Mixed performances for Dublin in the league

By Conor Lennon.

Dublin’s footballers managed to mix the good with the bad during this year’s league campaign.

Despite comprehensive victories over Armagh, Donegal and Laois, surprise loses to both Down and Mayo meant they missed out on a League semi-final spot.

Dublin were also undermined by indiscipline throughout the campaign,with four players sent off in their first six games and Bryan Cullen retrospectively red-carded.

This lack of discipline was most obvious against Mayo, when Paul Flynn and Dairmaud Connolly were both sent off as Dublin succumbed to a 12 point loss.

One good point from the league campaign was the emergence of several young players who will be fighting for selection later in the year.

These included Craig Dias, who impressed at half-back with some composed displays and Johnny Cooper, who showed promise as both a corner-back and attacking half-back. Paul Brogan has also continued to develop at half-forward.

Despite being without Bernard Brogan for most of the league, Dublin never lacked for scoring options.

Dairmaud Connolly hit a hat-trick against Armagh and fivepoints from play against Laois, with Eoghan O’Gara kicking 1-5 in the same match.

Alan Brogan came back from injury to make a telling impact and Paddy Andrews, returning to the panel after his spectacular year with St Brigid’s in the club championships last year, laid down a marker for the rest of the season.

Dublin will open their defence of the Sam Maguire against the winners of either Louth or Westmeath in Croke Park, and while the champions will be hot favourites, their manager knows not to take either team for granted.

Westmeath will be buoyed by their Garrycastle contingent, as well as John Heslins return from Australia. Louth meanwhile finished their league campaign with a 9 point win over Meath and so are coming into form at the right time of the year.

Photo by Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

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