel for Boland (h-t), E Ó Conghaile for Hazley (h-t), T Shields for Mullally (39), G Sweeney for Walsh (51), K O'Gara for Cunningham (55), S Newcombe for Whelan (62), R O'Brien for McHugh (67).

LOUTH: C Lynch; P Ruth, P Reilly, K Carr; D Maguire, D McMahon, A Williams; T Durnin, A McDonnell; J Stewart, P Smith, B Duffy; C McKeever, J McEneaney, R Holcroft. Subs: R Burns for McEneaney (39), A Reid for McKeever (39), D Byrne for McMahon (42), E O'Connor for Durnin (48), S Mulroy for Holcroft (51), R Moore for McDonnell (65), R Nally for Smith (67).

WIDES - Dublin: 11 (7 + 4). Louth: 11 (8 + 3).

BOOKED - Dublin: (Ó Conghaile 39, 73, Whelan 45, McHugh 52, Smith 71). Louth: (Duffy 33, McDonnell 34, Reilly 52, Mulroy 55, O'Connor 72).

BLACK CARD - Dublin: 1 (Maguire 75)

SENT OFF - Dublin: 1 (Ó Conghaile 73, second yellow)

REF: J Hickey (Carlow)

ATTENDANCE: 3,500 (Est.)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Niall Scully (Dublin).

o'byrne cup final

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