Flynn renaissance another plus for Dubs record-breakers
Dublin 2-29 Roscommon 0-14
No laps of honour in Croke Park on Saturday night. Dublin performed a controlled demolition and then disappeared, leaving everyone else with the task of appraising that 35-game unbeaten record they had just set.
"It's a fantastic achievement," noted Kevin McStay, whose Roscommon team had just been overwhelmed and duly relegated. "What is it, 35? Jesus, think about that. "And all the close shaves they were involved in and they still got the draw or the win out of it. They're a fantastic team."
They've long since mastered the art of hammering mid-to-lower-ranked teams in Croke Park and Saturday night's exhibition was a classic of the genre - inspired by a renaissance performance from Paul Flynn.
Next up is a crack at winning a fifth league title in a row (Mayo hold the record with six), and a date with Monaghan in Clones on Sunday.
That Dublin have now played more matches than any other inter-county team in history without losing one didn't seem relevant to their manager.
"Maybe when the players finish their careers they might look back and they might take something from it," Jim Gavin began, when asked to quantify the achievement. "But, you know, games that they've performed in like this one it's now in the past. And they need to regroup again and focus on what's ahead. That's always been our philosophy."
Roscommon had to deal with a couple of Dublin's most decorated players locating form of old, albeit under no discernible pressure. Flynn, starting his first match of the year, had his most prolific game for Dublin, scoring 1-6 and his all-round display ensured the man of the match award was decided by half-time.
Bernard Brogan, also in Gavin's line-up for the first time this year, played in that spot closest to goal where he thrives, scored 0-3 and set up Flynn's 15th-minute goal, the one that ended any notions that we might have a contest. Later, Gavin brought on two former Footballers of the Year, Jack McCaffrey and Michael Darragh Macauley, as subs. Connolly, for the first time this season, was another.
By the time Kevin McManamon hit another brilliant goal for his collection in the second half, the night was long since done. "The currency we deal in is performance and that's what we try to strive for every day," Gavin went on. "We got a good performance today but we didn't get the complete one."
McStay, meanwhile, admitted: "I know the patience is wearing thin at home," though he pleaded for a little more of it all the same.
The problem, McStay specified, was his young team's lack of conditioning. And no team is more capable of exposing such a basic shortfall as this Dublin side.
"It's like watching a very decent car with very little engine in it," he said. "People just have to be patient. We've moved on to a longer term plan. Three years. I've spoken to the board about it. That's what I want to do. And it would be nice if people hold their nerve and stay with it."
Scorers - Dublin: P Flynn 1-6, K McManamon 1-1, P Andrew, B Brogan, D Rock (2f), C McHugh (2f) 0-3 each, B Fenton, C Reddin, N Scully, 0-2 each, E Lowndes, S Carthy, J McCaffrey, D Connolly 0-1 each. Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-3 (1f), D Smith, E Smith, C Murtagh (1f), C Connolly (1f) 0-2 each, G Patterson, S Killoran, N Kilroy 0-1 each.
Dublin - S Cluxton 8; P McMahon 8, M Fitzsimons 7, D Daly 6; D Byrne 5, C O'Sullivan 6, E Lowndes 7; B Fenton 7, C Reddin 7; P Flynn 9, K McManamon 7, N Scully 7; D Rock 7, P Andrews 7, B Brogan 8. Subs: S Carthy 6 for Byrne (30), J McCaffrey 7 for Daly (40), C McHugh 7 for Rock (40), Connolly 6 for Fenton (44), MD Macauley 6 for Reddin (47), P Mannion 6 for O'Sullivan (50).
Roscommon - D O'Malley 6; D Murray 4, J McManus 5, N McInerney 5; McDermott 4, U Harney 4, R Stack 3; T Corcoran 3, T O'Rourke 5; G Patteron 5, C Devaney 4, E Smith 6; D Smith 6, D Murtagh 5, C Murtagh 6. Subs: C Compton for Corcoran (h-t), S Killoran for Harney (h-t), C Connolly 6 for D Murtagh (53), B Murtagh 5 for McDermott (53), F Cregg 5 for D Smith (53), N Kilroy 5 for C Murtagh (65).
Ref - C Reilly (Meath)