A NINE-POINT victory for Dublin in a league game that won’t live long in the memory banks.
The six-in-a-row All-Ireland champions got the job done in Roscommon to open up their Division 1 South campaign with two points. In truth, the game took on a challenge match feel at times, particularly in the second period.
Anthony Cunningham’s side got themselves within four points (1-12 to 0-11) in the 46th minute, but were outscored by 0-8 to 0-3 in the final quarter.
Dublin kicked 1-22 and missed just four shots at the posts. They looked impressive at times and were coasting at other stages. It was the sort of performance where they were below their best yet they never looked in danger of losing the game.
Mick Galvin donned the bainisteoir bib in the absence of Dessie Farrell, who’ll sit out the entire league through suspension.
Roscommon will be quietly happy with plenty of aspects of this performance. They kept Con O’Callaghan, Brian Fenton and James McCarthy relatively quiet over the 70 minutes.
Dean Rock wasn’t part of the travelling Dublin party so Cormac Costello took over placed ball duties. The Whitehall Colmcilles attacker finished the game with 1-13. He took three penalties over the 70 minutes: slotting home the first, striking the post with the second and popping the third over at the death.
Roscommon added former Carlow coach Steven Poacher to the set-up and they gave a decent effort defensively, although Costello was allowed kick the majority of his eight frees from close range.
Roscommon shipped two black cards, one in either half, and conceded three penalties. Two were awarded for trips and one for a foot block.
Dublin made four late changes as Evan Comerford, Mick Fitzsimons, Jonny Cooper and Sean Bugler dropped out, with Michael Shiel, Tom Lahiff, Dara Mullin and Sean McMahon added to the starting XV.
It was a competitive debut for Shiel between the sticks and McMahon at corner-back. Lahiff partnered Brian Fenton at midfield as Mullin played at wing-forward.
Dublin looked efficient from the off. In the opening quarter they scored 1-8 from nine shots. The goal arrived from a well-taken Costello penalty in the 18th minute after Brian Stack tripped Paddy Small as he bore down on goal.
It was deemed a goalscoring opportunity and the St Brigid’s star was sin binned for 10 minutes. Roscommon had chances of their own and were left to rue a golden chance to raise a green flag when Diarmuid Murtagh palmed a ball off the upright with the goal at his mercy.
With Niall Scully supplying good ball into the full-forward line, Costello had 1-8 on the board by the interval. Roscommon did kick some good scores from distance through Niall Daly, Donie Smith and Ciaran Murtagh.
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It was the third minute of first-half stoppage-time before Dublin registered a wide, through Paddy Small.
Roscommon lost a second player to a black card after Fergal Lennon tripped Dara Mullin. It was deemed a goalscoring opportunity and a penalty was awarded for Dublin, but Costello struck the post from his second spot kick of the afternoon.
Still, Roscommon refused to go away and hit the next two scores from Donie Smith frees after they down the middle of the Dublin defence.
The scoring slowed down considerably in the second period, but Kilkenny did come to life and clipped over three fine efforts in the final quarter.
Ciaran Murtagh was one of Roscommon’s best performers and he finished with four from play and two frees. Costello popped his third penalty over the bar after the Rossies were penalised for Niall Daly foot block on Fenton.
It handed the travelling Sky Blues a nine-point victory. Kerry in Thurles await next weekend.
Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 1-13 (0-8f, 1-1 pen, 0-1m), Ciaran Kilkenny 0-4 (0-1m), Paddy Small 0-2, Brian Fenton, Tom Lahiff and Dara Mullin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: Donie Smith 0-6 (0-5f), Ciaran Murtagh 0-6 (0-2f), Eddie Nolan, Niall Daly, Enda Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh 0-1 each.
16. Michael Shiel (St Sylvesters)
23. Sean McMahon (Raheny), 3. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf), 5. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)
9. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams), 6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 7. Robert McDaid (Ballyboden St. Enda’s)
8. Brian Fenton (Raheny), 19. Tom Lahiff (St Jude’s)
10. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street), 11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock), 24. Dara Mullin (Kilmacud Crokes)
13. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala), 15. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille)
2. Mick Fitzsimons (Cuala) for McMahon (50)
17. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for Mullin (50)
21. Conor McHugh (Na Fianna) for Paddy Small (57)
26. Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne (Cuala) for Lahiff (57)
20. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrines) for McCarthy (66)
4. Ryan Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for O’Callaghan (65)
22. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams) for Murchan (68)
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1. Colm Lavin (Éire Óg)
3. Fergal Lennon (Clann na nGael), 4. Gary Patterson (Michael Glavey’s), 2. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)
5. Conor Hussey (Michael Glavey’s), 6. Niall Daly (Padraig Pearses), 7. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)
8. Eddie Nolan (St Brigid’s), 9. Shane Killoran (Elphin)
10. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty), 11. Cathal Cregg (Western Gaels), 12. Enda Smith (captain – Boyle)
14. Donie Smith (Boyle), 15. Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleach’s), 13. Ciaran Murtagh (St Faithleach’s)
25. Conor Devaney (Kilbride) for Kilroy (ht)
20. Cian McKeon (Boyle) for Cregg (41)
19. Conor Daly (Padraig Pearses) for Stack (45)
23. Conor Cox for Diarmuid Murtagh (50)
17. David Neary (Strokestown) for Lennon (50)
18. Richard Hughes (Roscommon Gaels) for Conor Daly (66)
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)
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