Dubs’ resolve crucial

by Dave O'Connor
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RESOLVE was the name of the game as the Dublin senior footballers made it two wins from two in the Allianz national football league after a hard-fought victory in Castlebar last Saturday.
The All-Ireland champions were forced to show their worth on a miserable night in Mayo but proved it with a 0-9 to 0-7 win in front of a spirited crowd of 10,520.
A low-scoring game, Dublin led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break thanks to scores from Dean Rock, Diarmuid Connolly and Denis Bastick. Diarmuid O’Connor, Mayo’s best performer by far on the night, made it level once more on 43 minutes before the Dubs clicked into another gear and took all the momentum.
A Rock free, followed by an excellent score from Ballymun Kickham’s James McCarthy off his weaker left-foot, and Rock again put Jim Gavin’s side 0-7 to 0-4 ahead.
The win was, perhaps, more impressive as Dublin lost Philly McMahon and Jonny Cooper to black cards as well as John Small being dismissed in the second half.
Evan Regan closed the gap for Mayo before the lively Cormac Costello entered the fray and bagged Dublin’s penultimate score. The host’s keeper Rob Hennelly stuck a 45 between the posts to give his side hope but a late point from Lucan’s Emmet O’Conghaile gave Dublin the breathing space which resulted in victory.
Speaking afterwards, Allianz man of the match McCarthy described how ugly it was on the playing front.
“It was really tough conditions out there,” he said. “We always know what we’re going to get when we come up to Castlebar. There’s nothing between us and Mayo at all, they’re always hard-fought wins. We’re just delighted to get out of here with the win tonight.
“It was tough, very slippy underfoot, a gale-force wind in the second half with rain as well so it’s the toughest conditions you can play in. But, look, we grinded it out.”
“We got those two or three scores at the start of the second half that gave us a little bit of a cushion to hold onto.
“We showed good control and mental resolve in the second half and we battled it out,” concluded the Kickhams man.
Dublin manager Jim Gavin also used that word resolve in his post-match briefing. “To come down to Castlebar, against a Mayo team that would have been disappointed with their performance against Cork but showed good heart, we’re happy to come away with two points,” he said.
“It was a very physical contest, and the conditions made it difficult, but I thought both sets of players did their best.
“The Dublin boys showed great spirit and resolve. Picking up two black cards and a sending off made our task more challenging but I thought the guys who came in did really well. They showed great composure on the ball and saw the game through.”

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