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Dessie's Dubs retain grip but Horan hopes Mayo 'might get another chance'

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IMPRESSIVE: Dan O’Brien of Dublin tackles Michael Plunkett of Mayo. Pic: Sportsfile

IMPRESSIVE: Dan O’Brien of Dublin tackles Michael Plunkett of Mayo. Pic: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

IMPRESSIVE: Dan O’Brien of Dublin tackles Michael Plunkett of Mayo. Pic: Sportsfile

Dessie Farrell the player was all about unlocking the opposition defence.

Dessie Farrell the manager is a doughty corner-back, at least in his dealings with the media.

He'll never cough up the quotes equivalent of 1-5; instead leaving you feeding off scraps.

So it was on Saturday night, as the Dublin boss threw out a few teasing morsels, no more.

The big picture question emerging from Elverys MacHale Park was Dublin's continuing stranglehold over their arch-enemy from the west.

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Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Pic: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Their undefeated run - now 16 matches long, incorporating 13 wins and three draws - is staggering given how close so many of those games have been.

Not this one, mind you.

But is there a secret behind this almost eight-year streak?

"I don't think so," Farrell dead-panned after his first managerial duel with Mayo. "We don't look at it that way - it's just the next game, next game, next game. It's probably a better question for somebody from Mayo, to be honest."

So we asked James Horan about a run that stretches back to his own first coming, and the two victories he enjoyed over Pat Gilroy's Dublin in 2012.

"We might get another chance against them soon, you never know. We will try and look forward to that, if it comes," he promised.

Face Value

Asked if the record ever entered their thinking, Horan conceded that you'd know about it through the media but added: "You take every game at face value so you are always going to try and win, particularly a home game with the All-Ireland champions, you are definitely going to try and win that.

"Then where there are records on top of it, it is an added incentive - but it is not your primary focus.

"That game today, we started well, we were tackling well, doing well. We ran out of juice. Who knows, we may have been beaten if we had 15 men," he speculated, alluding to Jordan Flynn's 15th minute red card.

"But you never know. A lot of the things we would have been looking for tonight, we had there. We will move on quickly."

Likewise Farrell as he ponders Saturday's date with Monaghan in Croke Park.

But he had enjoyed his first league adventure beyond the Pale, even if the contest was a world removed from the high-scoring spectacle of Kerry the week before.

"A hugely different dynamic," he reflected. "I'm actually more used to that than Croke Park, believe it or not, from going down the country with underage Dublin teams - you tend to step into cauldrons like that.

"The atmosphere was great out there and it was great for some of our younger players to experience that."

Among those rookies was Dan O'Brien, who made his full NFL debut after a fleeting cameo the previous week.

Clever

The Kilmacud man made a belated impression, landing his first Dublin point soon after the restart after a clever interchange with Ciarán Kilkenny.

"It was a little bit of a baptism of fire for him in the first half," his manager admitted, "but I thought he played extremely well in the second half."

At the other end of the pitch - and experience spectrum - you had Rory O'Carroll making his first league start since 2015.

"Rory did very well too. It's great to see Rory back - he's been a great servant for Dublin over the years," said Farrell.

Dublin will continue to blend the old guard and new brigade for the rest of the league.

Likewise Mayo, although Horan is likely to be without one of his veteran leaders, Colm Boyle, and one of his new recruits, Oisín Mullin, for the trip to Meath.

Boyle was in obvious distress at the end of the first half and didn't resurface; he was spotted afterwards on crutches.

"He is sore," Horan confirmed. "I don't know what it is but he got a bad knock on his knee, for sure."

The availability of Eoin O'Donoghue will bolster his defensive options, just as well given that Mullin will be with the Mayo U20s next weekend.

"His calibre has been well documented for a few years now. Tonight you saw him growing into the game. He is a special player for sure," said his manager.