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14 Man Derry Overcome Mayo As Dublin Comeback Stuns Rebels

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Derry and Dublin both emerged victorious from this weekend’s semi finals to set up a pulsating national league final in two weeks time.

Derry 2-15 Mayo 1-16

Mayo started this game well, showing solidity at the back while establishing an early lead but Derry would have the final say. Derry pegged back their opponents despite some poor handling errors from their forwards as Cailean O’Boyle slotted the ball into the net. Mayo soon regained their composure as Andy Moran pulled a goal back. A challenge in the lead up to Moran’s goal resulted in the oakleafers being reduced to 14 players as Fergal Doherty received his marching orders for a second bookable offence. However, despite the sending off and Mayo having an extra player to their advantage, it was Derry who dominated the remainder of the half to establish a single point lead at half time.

The second half was a lot like the first with Mayo gradually taking control of the game, but their good effort in the opening stages of the second half was undone when Sean McGoldrick made a devastating run through the heart of their defence before setting up Kevin Johnston who calmly stroked the ball home.  Mayo’s lead began to crumble after this point with Derry looking to finish the game strongly. Derry clawed their way back and some good scores at the finish from Enda Lynn and their influential forward Mark Lynch made sure they advanced to play Dublin in the league final.

Derry selector Paul McIver insisted Derry’s win over Mayo wasn’t quite the shock it was being portrayed as.

“The talent has always been there. Over the last week the media have said that this Derry team doesn’t have the capabilities of past Derry teams. But we would argue that we have a load of players with a lot of All-Ireland minor experience, a lot of Hogan Cup experience, and Chrissy McKaigue played in Australia and represented Ireland. We have some fantastic players.”

Meanwhile, Mayo manager James Horan accepted his side were second best to Derry.

“We were three points up and we had a good goal chance, we made a hames of it. We didn’t take it and the longer that game would have went on Derry would have won by more, I’d say. They were starting to run through us and away from us. A very disappointing performance from us and one we’ll have to analyse very seriously, the whole lot of us as a group. We weren’t good today, right through. So we need to have a look at that.”

Dublin 2-20 Cork 2-13 

This game started slow, but it was Cork that built up a massive lead in the opening ten minutes of the game, with Colm O’Neill giving the rebels an excellent start. Things got only better for the rebels, when a high ball in caused chaos between Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton and his defence, which resulted in an own goal by the Dubs, giving Cork an unbelievable head start in the game. Cork’s defensive play of man to man marking gave the Dubs some real trouble in the first half as they seemed a team that lacked real penetration despite having some opportunities that failed to come to anything. Cork surprising led by 2-9 to 0-7 at the break.

The rebels started the second half positively by extending their lead, but it didn’t last long. A Philly McMahon effort on goal came off the post and landed in the hands of Michael Daragh MacAuley who finished his opportunity to the net. The Dubs began to gain some momentum and started to reel in the rebels and their lead began to start slipping away. Dublin started adding up the scores and seemed utterly dominant for most of the second half. The boys in blue were awarded a penalty when Bernard Brogan was brought down inside the square. Diarmuid Connolly stepped up to take the penalty and converted it to put some real daylight between the teams. Dublin maintained their lead and advance to a league final date with Derry, having shown incredible hunger to produce a fifteen point turnaround in the second half.

Speaking after the game, Dublin manager Jim Gavin said, “For the full 70 minutes we were very inconsistent obviously, being that amount of points down. That’s something which we’re still searching for from the National League – you know we haven’t got that consistency of performance. We haven’t got it and you know with eight weeks to go to the championship, it won’t be good enough.

“But it’s pleasing to see that it’s still there and they can tap into it on a technical level and tactical level that lack of consistency is an area that we really need to work on. Just a lack of focus in some technical areas that is hurting us and when you play against a good side like Cork, they are always going to punish you. We will be coming up against another quality side in two weeks (Derry) and if we show that lack of consistency we are going to be punished.”

Cork manager Brian Cuthbert says his side will have to learn lessons from a harsh defeat.

“You could see when the game was in the melting pot, their class, experienced players stood up and were counted. At the same time, Dublin had the facility to bring on Bernard Brogan, Eoghan O’Gara. I don’t think any of the teams we’ve played so far in the league, if we were up 10 points, that would have happened.

“The Dublin players, once the momentum got going, you could see them moving up the gear. They know this place like the back of their hand, they know games like the back of their hand. This team has been on the go for the last four or five years. They’re in a very different place to us. But there’s nothing lost today other than a bit of pride in the way we played in the second half. There must be a conviction with us that if we get to play Dublin again, we must meet this head on. We can’t let what happened in the second half happen again.”

Image and quotes courtesy of GAA.ie

 

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