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'I always compared him in some ways to Diarmuid Connolly' - Ciaran Whelan hails Dublin young gun

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Seán Bugler of Dublin in action against Monaghan's Karl O'Connell and goalkeeper Rory Beggan

Seán Bugler of Dublin in action against Monaghan's Karl O'Connell and goalkeeper Rory Beggan

SPORTSFILE

Seán Bugler of Dublin in action against Monaghan's Karl O'Connell and goalkeeper Rory Beggan

Ciaran Whelan has compared young Dublin forward Sean Bugler to Hill 16 favourite Diarmuid Connolly.

Bugler came off the bench to score three points in Dublin's dramatic 1-15 to 1-15 Allianz League clash against Monaghan in Croke Park on Saturday with Whelan observing that "he is so comfortable off both sides and a very good footballer".

"I'd know Sean well, going back through the development squad years, a very very talented player. I always kind of compared him in some ways to Diarmuid Connolly, that he was so comfortable off both sides and a very very good footballer," said Whelan.

"Dessie (Farrell) would have been very happy with Sean Bugler coming off the bench, he ended up in the right place a few times and he hit a very good score off his left foot," said Dubs legend Whelan, speakijng on this week's Throw In podcast, in association with Allianz.

But apart from a select few of Dublin's young guns, Whelan was not impressed by a Dublin side who were nine points down as late as 60 minutes into the game.

"Making your debut - or your first big game - in Croke Park, for the likes of Darra Mullin or Liam Flatman, is a very intimidating experience, so I suppose we have to be a little bit patient and it's probably too early to judge them based on Saturday night's performance. But I thought Dan O'Brien did reasonably well, he certainly got on a lot of ball.

"But Dessie will be very disappointed with the first half. Dublin were lethargic, they looked heavy-legged and they stood off Monaghan. There was no intensity there, they struggled on their own kick-outs and their forward play wasn't very direct. They were slow in the build-up play and they let Monaghan regroup.

"Dubin never looked like they were going to use the mark to any benefit or go directly in that D area either, so there was a lot of aspects to that game that looked a bit stale for the first 65 minutes really."

Whelan added that Dublin "didn't deserve to get anything out of that game", adding that Monaghan should have been clinical enough to close out what would have been a third victory in a row for the Ulstermen against Dublin in the Allianz Football League.

"You have to give Monaghan a lot of credit, they came very well prepared with a good game plan. They targeted a couple of key Dublin players to nullify their influence and they were very good on the counter-attack.

"But they should have won the game, they should have closed it out. It probably felt like a loss going up the road because they were still six points up after 65 minutes."

Kevin McManamon once again filled the role of Dublin's comeback king as his 70th-minute goal shifted momentum enough for the Dubs to go on to level it at 1-15 apiece after 10 minutes of added time. But for Whelan, the gap between the sides at the start of the game was more about mentality and preparation rather than the skill of the players.

"Monaghan would have really focused on Dublin as a big game in terms of measuring where they are at. They came up to get key match-ups right and focus in on Dublin's strengths. Whereas Dublin may have taken the pitch with an attitude of 'lets see how we go here' where they would experiment. They weren't focused in on some of Monaghan's strengths.

"But Monaghan do deserve great credit, 'Banty' (Seamus McEnaney) has really energised them. They look like a team that has a little bit of extra work done and they are going to push right until the end of the league."

Online Editors