Defeat for Roscommon at Croke Park

February 17th, 2024

Allianz Football League Division One

Dublin 1-19 Roscommon 1-12

By Paul Keane at Croke Park

Dublin’s best performance of the season so far secured their first win of the Allianz League campaign and amounted to a fitting tribute to the late Shane O’Hanlon.

Just days on from the sudden and unexpected passing of their long-time backroom team member, the All-Ireland title holders courageously summoned their best form following opening round defeats to Monaghan and Mayo.

Dublin GAA chairman Mick Seavers wrote in the match programme of how Dublin would be ‘united in remembering him, on and off the pitch’ and supporters at Croke Park duly paid their respects in the moments before throw-in.

When the action began, Con O’Callaghan emerged as Dublin’s lead man and, wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of James McCarthy, turned in a terrific display which yielded seven points.

Five of those scores were from play while the other came from a converted free that he won himself and an advanced mark.

Wearing number nine but playing close to goal at full-forward, he tormented full-back Brian Stack. Sean Bugler wasn’t far off him for the Man of the Match award.

Roscommon were still right in it at half-time, trailing by just a point, and had a goal shout in the 17th minute waved away by referee Sean Hurson who adjudged that the excellent Daire Cregg had hand-passed the ball directly to the net.

Davy Burke’s side couldn’t live with Dublin in the second-half though and Niall Scully’s 55th minute goal opened up a seven-point lead and all but killed off the midlanders who badly need a first win of the campaign next weekend at home to Monaghan. Dublin will return to Croke Park next Saturday to play Kerry in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final.

Dublin initially named an unchanged team from the side that lost by a point to Mayo in Castlebar in Round 2 though John Small, Eoin Murchan and Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne were late additions.

Greg McEneaney, Jack McCaffrey and Colm Basquel made way while Brian Howard, making his seasonal return, Liam Smith and Cian O’Connor were added to the list of substitutes.

James Fitzpatrick, fresh off a strong Sigerson Cup run with Maynooth University, came into the published Roscommon lineup for Cian Connolly.

In all, it amounted to five changes to the Roscommon team from the lineout against Galway in Round 2.

Defender Stack, Conor Hussey, Evan Flynn, Shane Cunnane and Fitzpatrick replaced Niall Daly, Robbie Dolan, Donie Smith, Ben O’Carroll and Connolly.

A number of matchups immediately caught the eye; O’Callaghan and Roscommon full-back Stack, Enda Smith and O Cofaigh Byrne at midfield and the Cregg-Murchan battle in front of Hill 16.

Cregg had a stormer midweek in the Sigerson Cup final for UCD, scoring nine points in the defeat to Ulster University, and hit the ground running here.

He plagued Dublin’s defence, scoring two first-half points and going so close to grabbing a 17th minute goal. Murtagh set him free with a hand-pass over the top, allowing Cregg to get in behind MacMahon along the right endline. Cregg’s hand-pass for a point appeared to glance off MacMahon’s outstretched fingertips before looping into the net though referee Sean Hurson gave a free out for a hand-passed goal.

Dublin edged the first quarter by 0-5 to 0-3 with O’Callaghan causing real bother for Stack and pinching two points. The Cuala man then won a free that goalkeeper David O’Hanlon converted and with 20 minutes on the clock Dublin held a double scorers 0-6 to 0-3 lead.

Roscommon were better in the second quarter and Smith twice shook off O Cofaigh Byrne for points while Cregg and Murtagh sniped a couple too.

Dublin, who struck seven first-half wides, led marginally at the interval, 0-8 to 0-7, thanks to the excellent Brian Fenton’s long-range stoppage time score but it remained anyone’s game.

Dublin had lost a bloodied Cormac Costello by that stage after being on the receiving end of a flailing arm to the face from colleague Lee Gannon.

Sean Lowry replaced Costello though was himself replaced in the third quarter by Lorcan O’Dell whose first act was to play in Ross McGarry for a 51st minute score.

Dublin were already pulling away from Roscommon at that stage following points from O’Callaghan and Bugler and the Scully goal left seven points between them, 1-13 to 0-9.

Bugler did well in the buildup to the goal, playing a neat one-two before laying off to Fenton who fed Scully for a routine close range finish.

O’Callaghan added three more points in the closing 20 minutes or so, one from a free that he won himself and another from an advanced mark as he displayed his full range of skills.

Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 0-7 (1m, 1f), Niall Scully 1-0, Ross McGarry 0-3, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-2, Brian Fenton 0-2, Lee Gannon 0-1, John Small 0-1, David O’Hanlon 0-1 (f), Sean Bugler 0-1, Lorcan O’Dell 0-1.

Scorers for Roscommon: Enda Smith 1-2, Daire Cregg 0-4 (1m, 1f), Diarmuid Murtagh 0-3, Conor Cox 0-1, James Fitzpatrick 0-1, Ruaidhri Fallon 0-1.

Dublin: David O’Hanlon; Theo Clancy, Eoin Murchan, Sean MacMahon; Lee Gannon, John Small, Cian Murphy; Brian Fenton, Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne; Ross McGarry, Sean Bugler, Ciaran Kilkenny; Cormac Costello, Con O’Callaghan, Paddy Small.

Subs: Sean Lowry for Costello (8-f/t, blood), Niall Scully for Costello 47, Lorcan O’Dell for Paddy Small 50, Greg McEneaney for John Small 55, Brian Howard for O Cofaigh Byrne 62, Killian McGinnis for McGarry 71.

Roscommon: Conor Carroll; David Murray, Brian Stack, Niall Higgins; Conor Hussey, Evan Flynn, Eoin McCormack; Shane Cunnane, Ruaidhri Fallon; Daire Cregg, Dylan Ruane, Enda Smith; James Fitzpatrick, Diarmuid Murtagh, Ciaran Lennon.

Subs: Cathal Heneghan for Fitzpatrick 50, Robbie Dolan for Hussey 50, Conor Cox for Lennon 55, Adam McDermott for Ruane 62, Luke Glennon for Higgins 67.

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).

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