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Cormac Costello stakes claim for starting berth as Dubs cruise to victory over valiant Rossies

Allianz Football League Division One South:



By Tom McLoughlin

It was a case of no Dean Rock, no problem for Dublin as Cormac Costello bagged 1-13 (0-3 from play) in Rock’s absence to stake a claim for inclusion in Farrell’s first fifteen come championship. The Whitehall St Colmcille’s man may even be disappointed his tally was not even greater as Dublin were quite uniquely awarded three penalties in this game with Costello scoring just one goal and one point from his three spot kicks.

Costello was however, by far and away the star of the show in a game that always seemed like it had but one outcome whilst at the same time, credit must go to Roscommon for staying competitive throughout. At times the discipline of the Shannonsiders let them down badly, conceding some needless first half frees away for Costello to convert. Coupled with having to play 20 minutes of the game with just fourteen men due to black cards in each half for Brian Stack and Fergal Lennon respectively, Roscommon’s mountain to climb in trying to defeat the Dubs became an even more insurmountable summit.

Recently Dublin have a canny knack of unearthing one or two gems during the league to blood for the battle of championship, and before the start of today’s proceedings, they made four late changes with goalkeeper Michael Shiel, Tom Lahiff, Seán McMahon and Dara Mullin all coming into the starting line-up. More seasoned campaigners such as Fitzsimons and Cooper took their places on the bench and Dessie Farrell, we presume watching from home following his suspension, will have been quietly pleased with the displays of his young guns as the afternoon progressed.

Today’s encounter in Dr. Hyde Park was quite free flowing at times and the Division 2 league winners started the game well with Donie Smith scoring their first two points, the second a beautiful left footed effort from distance to give the westerners a 0-2 to 0-1 lead. Cormac Costello was leading the Dublin charge at this stage, scoring three of Dublin’s first four points, the third of which, and his first from play, was a beautiful right footed effort after some poor play out from the back from the Roscommon defence. This score made it 0-4 to 0-3 in Dublin’s favour after 10 minutes and the game was bubbling up nicely.

It was at this juncture Roscommon spurned their best and arguably only goal opportunity. Cathal Cregg ran through the left of the Dublin defence to fist pass the ball over to Diarmuid Murtagh. In a move almost identical to David Clifford’s first goal for Kerry yesterday against Galway, Cregg’s pass cut out the Dublin keeper Shiel completely and the goal beckoned for Murtagh to palm to the net. Unfortunately for the home side, Murtagh’s palmed effort went high and hit the post when really it was far easier to score. This could and should have put Roscommon in the lead and this was as good as it got for Anthony Cunningham’s men.

The key moment of the game came not long after which saw Paddy Small cutting through the Roscommon defense and heading for goal only to be brought down outside the large parallelogram by Brian Stack. Referee Derek O’Mahoney deemed this to be a black card offense for Stack and under the new rules introduced this year, awarded a penalty for denying a goal scoring opportunity which Costello coolly stroked home to Colm Lavin’s left with the Roscommon keeper having dived the opposite way to make the score 1-8 to 0-5 at the water break. Having played quite well in spells, Roscommon found themselves six points in arrears and facing the next 10 minutes playing without their full complement of players.

Costello, having scored a majestic mark from close to the right hand touchline just before the penalty incident, would score three more frees before the end of the half to bring his first half scoring spree to 1-8. Roscommon were guilty of some lazy and tired defending at this stage with some needless fouls given away. In contrast, Dublin were efficient and effortless, making the most of almost all of their opportunities in the first half with the notable exception of a fantastic save from Colm Lavin in the 30th minute to deny that man again, Cormac Costello’s low left foot effort. On another day, Costello could have had four goals.

On a positive note for Roscommon, their full forward line were causing the Dublin full back line cause for concern, scoring 0-7 between the two Murtaghs and Donie Smith. For Roscommon’s seventh point, Diarmuid Murtagh cut in past James McCarthy to kick a tidy effort off his left, whilst Ciarán Murtagh scored arguably the point of the game before the end of the half with a sumptuous curling beauty off his left foot from close to the right touchline. Enda Smith and Niall Daly were also taking the fight to Dublin and despite playing for much of the second quarter with fourteen men, Roscommon kept parity with the Dubs following Costello’s goal and would go into the break just six points down with the score reading 1-12 to 0-9.

The second half was less of a free flowing affair and the All-Ireland champions were awarded their second penalty not long after the restart for a drag down by Roscommon full back Fergal Lennon on Dara Mullin. Once again, the foul was deemed a black card offense and a goal scoring opportunity and thus the referee felt compelled to award a penalty to Dublin as well as dismissing Lennon for ten minutes. However, on this occasion, Costello struck his penalty hard to the right of Lavin and saw his effort cannon off the post.

Roscommon were still in this game – but only just. The penalty miss seemed to give them renewed impetus and despite being a man down, Roscommon kicked the first two points of the second half through Donie Smith, the second a long range free to leave the score at 1-12 to 0-11. However, this was as close as it would get for the rest of the game as they lost their foothold in the game and Dublin reeled off six of the next seven points to put daylight between the sides.

Paddy Small was proving a nuisance for the Roscommon defence popping up with a simple left foot score after a lovely one-two with Mullin. Brian Fenton, who was dominant in midfield also got in on the act with a trademark score during this period following a rampaging run. If Costello was the star performer of the first half, Castleknock man Ciarán Kilkenny was the protagonist for Dublin in the second half and scored two points during this period of dominance for the men from the capital and was linking up well with Con O’Callaghan. The Cuala man strangely did not manage to get his name on the score sheet but can be satisfied with his link up play and assists.

The game was up at this stage and both managements made numerous substitutions in the final ten minutes. Ciarán Murtagh scored two fine points in the closing stages to bring his tally for the day to 0-6 including four from play. In the final minutes, Dublin were awarded a third penalty when following a marauding run, Brian Fenton’s goal bound effort was blocked by the foot of Niall Daly. Costello, frustratingly for himself, but perhaps kindly for Roscommon, blasted his penalty over the bar to leave a final scoreline of 1-22 to 0-16 bringing his own personal bounty for the day to 1-13. It could easily have been 4-12 for Costello but perhaps a larger defeat would have been harsh on a Roscommon side who gave their all.

Next up for Dublin in Round Two of the league is an intriguing clash with old foes Kerry in Semple Stadium on Sunday. On the basis of Kerry’s performance yesterday, they certainly have the forward line to threaten the Dubs in what should be the game of Round Two of the league. Both Clifford and Costello raised plenty of green and white flags this weekend so the potential for an enthralling shootout is in store.

As for Roscommon, they will face neighbours Galway in Pearse Stadium next Sunday in a dress rehearsal for their Connaught championship semi-final. Roscommon can certainly take pride from today’s performance, something which cannot be said for Galway after their pitiful display in Tralee There is no reason why Anthony Cunningham’s men should not travel to Salthill confident of securing a victory.

Scorers – Roscommon: Donie Smith 0-6 (5 frees), Ciarán Murtagh 0-6 (2 frees), Enda Smith 0-1, Diarmuid Murtagh 0-1, Niall Daly 0-1, Eddie Nolan 0-1

Dublin: Cormac Costello 1-13 (1 penalty, 9 frees, 1 mark), Ciarán Kilkenny 0-4 (1 mark), Paddy Small 0-2, Tom Lahiff 0-1, Dara Mullin 0-1, Brian Fenton 0-1

Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Fergal Lennon, Gary Patterson; Conor Hussey, Niall Daly, Brian Stack; Eddie Nolan, Shane Killoran; Niall Kilroy, Cathal Cregg, Enda Smith; Ciarán Murtagh, Donie Smith, Diarmuid Murtagh. Subs: Cian McKeon for Cregg (41), Conor Daly for Stack (46), Conor Cox for D. Murtagh (50), David Neary for Lennon (50), Richard Hughes for C. Daly (55), Hubert Darcy for Killoran (55),

Dublin: Michael Shiel; Tom Lahiff, David Byrne, Seán McMahon; Eoin Murchan, John Small, Robert McDaid; Brian Fenton, James McCarthy; Niall Scully, Ciarán Killenny, Dara Mullin; Paddy Small, Con O’Callaghan, Cormac Costello. Subs: Michael Fitzsimons for S. McMahon (50), Colm Basquel for Mullin (50), Conor McHugh for P. Small (55), Peadar O’Cofaigh-Byrne for Lahiff (55), Eric Lowndes for McCarthy(63), Ryan Basquel for O’Callaghan (63), P. McMahon on for Murchan (66)

Venue: Dr. Hyde Park, Roscomon

Man of the Match: Cormac Costello

Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

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