Sunday 27 May 2018

Easy frees need to be eradicated

Rory Kerr

DUBLIN selector Mick Deegan believes the Metropolitans must improve their discipline in defence if they are to make the knockout stages of this year's National Football League.

Saturday's game with Cork, which drew an attendance of just under 20,000, saw Dublin surrender their unbeaten run despite enjoying a four-point lead inside the first 10 minutes, and the former All Star defender believes the hosts were the architects of their own downfall in the end.

'For our liking we conceded too many scores. You score 18 points and you expect to win a game, and we will be looking at the other end of the pitch because we wouldn't be happy to concede 1-17.'

One of the highlights of a fascinating game was Daniel Goulding's excellent shooting from the dead ball, but Deegan insisted that Dublin gave too many opportunities to the corner forward.

'When we were four points up in the first half we gave away four frees on the trot and they scored every one of them.

'Their place-kicking was good, but you can't give away cheap frees. Most teams have a good free-taker, including ourselves. I don't think Stephen [Cluxton] missed one on Saturday.'

On the positive side, Cormac Costello again underlined his promise with a terrific first-half display in a period which also saw St Maur's man Ciaran Reddin raise the white flag twice with two fine efforts.

Deegan was certainly delighted to see Costello flourish in what is his first full season playing at senior level.

'Cormac probably ran out of steam in the second half, but he still scored three or four points which is an excellent return for him.'

Nonetheless, Deegan believes that Dublin struggled up front as Cork put up a blanket defence in the second half.

'Yes we were missing five forwards from the All-Ireland Final, but we have to work on what we have. We created chances on Saturday and I felt we probably could have moved the ball on one more pass.

'There was some bad decision-making at times, but we know we are going to come up against these blanket defences, so it's early days and we can work on that.'

Next up for Dublin is Kildare at home on Saturday (throw in 7pm). Kildare were edged out by a solitary point by Tyrone at the weekend, and Deegan believes the Lillywhites will certainly take some stopping at the weekend.

'They have a very big forward line. I watched their game on Sunday and I felt Tyrone robbed the game. Kildare were probably the better team for 69 minutes and conceded two goals.

'They have big men inside. They can hold onto the ball and run the ball, but they can also let the ball long and early to Paddy Brophy and Tomas O'Connor and that's what they are doing and they are getting great reward for that.'

Fingal Independent