Derry v Dublin: Oak Leafers in Park stumble
Dublin 1-11 Derry 0-7
Dublin brought Derry crashing back down to earth at Parnell Park on Saturday night and boss Damian Cassidy had no complaints about his side's comprehensive defeat.
The Oak Leaf men were overrun in the second half and failed to score for the final half hour of the match.
They lacked physical power up front and only managed a paltry two points from play in this Division 1 tie.
On the evidence of the weekend very few of the players on show will be around for the summer unless they had a lot more in the locker — but it is early days yet.
Derry started without the Bradley brothers — Eoin (suspended) and Paddy (injured) — Enda Muldoon, Niall McCusker, Kevin McGuckin and the McGoldrick brothers — Barry and Sean Leo — who are travelling.
On the flipside Dublin captain Paul Griffin was the only starter from last summer to take the field for the Sky Blues so Derry would have expected to do a lot better.
This was a far cry from the side that racked up 1-18 in the first round win over Tyrone, but they were decimated by injuries.
“It was a big change from our performance last week,” said Cassidy. “We came down with a skeletal squad and we showed our inexperience in many respects.
“I’m not too downhearted because it's the second game of the league and whenever you're doing what we're trying to do you're going to get setbacks.
“Dublin had the fitness to pull away in the last 15 minutes. That was a big factor in the game.
“From our perspective we gave the ball away approximately 32 or 33 times in that game. There's no way you're going to win the game by giving away that much ball.”
The first half was an ugly spectacle with both sides making basic mistakes in possession time and time again and the ball turned over repeatedly.
Dublin pulled most of their attack back into defence at times and full forward Blaine Kelly often found himself isolated against four Derry defenders as the Dubs lost their shape and their way.
Derry led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break, but failed to turn up for the second half.
Cassidy said: “We were in a position where we could have pushed on in the second-half and the game was managed for quite a long period in that second-half.
“The team that could put one or two points of space between the other was going to have an awful lot of momentum going into that last 15 minutes. Dublin capitalised on those opportunities and pushed on.
“I don't have any complaints. On the night they were the better team. We deserved to lose.
“There's nothing in our performance that we could turn around and say we deserved to win that game or take something from it.”
Derry had to ship the blow of losing their biggest scoring threat — Eoin Bradley — who was banned in the lead-up to the game after an incident in the win over Tyrone.
“At the minute there's players getting a fair crack and an opportunity and it's up to them to take that opportunity,” Cassidy said.
“That's the bottom line at this time of year.”
Dermot McBride at corner back was easily Derry’s best player over the course of the match with Gerard O’Kane, Aidy McLaughlin and Liam Hinphey showing well in patches. But it was a disjoined display and one that Derry will want to forget, particularly after last year’s brilliant fluid effort in the 0-20 to 1-12 win over the Dubs at the same venue.
Dublin: M Savage; P Conlon, Rory O'Carroll, M Fitzsimons; P Griffin, C O'Sullivan, J McCarthy; E Fennell (0-2), R McConnell (0-1); A Hubbard, M McAuley (0-1), P Flynn; T Diamond, B Kelly (0-1), K McManamon (1-1). Subs: D Nelson 0-1 (for J Brogan ht), B McManamon 0-1 (for Diamond ht), D Kelly (for Hubbard 48mins), B Brogan 0-3, 2fs (for Kelly 51mins), P Casey (for K McManamon 72mins).
Derry: B Gillis; B Og McAlary, G O'Kane, D McBride; C Kielt, M Lynch (0-2, 2fs), L Hinphey; F Doherty, Patsy Bradley; J Diver, J Kielt (0-4, 3fs) A McCartney; E Lynn, C O'Boyle, A McLaughlin (0-1). Subs: M McGoldrick (for McAlary 22mins), M Craig (for McCartney 30mins), S Bradley (for Lynn 40mins), B Mullan (for O’Boyle 48mins), L Moore (for S Bradley 58mins).
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).