Sunday, February 01, 2009

NFL - Dublin 1-16 Tyrone 1-18

They promised us fireworks and indeed the light show after the game was a sight to behold & a night to be proud of our association. However in the 70 minutes before we had as entertaining an NFL game as has been played for many years.  Flowing football, a genius (Stephen O'Neill) at play, a battling Dublin performance, a midfield display from Ciaran Whelan up there with his best, and a tense finish. Value for money and some.

Tyrone started strongest as the new Dublin full back line was given a torrid time by arguably one of the greatest full forward lines in any team in recent years.  In this period O'Neill & Cavanagh were sublime.  Colm McCullagh must have thought he kicked the score of the game when he pointed from a narrow angle from in front of the Cusack but O'Neill wasn't to be bettered on the night as he manufactured a score from an impossible angle nearly on the end line.  Conal Keaney had kicked some earlier scores and even though Tyrone opened up a 5 point 1st half lead a determined Henno and colleagues battled away and left the field only 4 points down at the whistle.

The bookies were offering 8-1 against a Dublin success at half time but Giller got the lads going and a fantastic 2nd half ensued.  Ger Brennan & Jayo pointed and when Bernard Brogan goaled following a mistake at the back the Dubs were ahead.  Tyrone fought ack again and when O'Neill retrieved a ball from tight in front of the Hill, he picked out Mugser with a great pass and the White Haired one goaled to put Harte's men back on top again.  The one sour point of the night came as Mulligan goaded the Hill with an arrogant unnecessary swagger and some idiots responded throwing programmes & coins. An unnecessary action on behalf of player & so called fans.  Dublin would have another goal chance when John Devine saved brilliantly from a Brogan shot and Paul Flynn saw his resultant attempt go high and over.

Dublin were still not beaten & when Keaney kicked a very long point from in front of the Hogan even the same Mulligan was seen to stand an applaud.  Bernard Brogan kicked another great point and with a minute left the Dubs were ahead by one.  Then in a controversial moment the ref blew up Conal Keaney for what was never a fould, Tyrone moved the ball up the field and Sean Cavanagh kicked the sides level.  Certainly a 2 point turnaround.  Cavanagh & O'Neill pointed 2 more times and when the final whistle went the Dubs had gone down by 2 points 1-18 to 1-16. 

It was very harsh on the Dubs for their spirited efforts against the All-Ireland champions.  But it will give Pat Gilroy some food for thought.  Hubbard, Bastic & Andrews did well against their inspirational opponents, Ger Brennan grew as the game progressed, Conal Keaney & Bernard Brogan kicked some great scores, but it was Ciaran Whelan who must be Dublin's man of the match.

79,161 were present, biggest crwd at a football game anywhere this weekend  & one can be sure they got far better value than the 74,500 will get Superbowl XLIII.

A great game to start off the league.  Roll on the next few weeks.

Dublin - Stephen Cluxton (Parnells), Paddy Andrews (St. Brigids), Denis Bastic (Templeogue Synge Street), Alan Hubbard (Balymun Kickhams), Bryan Cullen (Skerries Harps), Ger Brennan (St. Vincents) (0-01), Barry Cahill (St. Vincents), Ross McConnell (St. Oliver Plunketts/ER) (Shane Ryan (Naomh Mearnog) (20) (Paul Flynn (Fingallians) (45) (0-01)), Ciaran Whelan (Raheny) (0-01), Tiernan Diamond (S. Vincents) (Kevin Bonner (St. Brigids) (50)), David Henry (Capt.) (Raheny) (0-01), James Brogan (St. Oliver Plunketts/ER) (Brendan McManamon (65)), Conal Keaney (Ballyboden St. Endas) (0-05), Jason Sherlock (St. Oliver Plunketts/ER) (0-02), Bernard Brogan (St. Oliver Plunketts/ER) (1-05). Subs not used: Michael Savage (St. Vincents), Derek Murray (Round Towers Clondalkin), Stephen O'Shaughnessy (Lucan Sarsfields), Paul Casey (Lucan Sarsfields), Shay Walsh (St. Marys)

Tyrone - John Devine, Michael McGee (PJ Quinn (55)), Justin McMahon, Martin Swift, David Harte, Ryan McMenamin, Philip Jordan, Enda McGinley, Aidan Cassidy (Kevin Hughes (60)), Thomas McGuigan (0-01) (Colm Cavanagh (65) (Colin Holmes (68)), Colm McCullagh (0-03) (Martin Penrose (65)), Joe McMahon (0-01), Stephen O’Neill (0-08), Sean Cavanagh (0-04), Owen Mulligan (1-01). 

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