by CÓILÍN DUFFY
Dublin senior football manager Jim Gavin will have some more positive selection headaches to contend with next Spring, after many new Dubs put their hands up for places on the Allianz League squad, in this 26-point win over the TG4 Underdogs at Parnell Park on Friday night.
After a 10-year hiatus the TG4 show which aims to give those who haven’t played Senior inter-county Championship for their counties, a chance to train to a high level and play against the best, returned this season, with a plethora of Dubs involved.
And while traditionally it’s usually the Underdogs that are aiming to impress their county manager, with Dublin fielding not their strongest side under stand-in manager Paul Clarke, it was also a chance for some players to shine in their county colours for the first time.
Stephen Smith was certainly one of those which made his mark, with the 21-year old in outstanding form, and scoring two of Dublin’s goals on the night.
The Skerries Harps clubman, featured alongside the experienced Conor McHugh of Na Fianna, with the pair linking up extremely well, with other All-Ireland winners like Michael Fitzsimons, and Eoin Murchan involved in the starting line-up, as was Jonny Cooper who skippered the side.
Others to impress for Dublin, in a game which involved rolling substitutes included St. Vincent’s Cormac Diamond; Gerry Seaver of Ballyboughal, and Conor Halpin – all of whom scored goals for the hosts.
Smith was a colossus for Dublin, scoring goals, creating chances, and linking up well with players like the experienced McHugh in attack; as if he was one of those who had helped Dublin to their fourth Sam Maguire success in a row this September.
For the Underdogs, Galway’s Fintan Ó Cuanaigh put his body on the line time and time again, and was certainly their best player.
The squad managed by Paul Galvin, Ray Silke and Valerie Mulcahy included five players from the capital, with Scoil Uí Chonaill’s Adam Wilson; Ciarán Mac Fhearghusa of Na Gaeil Óga; Ballyboden’s Graham Heavey; O’Dwyer’s youngster Sam McCurdy and Round Towers Stephen Harford giving their all.