Allianz football league: Dublin outshines Derry for first victory of season


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Dublin claimed their first win against Mickey Harte’s Derry team in a tightly contested encounter at Celtic Park. The All-Ireland champions secured a 1-16 to 1-11 victory over the reigning Ulster champions in a highly anticipated Division One clash.

They are a good side, that’s why they’re All-Ireland champions and that’s why you learn from the best sides of the country so I hope we learned something.

Mickey Harte, Manager of Derry county team

Both teams entered the encounter with impressive records, boasting unblemished starts to their respective Division One campaigns. However, it was Dublin who started stronger, dictating the flow of the game from the opening whistle.

Dublin Dominates First Half

Dublin dominated the first half, showcasing their attacking prowess with a well-organized display of intricate handpassing and clinical finishing. This tactical mastery translated to a comfortable five-point lead at halftime (0-9 to 1-4), with Derry’s only goal coming from a well-taken strike by Conor McCloskey.

The second half began brightly for Dublin, with Cormac Costello scoring a crucial goal just two minutes in, extending their lead to eight points (1-10 to 1-4). This early goal further solidified Dublin’s control of the game, forcing Derry to adopt a more attacking approach in search of an unlikely comeback.

Despite their best efforts, Derry couldn’t bridge the gap. He was constantly kept at bay by a committed and well-organized Dublin defence, marshalled by the ever-reliable David O’Hanlon, who consistently found his targets with his accurate kick-outs.

Key Players Shine for Dublin

Several players stood out for Dublin in the hard-fought victory. Brian Fenton, the reigning Footballer of the Year, controlled the midfield with his usual authority, showing control of the game and providing a platform for Dublin’s attacking forays. Ciaran Kilkenny, another key member of the Dublin squad, impressed with his scoring prowess, contributing 0-4 points throughout the game.

Defensively, David O’Hanlon excelled with his accurate kick-outs and composed distribution, providing a solid foundation for the team and launching numerous attacks from deep.

If Shane McGuigan’s goal had gone in, it might have changed the complexion of the game but Dublin were always, I suppose, very difficult to break down and dangerous on the break

Mickey Harte, Manager of Derry county team

Derry Makes Changes, But Falls Short

Following this game, Derry made seven changes to their starting lineup for their next match against Galway, with key player Conor Glass being one of those omitted. This shake-up in personnel aimed to address their shortcomings against Dublin and inject fresh energy into the team.

Despite the changes, the return match against Dublin remained an exciting encounter. Dublin continued to showcase their signature attacking style, using intricate handpasses and high-pressing tactics to put Derry under pressure. This aggressive approach forced Derry into making risky decisions when dealing with O’Hanlon’s long kick-outs, disrupting their rhythm and limiting their attacking opportunities.

Ethan Doherty came close to equalizing for Derry when he intercepted a Dublin pass in the second half, but goalkeeper Evan Comerford well saved his shot. This missed opportunity proved pivotal as Dublin capitalized on Derry’s frustration, adding further points through Kilkenny, O’Callaghan, and Murphy to solidify their lead.

Derry’s attack, lacking support for their lone forward Shane McGuigan, struggled to penetrate the stubborn Dublin defence. While McGuigan had his chances, he couldn’t convert them all into scores, leaving Derry frustrated and unable to mount a sustained challenge.

Substitutes Contribute for Both Sides

The game also saw valuable contributions from substitutes. Paul Cassidy provided much-needed energy and creativity off the bench for Derry, showcasing his attacking prowess and causing problems for the Dublin defence in the later stages of the game. Dublin’s substitutes also played their part in securing the victory, with players like Ross McGarry and Sean Bugler adding valuable points and maintaining the team’s momentum throughout the second half.

This victory solidifies Dublin’s position at the top of the Division One table. It will undoubtedly provide them with valuable momentum as they continue their quest to retain the All-Ireland title.

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