Senior footballers bow out as Dublin show All Ireland credentials

Back 24/06/2023 @ 00:51 | mainnews | Senior footballers bow out as Dublin show All Ireland credentials

Dublin 3-23 Sligo 0-8

Sligo senior footballers season ended with a disappointing reverse against Dublin at Cavan’s Kingspan Breffni on Sunday last with the Leinster champions delivering a comprehensive display to outscore the Yeats County by 24 points.

In a game that not even the most optimistic Sligo fan expected to win, Dublin absorbed Sligo’s’ early energy before delivering a master class in movement and finishing to win at their ease to secure an automatic place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

While Sligo will have many highlights to savour from the current season, this game won’t contribute much to the reel. It did however open brightly and after Paddy Small got the game’s first point from play with a free, Darragh Cummins equalised for Sligo after a strong run up the right flank.

Colm Basquel and Niall Murphy exchanged points before Sean Carrabine put Sligo ahead after 13 minutes.

Paul McNamara was then unlucky to see his effort for a point come off an upright. It rebounded into play and into Dublin arms to start a move the length of the field that ended with Con O’Callaghan palming to the net for the first goal of the game.

Pat Spillane opened up the Dublin defence with a great run but saw his shot go just wide of Stephen Cluxton’s goal.

Dublin then proceeded to add 6 points without reply with Small (2), Sean Bugler, O’Callaghan (2), Lee Gannon before Carrabine pointed a free for Sligo on 31 minutes.

The Dublin response was to hit five more points – two from O’Callaghan and one each from Basquel, Gannon and Bolger to go into the break twelve points ahead 1-13 to 0-4.

When Sligo last played Dublin in championship in 2001, their opponents hit them for 2-2 in a burst of early first half scores. History repeated itself on Sunday as Basquel pointed two minutes into the second half and then finished Dublin's second goal of a mazy solo run that mesmerised the Sligo defence. Brian Howard then hit a point before another Basquel run from deep set up Eoin Murchan to palm to the net to move the score on to  3-15 to 0-4, 7 minutes into the half.

With the game long over as a contest, Dublin had the luxury of withdrawing  key figures like James McCarthy, John Small and O'Callaghan and giving run to the returning Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey.  They outscored Sligo by eight points to four with Gannon (2), O’Callaghan, Paddy Small (2) Mannion (2) and Basquel on the mark. Sligo had points from Carrabine (2), Paddy O’Connor and Murphy whose second point was the last kick of the game as the heavens opened.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Newcombe, M Fitzsimons, E Murchan (1-0); B Howard (0-1), J Small (0-1), L Gannon (0-3); B Fenton, J McCarthy; N Scully, S Bugler (0-2), C Kilkenny (0-1); P Small (0-5, 3 f), C O'Callaghan (1-5), C Basquel (1-3, 1 f).

Subs: T Lahiff for McCarthy (46); C Murphy for J Small & P Mannion (0-2) for Scully (50); L O'Dell for O'Callaghan (53); J McCaffrey for Murchan (59).

SLIGO: A Devaney; L Nicholson, B Cox, E Lyons; L Towey, J Lavin, P McNamara,; C Lally, P Kilcoyne; D Cummins (0-1), A Reilly, F Cawley; P Spillane, S Carrabine (0-4, 2f, 1 45), N Murphy (0-2).

Subs: M Gordon for Towey (29); G O'Kelly Lynch for Lally (50); M Walsh for Cummins (51); P O'Connor (0-1) for Reilly (52); K Cawley for Lavin (61).

Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).