Dublin never in dan­ger once Ty­rone’s early storm re­lented

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page - – Kevin McS­tay

Over­all this was a six-point stroll for Dublin. It was a big win ev­ery­where but on the score­board and even there it was a de­cent mar­gin. The qual­ity of the match was quite good but it wasn’t re­ally a con­test af­ter the first quar­ter.

As a pre­lim­i­nary point about the se­lec­tions, I don’t agree with this busi­ness of mess­ing around with the team an­nounce­ment. Frank Burns and Richie Don­nelly were both in the pro­gramme and didn’t start for Ty­rone. It’s very hard to deal with that com­ing up a big match.

It’s tough enough to know that you’re not play­ing with­out the pub­lic be­ing told that you are. Nei­ther player in my view made had any great im­pact when brought on and I wasn’t sur­prised.

Es­sen­tially this game was de­cided be­tween the 18th and 23rd min­utes when Ty­rone went from plus-four to mi­nus-two.

For Ty­rone to com­pete they needed a strong first quar­ter and they got it, al­most to per­fec­tion. They were scor­ing reg­u­larly, mak­ing good turnovers and Dublin were rock­ing their own con­fi­dence with wides and drop­ping the ball short. It was a great po­si­tion for the chal­lengers at the end of the first quar­ter.

If there was a down­side it was the poor qual­ity of the fin­ish­ing, six wides in that first quar­ter, and it was af­ter a wide that Ciarán Kilkenny was able to get Dublin’s sec­ond score.

Then Niall Mor­gan had one of the lapses with the restart, scuff­ing it and hit­ting a low tra­jec­tory. It was all the in­vi­ta­tion Dublin needed and it ended up in the penalty.

It’s fair to point out that ref­eree Conor Lane had a very good match. There were a cou­ple of tech­ni­cal ones, re­lat­ing to black cards that might have been dif­fer­ent, and there was too much off-the-ball stuff but he got the big calls right, in­clud­ing both penal­ties.

Good call

The first one was the more im­por­tant and it was a re­ally good call. Tiernan McCann got in a foul chal­lenge on Paul Man­nion when he would have been bet­ter off leav­ing it to Mat­tie Don­nelly, who man­aged to knock the ball clear.

Man­nion’s fin­ish was bril­liant – all the more so in that he had taken a hit and had to wait a cou­ple of min­utes be­fore tak­ing the kick. An­other bad kick-out and an­other point and Dublin aren’t just back in the game but they’re mo­tor­ing.

Seven up at half-time and it’s not hard to know what was be­ing said in the dress­ing-room; keep up the mo­men­tum, keep that gap and make sure there are no goals.

In truth, Dublin never looked like los­ing. The tale of the quar­ters is in­ter­est­ing once Ty­rone’s early ad­van­tage was gone. Dublin led by seven at half-time, by seven at the end of the third quar­ter and by six at full-time, which was very good game man­age­ment.

They scored 10 points af­ter the break, seven of which were un­op­posed. It show­cased their pa­tience, ex­cel­lent ball move­ment, which had the added ben­e­fit of run­ning down the clock, and they demon­strated such con­trol that they had no wides in the sec­ond half. It was ex­tremely com­fort­able.

Even in the first half their scor­ing ef­fi­ciency was bet­ter than Ty­rone whose shot se­lec­tion was very av­er­age and their ac­cu­racy even worse. They did get their per­fect start but lacked com­po­sure at this level. How­ever, I think they’ll ben­e­fit from this and come again.

They were play­ing against a finely-tuned ma­chine – and I don’t mean ro­bots; I mean highly-skilled play­ers who move so well to­gether as part of a unit.

One of the big con­sid­er­a­tions in any fi­nal is get­ting the match-ups right and, if you don’t, fix­ing them as quickly as pos­si­ble. Ty­rone’s most im­por­tant play­ers never re­ally got go­ing – Niall Slud­den, Peter Harte, Colm Ca­vanagh and Mat­tie Don­nelly, who was par­tic­u­larly quiet.

Dublin led by seven at half-time, by seven at the end of the third quar­ter and by six at full-time, which was very good game man­age­ment

Pluck­ing

For once, Dublin’s sub­sti­tutes’ bench had a sub­dued im­pact when you con­sider that they came into a match ripe for the pluck­ing. But, for what­ever rea­son, they never re­ally got go­ing.

Maybe it was the chaotic end with Ty­rone pil­ing for­ward and big gaps ap­pear­ing but al­though they got a cou­ple of points from Kevin McMana­mon and Michael Dar­ragh Ma­cauley there was prob­a­bly more there for them, as Ty­rone looked out on their feet.

It’s a re­ally con­sid­er­able achieve­ment by Jim Gavin and Dublin to have won four All-Ire­lands in a row and they showed the value of their great ex­pe­ri­ence and com­po­sure. They have looked wor­thy cham­pi­ons all year.

Kevin McS­tay

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