Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park
DUBLIN’S REMARKABLE UNBEATEN record in league and championship continues but it took an expertly converted injury-time free from Dean Rock to ensure they rescued a Division 1 league draw against Tyrone tonight.
Jim Gavin’s side kicked the final five points of the game to draw level with Rock nailing three frees and sublime efforts from play registered by Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny.
Rock’s 74th minute free – after defender Michael Fitzsimons has been fouled – crowned their comeback on a freezing night in Croke Park after they had trailed by 1-7 to 0-5 in the 60th minute.
It was an impressive show of character from Rock after he had missed a penalty early in the second half, when Niall Morgan beat away his right-foot shot following a foul on Dublin forward Paul Mannion by Sean Cavanagh.
The result stretches Dublin’s unbeaten run to 31 league and championship games since that loss to Kerry on 1 March 2015.
Tyrone came desperately close to victory in a game where they were reduced to 14 men in the 47th minute when Mark Bradley was sent-off for an off-the-ball incident involving Dublin defender Jonny Cooper, who was booked.
That was a setback for a Tyrone team who had made a major breakthrough moments earlier when Aidan McCrory got on the end of a team move to boot home the only goal of the game in front of Hill 16.
Yet Mickey Harte’s side still stayed in the ascendancy on the scoreboard for long stretches. When man-of-the-match Niall Sludden fired over his third point of the game with ten minutes of normal time, a major victory was within their grasp but they failed to hang on.
Dublin also finished the match with 14 men after James McCarthy limped off through injury and they had already made six substitutions at that stage.
Their resilience surfaced in the last quarter as they dug out a draw in a game where Tyrone had made the headway for long stages. Tyrone enjoyed a 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead and of Dublin’s three first-half points, two were kicked over by defenders Philly McMahon and Jonny Cooper.
Peter Harte was typically influential for Tyrone as they coped in the absence of All-Star Mattie Donnelly with Kilkenny’s point the solitary score from play by a Dublin forward.
Yet despite the boost of that McCrory goal, last year’s Ulster champions were pegged back at the finish and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-6 (0-6f), Ciaran Kilkenny, Brian Fenton, Philly McMahon, Jonny Cooper 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tyrone: Niall Sludden 0-3, Aidan McCrory 1-0, Peter Harte 0-2 (0-2f), Conor Meyler, Declan McClure 0-1 each.
1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)
3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
2. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)
19. Johnny Cooper (Na Fianna)
5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
7. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)
of the team
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8. Michael Darragh MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
9. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
17. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St-Enda’s)
12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
10. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge-Street)
15. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
14. Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Synge-Street)
11. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
4. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrine’s) for Cooper (half-time)
23. Kevin McManamon (St Judes) for MacAuley (43)
26. Ciaran Reddin (St Maur’s) for Mannion (50)
18. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf) for McCaffrey (50)
13. Jason Whelan (Ballymun Kickhams) for Small (57)
21. Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens)
1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)
2. Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghayaryan)
4. Cathal McCarron (Dromore)
5. Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
22. Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciaran)
25. Justin McMahon (Omagh)
8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
12. Declan McClure (Clonoe)
10. Conor Meyler (Omagh)
11. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
6. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán)
13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)
14. Cathal McShane (Eoghan Roe O’Neills)
17. Mark Bradley (Killyclogher)
20. Sean Cavanagh (Moy) for McShane (half-time)
7. Jonathan Monroe (Carrickmore) for McMahon (47)
26. David Mulgrew (Ardboe) for Meyler (51)
21. Conal McCann (Killyclogher) for McCurry (62)
9. Padraig McNulty (Dungannon) for McClure (72)
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)
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