Late free succumbs Dublin to relegation from NFL Division One
Jack McCarron pointed a free deep into stoppage-time at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones this afternoon to consign Dublin to relegation from Division One of the Allianz National Football League.
Having found themselves six points behind heading into the final-quarter, Dublin looked set to preserve their top-flight status when a Dean Rock penalty restored parity in the 71st-minute. A draw would have seen Dublin finishing in sixth place – ahead of Monaghan and Kildare on score difference – but McCarran’s final intervention saw them suffering a fatal 3-13 to 1-18 defeat.
As ever, there was considerable local interest in the Dublin team for this game. Joining Ballyboden St Enda’s star Robbie McDaid in the Blues’ starting line-up were St Jude’s man Tom Lahiff and Templeogue Synge Street’s Niall Scully.
Thomas Davis defender Cian Murphy was initially named at left corner-back, but was instead introduced off the bench along with Scully’s club-mate Lorcan O’Dell.
Thanks to points from Sean Bugler, Cormac Costello (two) and Dean Rock, Dublin stormed into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with seven minutes on the clock, but the Monaghan challenge subsequently came to life.
An unanswered haul of 1-4 without reply – including a Sean Jones goal – handed the initiative to the Farney men and Dublin suddenly found themselves under intense pressure. Three frees from Dean Rock and a single effort by Costello left Dublin just two points adrift at the interval (1-7 to 0-8), only for Monaghan to reinforce their authority on the resumption.
After knocking over a couple of quick points through Gary Mohan and Kieran Hughes, Seamus McEnaney’s charges added a penalty from the reliable McCarron to move 2-9 to 0-8 in front on 43 minutes.
This was throwing down the gauntlet to Dublin, but with Rock, Costello and Bugler enhancing their personal tallies, they brought their deficit back down to three on the stroke of 50 minutes.
The Metropolitans also gained a numerical advantage following Ryan Wylie’s dismissal for a second yellow card offence. However, a second McCarron goal preceded James McCarthy being given his marching orders on 56 minutes which put Monaghan within reach of a ninth consecutive season in Division One.
There was a big push from the 2021 joint-champions in the closing moments, however, as scores from Lee Gannon, Brian Howard and Rock kept them in touch.
A nail-biting finale lay in store when Rock converted from the spot after O’Dell had been impeded inside the square and Dublin appeared to have momentum on their side during this juncture. Monaghan had other ideas, though, and McCarran’s last-gasp free means Dublin will be returning to Division Two for the first time since 2008.