Thursday 27 April 2017

'I'm not sure the mark will have impact on gaelic football' - Mossie Quinn

Dublin 3-13 Dubs Stars 4-9

Dublin’s Gavin Ivory takes on Tom Shields of Dubs Stars at Parnell Park. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Dublin’s Gavin Ivory takes on Tom Shields of Dubs Stars at Parnell Park. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

If yesterday's annual Dubs Stars clash is anything to go by then the 'mark' will have little effect on the modern game.

Brought in to encourage teams to rediscover the lost art of high fielding, there were very few opportunities for midfielders to catch a long kick-out cleanly such is the increased emphasis on ball retention.

Dublin's Gary Sweeney in action against Graham Hannigan of Dubs Stars during the Football Challenge game at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Dublin's Gary Sweeney in action against Graham Hannigan of Dubs Stars during the Football Challenge game at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

And when the unheralded Thomas Davis clubman Ryan Deegan, likely to be a quiz question answer in the future, etched his name in Gaelic football history in the 22nd minute it barely raised a cheer throughout Parnell Park.

While there has been much talk about the new rule coming into effect, former Dublin star Tomás Quinn, who was in outstanding form hitting 3-5 for the Dubs Stars, doesn't envisage the mark leaving any noticeable print on the game.

"It was only when they announced it literally as the ball was thrown in that I copped it was going to be in play. I don't think it had a big impact today. A couple of catches there near the end all right," Quinn said.

"When you heard the whistle [to indicate a mark], my instinct was to think 'what was the foul for?' You're just so used to it but it's something I think you'll pick up pretty quick but I'm not sure how much of an impact it's going to have.

Mathius McDonncha of Dubs Stars in action against Paul Hudson of Dublin during the Football Challenge. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Mathius McDonncha of Dubs Stars in action against Paul Hudson of Dublin during the Football Challenge. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

"The 'keepers went pretty short there so there was only about three or four of them throughout the game. With the calibre of goalies that are there now and the young guys coming in, the days of putting the ball down and kicking it as long as you can are gone.

"I don't know if the rule was overly necessary. Some people, traditionalists, like to think it's going to go back to high fielding and that but you're always going to be trying to pick someone out or to put it into a space."

Impressive

The mark may have made its introduction but very little else changed as Jim Gavin's new-look Dublin side maintained their impressive winning streak exactly three months after claiming back-to-back All-Ireland titles against Mayo.

There were no household names on show with Shane Clayton, Colm Basquel and Robbie McDaid the only members of last year's squad in action but the performances of Conor McHugh, Niall Walsh, Paul Hudson and Killian O'Gara will please the Dubs boss.

While Dublin's first-choice attack is littered with talent, McHugh, the hero of their 2014 All-Ireland U-21 triumph, staked his claim for a place in the squad with the Na Fianna forward bagging 2-4 overall, and the match-winning goal.

With the Dubs jetting off to Jamaica on their team holiday this morning, 1995 All-Ireland winner Paul Clarke is set to take charge for their O'Byrne Cup campaign, the only competition they lost in 2016, and he will have been pleased with what he saw.

It was tit for tat in the opening exchanges before O'Gara, younger brother of senior star Eoghan, hit a goal but Quinn used all his guile at the other end when taking a 13-yard free quickly and firing low to the net.

That was to be the Dubs Stars' final score of the half, however, as Gavin's side ploughed ahead with McHugh reacting quickest to volley home after his initial effort hit the post, while Walsh and Hudson both pointed as they coasted in eight points ahead at half-time, 2-7 to 1-2.

The game looked set to peter out but Quinn palmed a high diagonal ball from Niall Coakley to the net and the pair narrowed the gap before the St Vincent's attacker completed his hat-trick, 2-9 to 3-6.

Dublin smelled danger and pulled away through McHugh and Walsh but Darren Gavin levelled yet again with a cracker of a finish before Quinn and Gerry Seaver amazingly sent the Dubs Stars two ahead. McHugh had the last laugh, however, as he capped a magnificent display with the injury-time winner.

Footnote: The day ended on a sour note with no members of the Dublin management team available to speak to the waiting media.

Scorers - Dublin: C McHugh 2-4, P Hudson 0-4 (2f), K O'Gara 1-1, N Walsh 0-3, C Reddin 0-1. Dubs Stars: T Quinn 3-5 (1-3f), D Gavin 1-0, N Coakley 0-3 (2f), G Seaver 0-1.

Dublin - E Comerford; E O'Brien, S Clayton, R McGowan; N Scully, R McDaid, C Mullally; R Deegan, C Reddin; G Sweeney, C Basquel, N Walsh; P Hudson, K O'Gara, C McHugh. Subs: S Cunningham for Basquel and R Hazley for McDaid (both h-t), M Deegan for O'Gara (35), R Gaughan for R Deegan (40), G Ivory for Scully (40), S Newcombe for Hudson (44), JB Carthy for Comerford (45).

Dubs Stars - M Connolly; C Wilson, G Hannigan, T Shiels; R O'Brien, M MacDonncha, B Howard; D Gavin, S Boland; T Lahiff, G Seaver, P Small; S Smith, N Coakley, T Quinn. Subs: G Carruth for Gavin (21), S Blanchfield for Connolly (40), E O'Toole for Smith (42), Gavin for Boland (43), D Kerr for Seaver (44), Boland for Coakley and Seaver for Carruth (both 55).

Ref - D Sheppard (Round Towers).

Irish Independent

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