Mayo's James Carr is tackled by Colin Walsh of Roscommon during the league game at Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday. [Inpho/Evan Treacy]

Derry defeat ailing Dublin with comeback 2nd-half performance

Derry 1-11; Dublin 0-13

 They say you find out things about your team in the league and if that is the case Dublin manager Dessie Farrell must be wearing a long face this week.

Unlike the five- and six-in-a-row Dub teams, this group isn't able for pressure and wilted visibly in the second half when Derry came at them as if their lives depended on ,making up for a poor first-half performance at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

This was a top of the table Division 2 clash between reigning provincial winners but it is Derry who are the team on the upward trajectory while Dublin are becoming more ordinary with every passing game.

Yes, Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion will be a step up on the replacements that are there but some of the older members like Dean Rock and James McCarthy are showing their years with both being replaced while the game was still in the melting pot. And other guys of the old guard with the honorable exception of midfielder Brian Fenton are only pale shadows of their former selves.

Dessie Farrell seems unable to lift this current crop at his disposal - certainly he doesn't appear to have the knack that his opposite Rory Gallagher provided in the Oak Leaf dressing-room at the interval.

Make no mistake about it, the home side were dreadful in the first half but they more than made up for it on the resumption by playing with passion and pride which drove them to new heights.  

We shouldn't be surprised at Dublin — after all Clare had them up a stick for much of their meeting the previous weekend in Croke Park before capitulating in the run in, largely because the Banner boys didn't believe they had a right to take such a scalp.

Derry on the other hand are annihilating teams with a hunger and desire that makes you feel last year's Ulster title was just the start, rather than the end of something special. It didn't start out that way as Dublin looked more assured in possession and were 0-6 to 0-2 ahead at half-time. They were measured and held the ball well in this period but they were not ripping through as they would have done four or five years ago.

It left the door ajar for the Derry boys to come out and give the 12,000 fans something to cheer about - which is exactly what happened.

And then when they had tied the scores going down to the wire, you wondered would elements of the old Dublin side emerge and steal the game at the death? They had their chances but not the conviction so instead it was Brendan Rogers who took the bull by the horns and ran through a tiring defence to land the dramatic winner 75mins into the game.

Seconds earlier veteran defender Mick Fitzsimons had got a red as a result of picking up a second yellow but that wasn't the reason they visitors lost. It goes much deeper than that.

Derry now are almost certain to get promotion, needing only a point from their last two games while you would expect Dublin to go up with them, though Cork are coming with a late run to claim a promotion spot.

Derry's level of performance in the two halves were as chalk and cheese - only Paul Cassidy and a Shane McGuigan free saw any scoreboard returns in the first 35 mins.

After such a lackluster display, Gallagher's masterstroke was to introduce Gareth McKinless for Padraig Cassidy and immediately they were a team transformed in terms of intensity and desire to hunt down every ball.

Dublin didn't stop playing but they failed to match the increase in rhythm which Derry brought to their play thanks to McKinless's power and fighting qualities.

He picked up a pass from Rogers to make serious inroads into the Dublin defence and while  Niall Loughlin was unable to translate his pass into a score,  the breaking ball fell to Niall Toner who crashed home a goal to reduce the deficit to two points - 0-9 to 1-4.

Goals can win games sometimes but they are more transformational in how they change teams' attitudes. Dublin were now looking over their shoulder while the Oak Leaf boys had the  upperhand both physically and psychologically. You could feel the difference and as Conor Doherty and Paul Cassidy drew the sides level, the crowd's expectation rose and rose.

Ciaran Kilkenny's well worked fisted point  couldn't dampen the enthusiasm. Sub Oisin McWilliams slotted over an equaliser which Dub sub Colm basquel negatived immediately and for a moment, it looked like that might be enough.

No one told Derry however and two McGuigan frees and a Lachlan Murray point for the ages nudged them ahead. Now it was Dublin's turn to stand up and in fairness to Cormac Costello he did that with a free.

Anyone settle for a draw? Dublin appeared to do so but Rogers, a full-back turned midfielder, showed us his scoring prowess by kicking an assured point to claim the day.

Derry: O Lynch; C McKaigue, E McEvoy, C McCluskey; C Doherty (0-1), P McGrogan, P Cassidy; C Glass, B Rogers (0-1); N Toner (1-0), P Cassidy (0-2), E Doherty (0-1); B Heron, S McGuigan (0-3f), N Loughlin (0-1) Subs: G McKinless for E Doherty (blood sub), 35-HTmins; G McKinless for P Cassidy, HT; O McWilliams (0-1) for B Heron, 50mins; L Murray (0-1)for N Toner, 58mins; S Downey for E McEvoy, 65mins; N Toner (1-0) for N Loughlin, 73mins;

Dublin: D O'Hanlon; D Newcombe, M Fitzsimons, L Gannon (0-2); J McCarthy, J Small (0-1), D Byrne; B Fenton (0-2), T Lahiff (0-1); C Kilkenny (0-2), E Murchan, L O'Dell; C Costello (0-3, 0-1f), D Rock, C O'Gallaghan (0-1) Subs: N Scully for L O'Dell, 43mins; C Basquel (0-1) for T Lahiff, 54mins; S Lowry for D Rock, 57mins; Be Howard for J McCarthy, 64mins;

Ref: S Hurson (Tyrone).

Tyrone 1-15; Kerry 2-9

This game at Healy Park answered questions being asked about Tyrone's character as a group and left us wondering 'whither Kerry' for the rest of '23. They are now unable to retain their national league title but Sunday's display threw up two possible reasons. The Kingdom are  either taking a rest this league campaign to prepare for championship or they have lost the savage hunger which drove them on and may have been sated with the arrival of Sam back in Kerry last year after several abortive attempts to bring him home.

This was their third away loss but this particular reverse came even after they had a tonic start of leading by 1-3 to 0-1 so you would worry that they are unable to hold their own in a battle. Indeed early goals in either half should have been the fuel to rocket the visitors to a clear win; instead it was Tyrone who used pride as fuel to drag themselves back into the game before kicking on to win by three points.

When Sean O'Shea came out firing on all cylinders and scoring 1-1 in the first quarter an hour, it seemed like the other big names would take their cue from him and kick back into last year's winning combinations. They were going well until their goalkeeper Shane Ryan scored as bizarre an own goal as I've ever seen to give Tyrone a leg up back into the game.

With Mattie Donnelly giving a virtuoso performance from full-forward to orchestrate most Tyrone attacks, it meant they sides were level on 1-7 apiece at the break.

The second half unfurled a little like the first when sub  Donal O’Sullivan opened the door for Paul Murphy to slot home a fine goal after 10 minutes. It was a second kick in the solar plexus for the hosts who refused to bow the knee and shot four  points without reply to get back in the game.

Now playing like the team that won the All Ireland two years ago, Tyrone were bolstered by Darragh Canavan's trickery which saw them lead by two going into the final quarter.

Their defense was the mean last line of old, blocking out everything bar day light for that final stanza when Kerry could only muster a solitary point for all their efforts. It was unusual to see David Clifford look so ordinary as both himself and O'Shea were forced to mis-hit shots because of the pressure. Indeed the footballer of the year Clifford only managed one point from play over the duration of the game while  Ruairi Canavan had the last word when he entered the fray to kick two free from long range and shut out a possible comeback.

Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan, P Hampsey, C Quinn (0-1); C Meyler, C Munroe, P Harte (0-1); B Kennedy, C Kilpatrick (0-1); F Burns, D Mulgrew (0-1), J Oguz (0-1); D McCurry (0-3f), M Donnelly (0-3), D Canavan (0-2) Subs: N Sludden for Mulgrew (40), N Devlin for Munroe (52), R Canavan (0-2f) for McCurry (68), R Donnelly for Kennedy (73)

Kerry: S Ryan (1-0, o.g.); G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O’Sullivan (0-1); T Brosnan (0-2, 0-1m), T Morley, P Murphy (1-0); J Barry, S Okunbar; D Moynihan, S O’Shea (1-2, 0-1f), P Warren; P Clifford, D Clifford (0-3, 0-2f), D Roche Subs: D O’Sullivan (0-1) for Roche (h-t), R Murphy for Brosnan (45), M Burns for P Clifford (54), G Horan for Okunbar (58)

Ref: M McNally (Monaghan).


 Mayo 1-16; Roscommon 2-11

There were plots and subplots aplenty in Hyde Park on Sunday and it will be the end of next month when both meet again in the championship before we know the full extent of Sunday's win by Mayo over their neighbors and rivals.

One thing we found out again is that Mayo never do things the easy way if there is another way of making their fans worry about the outcome until the very end.

Here they were with 15 minutes to go seven points to the good and cruising. It seemed easier for them to kick on than to allow Roscommon back into the game - which is precisely what they did.

As a matter of fact goals by  Enda Smith and later by another sub Conor Cox had the game balancing on a two-point lead when  Conor Lennon burst through in the dying second for a shot that had goal written all over it. However a magnificent block by a defender saw the ball fall to a Mayo jersey and immediately the referee blew time on what could have been a Lazarian-like comeback by the Rossies.

But that's Mayo  for you. In the time that Roscommon scored two out of their three goal chances, the winners had the chance to kill the game — when sub Ryan O'Donoghue ran through to put a goal on the plate for Tommy Conroy who instead of fisting home, actually hit the crossbar with his effort.

The goal would have given Mayo a five point lead again and by failing to kill off their opponents, Mayo lived dangerously to the very end.

Despite those heart tremors for the green and red fans, Kevin McStay's side are now top of DIv 1 and looking good to go all the way.

And it must be said that in parts, they looked world beaters on Sunday. Only they allowed poor decision making and poor passing to blot their copy book.

Two other things remain to be remedied if they are to make a serious assault on Sam - they must take the chances such as Controy spurned and they must also do something about high balls into their own parallelogram. From such a route, Cox picked up the spilt ball to lash home while it was good luck rather than good management which saw Lennon's shot blocked at the death.

They will now almost certainly reach the league showdown a week before meeting roscommon next month in the Connacht championship.

Mayo: R Byrne (0-1 ’45); J Coyne, D McBrien, P Durcan; S Coen, C Loftus, S Callinan; M Ruane (0-1), D O’Connor; F McDonagh (0-1), J Carney (1-1), J Flynn; C O’Connor (0-7, 0-6f), J Carr (0-3), T Conroy (0-1) Subs: B Tuohy (0-1) for McDonagh (48), A O’Shea for Flynn (54), R O’Donoghue for C O’Connor (61), C McStay for Carr (67), J Doherty for Conroy (67).

Roscommon: C Lavin; C Hussey, C Daly (0-1), D Murray; C Walsh, B Stack, N Daly; T O’Rourke (0-1), K Doyle; R Hughes, C Lennon, E Smith (1-1); B O’Carroll, D Murtagh (0-4, 0-3f), R Dolan Subs: C Murtagh (0-2, 0-1f) for Dolan (23), D Cregg (0-1) for Lennon (h-t), N Kilroy for Doyle (49), D Smith  for C Daly (52), C Cox (1-1, 0-1f) for D Murtagh (61).

Ref: B Cawley (Kildare).


Div 1

Galway 1-3; Monaghan 0-10

Mayo 1-16; Roscommon 2-11

Tyrone 1-15; Kerry 2-9

Armagh 0-13; Donegal 0-10

Div 2

Cork 3-10;  Clare 2-8

Limerick 0-17; Meath 2-11

Louth 2-11; Kildare 0-12

Derry 1-11; Dublin 0-13

Div 3

Cavan 2-14; Down 1-10

Westmeath 4-27; Antrim 0-8

Offaly 2-14; Longford 1-16

Fermanagh 2-11; Tipperary 0-8

Div 4

Sligo 1-20; Wexford 3-8

Carlow 0-13; London 0-9

Wicklow 0-15; Leitrim 1-9

Laois 2-13; Waterford 1-5