By Mike Fitzpatrick
Dublin remain rooted to the bottom of the Junior Football A Division table following this loss to fellow strugglers Down Sunday at Gaelic Park. Missing forward stars Ian Mullett and Padraig Broderick was never going to make things easier for the Dubs, and their firepower was sorely missed as chance after chance went begging in front of the Down goal.
Dublin’s hopes of a playoff spot have now disintegrated, and Down’s, though slim, aren’t quite out yet, but it’ll take the winning of their remaining games coupled with other sides slipping up. Which in fairness to the Down lads, does not appear likely.
Dublin have only themselves to blame for this defeat. Missing five
consecutive first-half efforts, all sailing wide, proved to be but one of
their downfalls. Their other shortcoming involved a little bad luck, and a lot of goalkeeping talent from Down keeper Paul O’Hare. O’Hare was in outstanding form throughout the tie. Not at fault for Shane Nugent’s opportunist goal, the Down goalie proved inspirational during the 60 minutes. Not only did he prevent Alan Carey and Nugent from adding further goals, but he had the sheer audacity to save not one, but two penalty kicks from the Dublin attack.
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Leading by a 5 points at halftime, Down looked to be coasting toward a much-needed victory when Nugent combined with Michael Crowley with Crowley scoring Dublin’s second goal to bring a little more respectability to the scoreline. Down hit back, however. Marty McGivern, the Ulster side’s corner back, refused to let the Dublin attack past him and proved to be one of the most outstanding players on the pitch. Whether intercepting forward passes from Dublin’s players or crunching in to move forward himself and set up his own attacking maneuvers, McGivern, along with O’Hare, was one of the
main reasons why Down won.
Dublin play Rockland next week at Gaelic Park in a tie which is equally important for both sides. Rockland are still very much in playoff contention, whereas Dublin, anchoring the division, must hope that they can pull something from the tie and wish for Down to lose their remaining ties.
Dublin: Paddy Murphy, Dermot Rice, Brian Gogan, Mickey Cusack, Niall Rice (0-1), Robbie Henry, Damian Powderly, Michael Crowley (1-1), Eamonn Cullen, Fergal McIlvaney, Alan Carey (0-2), Mick Costello, Shane Nugent (1-0), Mark Tyrrell. Sub: Naoise Boyle.
Down: Paul O’Hare, John Morgan, Ronan Kearney, Kieran Sheppherd, Marty McGivern, Liam Murray, Peter Devlin, James Moran, Collie Mathers (0-1), Marty Middleton (1-2), Adrian Brown (0-2), Jake Rooney, Plunkett Tuohy (0-3), Conor McArdle (0-3), James McDonald (1-1.) Sub: Chris McManus.