verdict | 

Lack of Dublin goal chances should be a worry for Dessie Farrell

I suspect the Dubs on the Hill were more worried about the absence of James McCarthy and Con O’Callaghan

Charlie Redmond

DUBLIN footballers did what they had to do last night in Croke Park, no more, no less.

They booked a place in the All-Ireland semi-final a fortnight today by easing past a poor Cork side.

I suspect the Dubs on the Hill were more worried about the absence of James McCarthy and Con O’Callaghan, than any threat Cork presented.

We’re waiting to discover how serious their injuries are.

But there is so much of smoke and mirrors around what goes on in inter-county camps these days.

I mean if you believe the rumours going around Kerry and Mayo in the last few days, neither David Clifford nor Oisin Mullin are playing today.

I’ve been told, by people who should know, that neither man will play. But there they are —both named in their teams.

The man on the tannoy did play the Bee Gees before the match but this was no Saturday Night Fever.

In fact, it was as underwhelming an All-Ireland quarter-final as I can ever remember the Dubs being involved in.

Even the crowd struggled to get into the game.

The empty seats left by the Derry and Clare supporters didn’t help, and most of the Hill’s interest in the match in the second half seemed to be in jeering every one of Cork’s very poor attempts at kicking points right in front of them.

In truth, Cork were very poor all over – and Dublin didn’t have to do anything special at all to beat them by 11 points.

In injury-time Cork still had all 15 men behind the ball, when they were losing the match by ten points.

They showed no initiative to try to do something to save the game.

Maybe next year, with their injury crisis behind them, Cork will be better.

But this was a poor show from a team that put it up to Kerry for 50 minutes earlier in the championship. They never put it up to Dublin at all.

With the Tailteann Cup now up and running, maybe we will soon see that we need a third tier in Gaelic Football.

Certainly, the performances yesterday of Cork and Clare would suggest that.

We know both teams are better than they showed yesterday, but you have to do it on the biggest day and on the biggest stage – and the two Munster counties failed that test. They were things to take out of the match for Dublin boss Dessie Farrell (inset).

Lee Gannon’s performance at corner-back, Jonny Cooper’s hunger for more honours at the age of 32, and the pure class of Ciaran Kilkenny.

Add in Dean Rock’s excellence with the placed ball, and it was all enough to see off the Rebels.

Will it be enough to see off Kerry or Mayo, not likely.

Dublin never threatened to score a goal. I don’t remember Micheal Martin making a save in the Cork goal.

We didn’t score goals in last year’s championship, and it jumped up to bite Dublin against Mayo in the semi-final.

The Boys in Blue have rattled the net in the 2022 version, but last night nothing much happened in terms of forcing a goal chance.

Of course, the truth is that Dublin didn’t need one here.

Once they got a few points clear on the scoreboard, there was no need to try and thread the eye of the needle by getting a good ball into Cormac Costello or Rock.

A simple tap over the crossbar padded out the lead and brought a semi-final place ever closer.

It was that sort of evening at HQ, Dublin almost ambled through the match and into the semi-final.

There will be no ambling around that afternoon and this was no test.

Dublin have probably had tougher A v B training games than this.

And that’s the sad truth of it.

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