Tuesday 21 January 2020

'He has a snout for that' - Dessie Farrell has high praise for Con O'Callaghan's brother after two-goal blitz

Dessie Farrell
Dessie Farrell

Dermot Crowe

A new era in Dublin football unfolded with a gutsy display by a greatly weakened selection at Pearse Park in Longford yesterday, Dessie Farrell's first game in charge ending in a one-point defeat in the O'Byrne Cup semi-finals.

For a side cobbled together on the back of two recent trial matches, facing more experienced opponents with three games already in the O'Byrne Cup behind them, it wasn't a bad start, even if a losing one.

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Farrell didn't sound too perturbed afterwards, happy with the spirit shown as they went down to a pointed free in injury time from Longford's Darren Gallagher, an award that incensed many of the travelling Dublin supporters. The score sent Longford through to the final against Offaly, winning 1-13 to 3-6, before a crowd of maybe 1,000 hardy souls who braved a bitter day with gusting wind.

Most of Dublin's leading players are still on holiday in Bali, while a few others are tied up in Sigerson Cup action this weekend. So Farrell declared himself pleased that those available made a serious contest of it.

"My fear coming down was that we're going down the pecking order slightly here, we may not be competitive given where we're coming from. Because I know a lot of other counties have a couple of weeks, maybe even months, under their belts at this stage."

He said they would regroup when the rest of the players get back home and then get down to work for the National League first round match against Kerry on Saturday week.

Con O'Callaghan's brother, Niall, scored two second-half goals, while the recently-retired Eoghan O'Gara also had a goalscoring brother, Killian, on show.

The sides were level at half-time and Dublin were two points up with five minutes left, before Longford reeled off the last three scores.

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Farrell was able to call on half a dozen of the players who helped Dublin win the 2017 under-21 All-Ireland final, a team he managed. He agreed afterwards that O'Callaghan had made a bright impression and shown a keen eye for goal, remarking: "He did very well. Has a snout for that for sure, yeah."

Longford manager Padraic Davis was impressed with what Dublin produced. "It just goes to show the strength in depth that there is in Dublin. Good footballers. Supreme athletes. And it was a fantastic workout for us."

Farrell made 23 substitutions during the match, as changes are unlimited in the competition.

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