Win over Down sees Dubs into League semis

Dublin's Paul Mannion in action against Down's Brendan McArdle

Dublin's Paul Mannion in action against Down's Brendan McArdle. Picture by Paul Mohan/Dublin County board

Dublin made a return to winning ways in Croke Park on Saturday night with an impressive  1-15 to 0-9 point win over Down.

Jim Gavin’s men produced a powerful second-half performance to seal a win that sees them qualify for the  Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-finals with one game to spare.

Down, who came to Croke Park with the fear of relegation looming, made an impressive start and hit Dublin with some good early scores from Mark Poland and Kevin McKernan. They led the Dubs by 0-7 points to 0-5 at half-time, leaving the 10,825 people in attendance wondering whether a second home defeat in two weeks was on the cards.

Dublin’s lack of focus and high error count were the deciding factors in them heading to the dressing room behind. They missed five easy frees in the first half that would have made a dent in the Down lead if converted. Jim Gavin and his backroom team must have honed in on this statistic during the half-time break, as his team came back out looking a lot sharper and on-form.

The absence of star forward Bernard Brogan was again evident in the first half. However, Jim Gavin’s choice of forwards stepped up to the mark in the final 35 minutes this week, with some fine scores from Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Mannion and a powerful goal from All-Ireland hero Kevin McManamon.

After a disappointing first loss in their 2013 league campaign last week at the hands of Tyrone, Dublin will be happy to have now regained the form that they so badly missed as they head into the business end of the league campaign.

Due to other results in the Division, Dublin’s win has cemented their place in the league semi-finals, with their opponents to be confirmed after the next round of matches. Dublin will travel to Donegal on 7 April to face the All-Ireland champions in their final league game before the much-awaited semi-final.

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