Saturday 19 August 2017

Flynn on fire in record romp

Dublin 2-29 Roscommon 0-14

Dublin’s Paul Flynn scores his side’s first goal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 6 game against Roscommon at Croke Park. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Dublin’s Paul Flynn scores his side’s first goal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 6 game against Roscommon at Croke Park. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Dermot Crowe

It needed a deeply creative imagination to conceive the means by which Roscommon might stop Dublin reaching an unprecedented 35 consecutive league and championship games without defeat at Croke Park last night.

Not even the most optimistic, or deluded, follower of Kevin McStay's side expected anything other than their relegation being confirmed by a Dublin win that would consign the visitors to a six straight spring loss and a return to Division 2 after two seasons mixing it in the top eight.

Kevin McManamon of Dublin in action against John McManus of Roscommon. Photo: Sportsfile
Kevin McManamon of Dublin in action against John McManus of Roscommon. Photo: Sportsfile

And so it proved, emphatically and unequivocally, the game virtually dead of all suspense and wonder by the interval when the hosts were 1-14 to 0-6 ahead and coasting along in third gear. Dublin, on the brink of defeat before equalling Kerry's 84-year-old record of 34 in a row without defeat in Tralee the weekend before, were never in remote danger here. Paul Flynn celebrated his first start of the season by reproducing some of the play that made him one of their most influential players before injury and loss of form conspired against him.

It was Flynn's goal that put early daylight between the teams after 15 minutes. Bernard Brogan, making his first start of the season and also looking sharp and keen, fielded a ball ahead of David Murray and placed Flynn, who blasted a powerful shot past Darren O'Malley.

Flynn finished Dublin's top scorer with 1-6 from play and as man-of-the-match. His fifth point looked like an act of mercy, when he punched the ball over the bar in the 51st minute after a Brogan effort came off a post and caught Roscommon cold. On another night he might have exacted sterner retribution.

Roscommon, the only county in the National League without a point, were too easily picked off. Conor Devaney played deep and worked assiduously and Enda Smith hit some good scores in the first half, a peach off each wing with his right foot, but those raids were sporadic. Diarmuid Murtagh and Donie Smith also had moments. There were also a few goal chances, with Stephen Cluxton flapping at one high ball and later misdirecting a ground kick which offered a goal chance for Ciaran Murtagh, the Roscommon captain. But Dublin had a player back to keep the goal intact.

Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin in action against John McManus of Roscommon. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin in action against John McManus of Roscommon. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

That was about as much dust as Roscommon raised, a brilliant save from Cluxton in the second half apart, when he denied sub Cian Connolly a goal. Dublin reintroduced Diarmuid Connolly to the team after his club travels and he scored a point to a great cheer before being taken off with an injury scare. With 13 minutes left Kevin McManamon burst through, the only forward without a score, and hit their second goal.

There were players all over the field straining to impress. Ciaran Reddin scored two good points in his second start of the season and with the likes of Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion coming on, Dublin's strength in depth was obvious. In the end it was like a hurling score.

Scorers: Dublin - P Flynn 1-6; K McManamon 1-1; C McHugh 0-4 (0-2 fs); D Rock 0-3 (0-2 fs); B Brogan, P Andrews 0-3; N Scully, C Reddin 0-2, E Lowdnes, B Fenton, D Connolly, SB Carthy, J McCaffrey 0-1. Roscommon - D Murtagh 0-3 (0-1 f); E Smith, D Smith 0-2, C Murtagh 0-2 (0-1 f), C Connolly 0-2 (0-1f), S Killoran, N Kilroy, G Patterson 0-1.
Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon, M Fitzsimons, D Byrne; D Daly, C O'Sullivan, E Lowndes; B Fenton, C Reddin; P Flynn, K McManamon, N Scully; D Rock, P Andrews, B Brogan.
Subs: SB Carthy for Byrne (30 mins); J McCaffrey for Daly & C McHugh for Rock (both 40 mins); D Connolly for Fenton (44); MD Macauley for Reddin (47); P Mannion for O'Sullivan (49).
Roscommon: D O'Malley; D Murray, U McHale, N McInerney; S McDermott, J McManus, R Stack; T Corcoran, T O'Rourke; G Patterson, C Murtagh, E Smith; D Smith, D Murtagh, C Devaney. Subs: Cathal Compton for Corcoran & S Killoran for Hanley (both half-time); C Connolly for D Murtagh & B Murtagh for McDermott (both 52 mins); F Cregg for D Smith (53); N Kilroy for C MUrtagh (65).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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