Dublin survive Donegal suffocation to seal final slot

We’re out of town for a final few days in the country before the kids go back to school this coming Thursday and today’s result at Croke Park means that when school reopens, there’ll be plenty of talk about Dublin’s qualification, after a sixteen-year absence, for next month’s All-Ireland final. And that’s before we even get to Vinnies next Saturday morning.

We’re in for a fun three weeks in the capital and although I’m sure the Dubs will have their own #nohypeplease campaign, it’ll be hard enough to keep a lid on the excitement as the days count down to the final. The fact that it’s Kerry they’re facing will soften their cough a bit but the sheer novelty of being back in the decider after such a long absence will exert its own momentum. As will the Evening Herald, I’m sure.

I saw most of today’s semi-final on the box and, in one sense, the less said about it, the better. As a seismic event in Gaelic football, it was right up (or, if you prefer, down) there with Tyrone’s infamous mugging of Kerry in the 2003 All-Ireland semi-final but although the losers in that one also could only manage six points, the difference today was that it was the team attempting to do the mugging that ended up getting clocked themselves.

I wasn’t overly surprised by Donegal’s anti-football tactics today – they’ve been playing like this all summer and it was obvious that they would try to suffocate the Dubs in the same way that they managed to do so to Kildare for long stretches of that awful quarter-final a few weeks back. What did surprise me, though, was how poorly Dublin dealt with Donegal’s tactics and how slow they were to alter their approach to deal with the ultra-defensive challenge they were facing.

Donegal obviously lost the game in the third quarter. Three points up and virtually owning the ball for the best part of ten minutes, another point or two then might have made the mountain too difficult to climb for Pat Gilroy’s men but instead the Herrin Gutters failed to press home their advantage and when the Dubs got back on level terms there was only going to be one winner. The only surprise at the end was that Dublin didn’t win by more.

Donegal’s use of the Tyrone playbook also extended to plenty of playacting and Manus Boyle’s theatrical dive after exchanging a few timid blows with Diarmuid Connolly was an utter disgrace. Sure, Connolly should never have got involved and when Boyle hit the deck the red card was understandable (though to my mind unjustified) but it’ll be hard on the Vinnies man to miss the final over such an incident. I’d say we could see strenuous efforts by Dublin to get their man cleared on appeal.

How the final will go is one for another day but Donegal’s tactics and what such an approach could mean for the future of football is sure to provoke furious debate over the coming days. I’m not sure that there’s too much call for any serious outbreak of outrage – after all, puke football has been with us now for the best part of a decade and while Tyrone’s approach to the game from 2003 onwards has often been cynical and negative, they’ve also had within their ranks a group of seriously talented footballers and it was their devastating attack, not just their swarm defence, that ultimately won them their three All-Irelands.

On today’s evidence, although Donegal seemed to get the bit about defending (holding Dublin scoreless from play for a full hour proves this), they didn’t or couldn’t do the attacking bit sufficiently well, despite having a player of Michael Murphy’s calibre in their ranks. Without this in their kitbag they were never going to reach the All-Ireland, still less win it and, as a result, I’m not sure we need to worry all that much about the prospect of seeing a load of Donegal clones in next year’s championship.

20 thoughts on “Dublin survive Donegal suffocation to seal final slot

  1. Thank goodness Donegal did not win this (and subsequently Sam), or Gaelic football would be set back a hundred years!

    Not impressed with the Dubs, although Kerry will allow them many more chances. Whether they take them remains to be seen.

  2. Donegal were negative, no doubt about that. However 67% of Donegals scores came from play compared to Dublins 25%. Dublin did not score from play till the 59th minute and that from a sub, the other from a converted half-back from about 12 yards. Now tell me this, if that was the Connacht final played yesterday with the same outcome between Mayo & Ros would be lambasted or what? Second class citizens we are. The sending off was harsh, thought the free in should have been mantained and both lads got yellow, the Donegal sub was a particular ass in this case and should be ashamed of himself.

  3. The changing face of football for sure. Dublin scored a total of eight points, most from frees over 70 mins plus. Man United scored eight goals in a soccer match v Arsenal (depleted or not)

    Have no doubt that most contenders next season will ape Donegal to a great degree because it guarantees a solid run. Had Donegal released one of the best players in the country in Michael Murphy forward for the last 15 mins , then they would have won.

    Expect more defence tactics, maybe not to the same extreme. However many managers will note that Donegal should have won and with a little tweeking they would have. More of the same next year I am certain…unless the gurus who nearly shagged up the league do something about the hand passing, 200 plus for Donegal.

  4. Donegal would have been beaten by kerry and mayo as well in my opinion , anyone aping them next year will have limited success , the other ulster teams will figure them out before they even make it out of there

  5. Can you imagine how much worse that match would have been if it had been played on a surface like Hyde Park in the conditions we had for the Connaught Final? There might not have been a score at all!
    You have to give Dublin some credit for digging out the win, but on that showing, Kerry will distroy them in the final.

  6. Just like Hurricane Irene , I am about to bunker down for the onslaught that is about to come our way about the great rivalry that is Dublin/Kerry.

    The Bomber will be wheeled out and so too will Gay O Driscoll and Jimmy Keaveny. I dread buying a paper or listening to pasty faced Des . So bored, I decided to have a quick look at this great “rivalry”. Now I may not be 100% correct but I would be pretty close.

    Since 1950 to present Kerry has played Dublin 15 times in championship football. The record is 13 Kerry wins with 2 for de Dubs. The margin loss in the 1978 final was 17 points and likewise in 2009 when they last met.

    Galway has met the Kerry men 10 times in the same period, beating them 3 times. Mayo are next up with 9 meetings and 2 wins (same as Dublin). Meath has played them 5 times , 1 win. Offally also five but with 2 wins.

    Now for the grisly part if you are a Kerry man. Down has played them 5 times and never lost to them. Tyrone has played them 4 times with a 3 to 1 ratio in their favour.

    Not sure what I am trying to prove or say but the logical rivalry with the Kingdom lies between Down and Tyrone. Galway and Mayo have as good a championship record v them as the Dubs and neither has shipped a 17 point deficit twice. But hey, who am I but a bitter old Mayo man!!

  7. In fairness to the dubs they showed mettle yesterday. I thought they were gone but they did gaelic football a great service by beating donegal yesterday. the only way the authorities can stop this is by restricting the handpass( and get rid of the pick up rule while they’re at it).

  8. The whole nostalgia thing with Kerry/Dublin, drives me round the bend. It is a nonsense for a start, i’m convinced Kerry people must laugh behind everyones back, i mean the last time Dublin beat Kerry was in 1977 i think, they have beaten them once in a final from this so called golden era, whose golden era i ask because all as the records tell me is Kerrys golden era, as far as Dublin/Kerry finals go.

    I honestly believe it’s done in a patronising level from a Kerry perspective. The Dubs love it because it’s all they have, they love the camaraderie because it gives them this link to greatness even if it is fake. The old stories from paudis jocks to the boys at the dog track and then the money spinners from charatible events ever since, it all makes me puke. The tv screens from now to the final will be full of it from Jimmy Keavenys pot belly to paudis stories of Charlie haughie in his house, it’s like the Irish Iluminnati. lol. It really does drive me mental, i need to go home for a few weeks i think.

  9. Lol. Those are interesting stats ontheroad. You should send them on in letter format to all the national papers to remind them of their place and record against the Kingdom. It would csrtainly dampen the hype. Mind you as I’m not living int he capital I won’t feel the hype as badly.

    Having said that this is Dublins first All Ireland in 16 years and after all of the near misses in semis maybe they are entitled to shout a little louder now.

  10. Well at least Pat Spillane gets his wish for a “traditional final” whatever that is.
    Heaven forbid that Kerry lose it though. Poor old Declan O’ Sullivan (or Darren) or whichever of them gave that awful interview before the Mayo semi final, would never get over it. Imagine if they had to go 2 years in a row without winning it. O’Sullivan would have to reduce the number of All Ireland medals which he hopes to win from the “figure he has in mind” to one less. Then give more laughable interviews about the unimaginable hurt of a 2 year famine and all the suffering and pain that goes with it. Try 60 years Mr O’Sullivan. God what are they like.
    All joking aside Kerry would be worthy winners. Dont think we can argue with that. A few class players and hunger too. Will be too good for the Dubs.

  11. Jeez I see those ranking things on a twitter site on Club Mayo Dublin has Kildare rated 5 in the country and Wexford rated 11. I knew that the media has its collective heads up O Dwyers and McGeeneys posterior but that takes beating.

    Kildare are shite, a dour team doing dour things with players who cannot do “bad” if you gave them the lotto ( A poor mans Donegal). Division 2 for yonks, no Leinster title or indeed recent final.

    Wexford on the other hand played breathtaking football, reached a Leinster final and gave the Dubs a great game. How and what Gobsihte did the rankings. Its nearly as bad as FIFA and EUFA coefficient bull crap.

    We are rated 4 but with a load of conditions, disclaimers and arse covering comments in case we revert to type next year. My only surprise was not to see Wicklow rated around 7 or 8.

    This is what happens when we have no football to look forward to!

  12. Interestingly ontheroad Galway are the only county to beat Kerry 3 years in a row in the championship outside of Cork (’63 semi, ’64 final and ’65 final). You have a valid point about this mytical Kerry/Dublin rivalry. Even Pat Gilroy said it was only in the ’70’s. About the match as well documented Donegal were pretty negative but limitations were shown up in Dublin as well. However i think the Dubs have a great chance in thhe final. How often have we seen teams who play poorly in a semi final and win the final.

  13. The overrating of McGeeney was discussed at length in Bowes last week – I’m almost suprised that someone in the mejia didnt try to rank them above us!

  14. The dubs deserved the win because donegal were hideous in their lack of sporting ness if that’s a word their players were shown up on camera to be the worst type of divers, they didn’t use their best players to good effect and they were unable to use the unfair advantage of the extra man.
    Hope dublin can put it up to kerry but won.t put any money on them!

  15. They will Sixpointsup. Wait until the All Stars and see what Kildare get. In 1997 after winning a single championship match, losing the semi final to Meath they got 3 All Stars. We got two for appearing in consecutive All Ireland finals and winning Connacht titles despite missing key players like Cahill, Brady,and O Neill plus carrying two injured players all year in Sheridan and Flanagan.
    One system of judgment for us and another for the lily livered.

  16. Getting to a semi should see us pick up 2 or 3 all stars but there is a real chance that Andy will be the only one (he will surely get one right???) we will get given the way these things work out. of course “heroic” kildare will have to be accomodated on the list and could actually exceed our own allocation!

  17. Some interesting points being raised in this discussion. Firstly, regarding the Tir Chonaill men’s style of play. It has come in for unprecedented criticism from all quarters following last sundays match. Some commentators have gone as far as to say Dublins late revival to clinch the final place at Donegals expense saved gaelic football from sliding into the abyss. What a load of utter tosh. Yes Donegal played a very defensive style, but unless I was watching a different game to everyone else Dublin were almost the exact same as them! The first half was like a chess match, ball into Brogan at one end surrounded by 4 defenders; won by donegal and worked to the other end where Colm Mc Fadden was disposessed by 3 or 4 Dublin defenders and so on.. the point is that all the post match criticism has been directed exclusively at Donegal, but Dublin use almost the exact same system. The only difference i can see is Dublin tend to counter attack quicker by kickpassing in possession, where donegal favour handpassing.
    Anyone expecting to see a swashbuckling attacking performance from Dublin in the all ireland final is sadly mistaken. Gilroy is not stupid, and I would go as far as to say the dubs will adopt quite a large chunk of the Donegal gameplan for the final. If i was a Donegal man i would be raging at the abuse the county has received over the last few days. Just because the Dubs couldn’t figure out a way around Donegals well executed defensive system until the last ten minutes, we are led to believe that the future of gaelic football is doomed! Who is to say Kerry, or even Mayo for that matter, wouldnt have found a way to beat Donegal far more convincingly than Dublin did. Makes me laugh.

    Regarding the All Star selections, ye are all correct about the Kildare bias, I remember 1997 well, however, i think its in Mayo’s best interests at this stage if we dont win too many. Andy deserves one and will surely get one, but out from that i dont see any other Mayo men being honoured. I for one won’t be crying too much if we dont get any more, as far as im concerned all star awards to Mayo players in recent years have usually coincided with a dip in form in the following years. In fact with the exception of Jimmy Nallen in 1996/2004, James horan in 1996/99 and Kenneth mortimer in 96/97, I cant think of a single Mayo all star in the last 20 years who went on to reproduce that form in the years after their award. I can think of plenty who didn’t though, for various reasons. Conor has failed to hit the heights of his 2006 allstar summer since then, while Tom Parsons was deemed good enough to play for Ireland 3 years ago, yet he can’t even make the county squad now. The bottom line is that national recognition for our players has tended to have a negative impact on their subsequent performances for Mayo. So while its great to see our players recognised on the national stage, lets wait till we win an all ireland before we worry about individual awards. While I’m very proud of Mayo players who have won all stars in the past and the lads from our county who have represented Ireland with distinction, Id swap every single award for 1 All Ireland victory, no question.

  18. The All- Stars should be about serious quality footballers and not confined to those who managed to play reasonably well on teams who progressed to the latter stages of the championship. Think about the likes of Brendan Murphy of Carlow, Jamie Clarke of Crossmageln & Armagh, Wexfords Ciaran Lyng & Ben Brosnan, Wicklows Sean Furlong,if lads like that played for Kerry or Dublin they would be certain all-stars.
    For Mayo, Moran will probably get one, Keith Higgins will be in with a shout. Karl Lacey of Donegal a certainty.

  19. Don’t mean to bump the topic, but just finished that Declan Bogue book about the Ulster Championship “This is our Year”. Did anyone else read it?

    Some parts of it were funny, like when he described the Kildare-Donegal match as “brilliant” and “epic”. Other parts of it were unbelievable. According to Cassidy, by the end of the year training under McGuinness, he was able to run 200m in 21.6 seconds, and that some other guy, Mark McHugh, was able to run 200m in 20.4s, which would have placed him 5th in the 2008 Beijing Olympics 200m Final. The general feeling you get from the Donegal part of the book is that McGuinness is a header.

    Hopefully for the sake our eyes, Donegal commit more than 1 person past the 45m line this year.

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