Local duo do for the Dubs

by Stephen Findlater
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LOCAL duo Cian O’Sullivan and Michael Darragh MacAuley produced a pair of storming performances in midfield for Dublin last Sunday in Croke Park to put their hats firmly in the ring for midfield berths when the championship comes around.
Both won a mountain of first-up possession from kick-outs in the 0-18 to 0-17 win over Tyrone in the Allianz National Football League final while their darting runs forward aided the overall effort that saw late scores from Dean Rock and Jack McCaffrey edge Jim Gavin’s side over the line.
It gave Dublin a sturdy base from which to build from and has opened up the options for the Leinster campaign against either Westmeath and Carlow on June 1.
MacAuley and O’Sullivan started in midfield for the past three games and four times in total during the spring league campaign.
But with a number of players to come back into the fold, there is still plenty of room for a shake-up in Gavin’s plans. Fingallians Paul Flynn is likely to play a more central role in the summer while O’Sullivan’s club mates at Kilmacud Crokes, Kevin Nolan and Rory O’Carroll, will also bolster the defensive options.
Dublin boss Jim Gavin said afterwards that achieving the county’s first league win since 1993 has served as a good preparation for the championship season.
“We had nine games in the campaign and some of them we closed out with time to spare so it was great championship preparation,” he said.
“No disrespect to the league, it has been very good to us and I think in general it’s been a very good league anyway, but in terms of preparation it is great to see how our players would react.
“There is a great character and a great energy within our squad. It is only when you go down the home straight like that do you see if they really want it.
“Against Tyrone they certainly did that, but Tyrone had a good few chances as well and some of them if they had gone over could have put a different result on the board.”
Gavin has refreshed the panel hugely with several new faces playing their first full season as central figures including another Kilmacud man Paul Mannion who kicked four points in the final to add to his semi-final tally of 1-4 and an equalising point that relegated Donegal.
Boden’s Declan O’Mahony has also played a more central role in the Dublin side, and Gavin paid tribute to the depth of his squad.
“Everybody had their part to play and it was a great team performance. The game ebbed and flowed so many times but our guys showed great heart and great resolve,” Gavin said.

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