Monday, July 30, 2007

SFC Quarter Final Draw

Sligo v. Cork, Tyrone v. Meath, Dublin v. Derry, Kerry v. Monaghan.

Dublin v. Derry on Saturday 11 August in Croke Park, a repeat of the 2003 qualifier in Clones on a day when Geoffrey McGonigle threw his weight around untill Colin Moran was moved to fullback & stopped the rot.

The Irish Times reported on the 2003 meeting:

The exhalations of pure relief around Clones on Saturday may have re-inflated Dublin's championship balloon but should things pick up significantly videos of this game will be kept out of sight. Derry were considerably poorer than Dublin, which is how we got such a decisive result. They did, as is frequently the case, play well at centrefield, winning more ball and displaying more urgency, but everywhere else was a let down. The attack was feeble with the half forwards - all of whom were replaced - every bit as unproductive as pessimists in the county had feared. On the inside only Geoffrey McGonigle offered a constant threat and his three points were recognition of a very creditable display. Paddy Bradley had the beating of Paul Griffin in one-to-one situations in the corner but these situations arose only infrequently in the first half and hardly at all in the second. This sheer lack of scoring capacity fatally undermined Derry and helped Dublin through those phases when they themselves were lacking confidence and misfiring. For Dublin manager Tommy Lyons it was a satisfactory journey's end to the via dolorosa he has been walking for the past fortnight. As he said, the main focus was to be in the third round draw. When you've survived a major operation you don't agonise over crooked sutures. At the heart of this victory was the greatly improved showing of the forwards. This not alone yielded a winning total but also stretched Derry in the areas where they would be strongest. Former All Star Seán Lockhart, who always takes the opposition danger man, was paired with Alan Brogan and played him with the usual unfussy competence.
But returned veteran Des Farrell's undiminished ability to win his (and on occasions others') ball gave the attack a focus it had sorely lacked against Laois. He scored 1-1 and was instrumental in half of the team's total. In a slightly broader context, Farrell and his Na Fianna club-mates, Senan Connell and Jason Sherlock, shared the three goals between them and did all the significant damage, scoring 3-5. Only Ray Cosgrove of the other six forwards used managed to score. It's also worth highlighting another conspicuous success. Shane Ryan, who has laboured at centre forward over the past two seasons, was a liberated man at the weekend. His all-action style and constant running may have lacked the finesse required up front but he was up there with Farrell for any man-of-the-match gongs. Ryan's positional play was excellent and he frequently emerged with loose ball and shrewdly read the breaks off the full-back line during Derry's aerial campaign in the second half. Lyons afterwards questioned these early-ball tactics and said Paddy Christie would mop them up all day. Christie was indeed yet again excellent but the route-one style created more flutters in Dublin breasts than the pass-the-parcel attacks of the first half. Derry might as well have put up a neon sign: defence in possession, counter-attack under way, ball expected at your end in five minutes. One of the problems might have been that McGonigle, who had beaten Christie to their first contested high ball and scored a point, was moved to the corner, with Enda Muldoon coming in on the square. But Muldoon gets restless without the ball and lacked the predatory patience of McGonigle. Once Dublin survived the first 10 minutes they were in control. Derry's early attacks might have yielded more and in the sixth minute McGonigle and Martin Harney combined to create a goal scare but by the 10th minute, they trailed 0-1 to 0-3. Although the scoreboard was clicking in the right direction Dublin were strangely lethargic around the middle. Darren Homan was the team's best performer in the sector but too many players seemed to stand around and let Derry get onto loose ball unhindered. The bell began to toll for Derry in the 27th minute when Farrell seized on a defensive error, a ball spilled by Niall McCusker, sidestepped the cover and banged his shot past Michael Conlon for a 1-4 to 0-2 lead. Then just before half-time came a defining Shane Ryan moment. His block on Bradley saved a possible goal. Not content with that, he took the ball on a relieving solo and placed it exquisitely for Brogan, who deftly released Connell inside the cover. The forceful finish gave Conlon no chance. A little of the gloss was rubbed off this by the concession of two injury-time points but the half-time lead of 2-4 to 0-5 looked unshakeable.
Eight minutes into the second half came the opportunity to shake it. McGonigle was homing in on a critical goal chance but Stephen Cluxton pulled off a fine save. From the break Sherlock pointed at the other end: a four-point turnover in seconds. Sherlock in his half-hour on the field played as well as he ever has for Dublin in the championship. Available for ball and elusive in possession his 1-3 wasn't in any way flattering. The 57th-minute goal was started by replacement Coman Goggins but from the moment he found Connell it was a Mobhi Road production. Connell to Sherlock into Farrell, now on goal, who spotted Sherlock looping around and unselfishly passed for the recipient to hammer home the third goal. Derry did respond with a rare earthbound attack when an unmarked Anthony Tohill made ground and placed Bradley who rammed in the goal. But Dublin's moment of greatest anxiety came when the whole-hearted Homan sustained a nasty looking shoulder injury and had to be helped off.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Henry, P Christie, P Griffin; S Ryan, J Magee, C Moran; C Whelan (0-1), D Homan (0-1); S Connell (1-1), D Farrell (1-1), J McNally; A Brogan, R Cosgrove (0-2, 1f), T Mulligan. Subs: D Magee for Mulligan (half-time), J Sherlock (1-3) for McNally (42 mins), C Goggins for Henry (51 mins), T Quinn for Cosgrove (63 mins), B Cullen for Farrell (68 mins).

DERRY: M Conlon; K McGuckin, N McCusker, SM Lockhart; G Doherty, P McFlynn, D Crozier (0-1); A Tohill (0-1, f), F Doherty; M Harney, D Dougan, J McBride; P Bradley (1-2, 1f), G McGonigle (0-3), E Muldoon (0-1). Subs: P O'Kane (0-1) for G Doherty (35 mins), K McCloy for McCusker (half-time), 28 C Gilligan for Dougan (51 mins), 25 F Glackin for McBride (55 mins),J Gray for Harney (59 mins).

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