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Senior Footballers lose out to Derry on penalties in Allianz League Final

Senior Footballers lose out to Derry on penalties in Allianz League Final

Sun, 31st March 2024

DUBLIN 2-21 

DERRY 3-18 (AET, Derry win 3-1 on penalties)

Dublin failed in their bid for their first outright Allianz National Football League Division 1 title since 2018 when falling to Derry on penalties in their absorbing decider at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

In what was a repeat of last year’s Division 2 decider, the Dubs looked beaten on a number of occasions but repeatedly came back, initially in normal time but also through a Greg McEneaney goal deep into extra-time.

However, they missed three of their four spot-kicks, with Derry converting all three of theirs in a contest that saw both Brian Fenton and Paddy Small dismissed in the second period of extra time.

With the wind at their backs, it was Derry that made the brighter start and a Shane McGuigan free handed them the lead in the 3rd minute.

McGuigan added a fine point from play a minute later with Dublin getting on the scoreboard as Tom Lahiff raced down the middle before pointing off his left foot.

A Con O’Callaghan free restored parity by the 7th minute before their opponents enjoyed a period of mini-dominance as they kicked three points on the bounce.

McGuigan converted his second free in the 10th minute with Ethan Doherty and Niall Loughlin also on target for Derry in the ensuing two minutes.

Dublin were in need of some inspiration at this stage and it duly arrived in the form of a typically classy Brian Howard point in the 15th minute before Dublin pounced for the game’s opening goal a minute later.

There appeared little danger as a Killian McGinnis attempt dropped short but with Cian Murphy lurking close to goal, Odhran Lynch fluffed his punched clearance into the path of Basquel, who fired to the corner of the net from eight yards.

Dublin extended their lead through Sean Bugler in the 23rd minute while Murphy also popped up with a point five minutes later but Derry stayed well in contention with Lachlan Murray, Brendan Rogers and Eoin McEvoy all on target.

It was nip and tuck for the remainder of the half as O’Callaghan and McGuigan traded points and while Basquel edged Dublin in front in added time, Murray ensured the teams were deadlocked at the break with his classy point leaving the score at 1-7 to 0-10.

Dublin resumed on the front foot through points by Niall Scully and McGinnis but that early momentum was stalled in the 40th minute as referee Conor Lane awarded a penalty after consulting his umpires with Eoin Murchan adjudged to have pushed Doherty in the act of shooting.

McGuigan made no mistake from the spot kick and Derry could well have had another goal in the 42nd minute but Paul Cassidy saw his low shot drift agonisingly wide of Evan Comerford’s right-hand upright.

While O’Callaghan levelled matters soon after, there was no doubting Derry’s dominance at this stage and they made that control count as McEvoy raced through unopposed for a cracking finish in off Comerford’s crossbar.

A point from Loughlin moved Derry four points clear but with the contest drifting to a degree, Dublin dug deep to kick the next three points through Lahiff, Ross McGarry and O’Callaghan.

Conor Glass enjoyed a hugely influential second-half with his two-point salvo and an excellent McEvoy point restoring Derry’s four-point lead by the 56th minute.

Substitutes Paul Mannion and Paddy Small hit back for Dublin but Murray’s point from a ‘mark’ in the 61st minute looked set to hand Derry sufficient breathing room.

However, that proved Derry’s final score of normal time and with Seán McMahon and McGarry on target, Dublin forced extra-time as Murphy was impeded, allowing O’Callaghan to restore the deadlock by full-time.

The first period of extra-time belonged to the respective Number 26s with Niall Toner kicking two points at one end while Killian O’Gara did likewise at the opposite end.

Another cracking McEvoy finish looked to have sealed Dublin’s fate, especially with Brian Fenton dismissed for retaliation but a O’Callaghan kept the ball alive inside the square, McEneaney was on hand to crash home and spare Dublin’s fate, for the time being at least.

O’Callaghan cracked the opening penalty onto the crossbar and while Mannion converted his penalty, subsequent misses by Loran O’Dell and Lahiff saw Derry earn a deserved win.

Scorers – Dublin: C O’Callaghan 0-5 (5f), C Basquel 1-1, G McEneaney 1-0, C Murphy, T Lahiff, R McGarry, K O’Gara 0-2 apiece, S MacMahon, B Howard, S Bugler, K McGinnis, N Scully, P Mannion, P Small 0-1 apiece. Derry: E McEvoy 2-2, S McGuigan 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), L Murray 0-3 (1 mark), C Glass (1 ‘45’), N Loughlin, N Toner 0-2 each, C Doherty, B Rogers, E Doherty 0-1 apiece.

Dublin: E Comerford; S MacMahon, C Murphy, E Murchan; J Small, B Howard, T Lahiff; B Fenton, K McGinnis; R McGarry, S Bugler, C Kilkenny; N Scully, C O’Callaghan, C Basquel. Subs: P Mannion for McGinnis (52), P Small for Basquel (57), L O’Dell for Scully (57), K O’Gara for McGarry (70), T Clancy for Murchan (80), C O’Connor for MacMahon (81), G McEneaney for Bugler (86).

Derry: O Lynch; C McCluskey, C McKaigue, D Baker; C Doherty, E McEvoy, P McGrogan; C Glass, B Rogers; E Doherty, C McFaul, P Cassidy; N Loughlin, S McGuigan, L Murray. Subs: G McKinless for McGrogan (half-time), N Toner for McKinless (52), C Murphy for Loughlin (66), D Gilmore for P Cassidy (70), E Bradley for Murray (77), D Cassidy for McKaigue (81), E Mulholland for C Doherty (88).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).

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