Glass: Teams must meet Dubs head on

By Michael McMullan

DERRY captain Conor Glass believes teams must go “head-to-head” with Dublin as opposed to any cautious approach of sitting back.

Speaking after Sunday’s dramatic penalty shootout win over the All-Ireland champions secured a first league title since 2008, Glass commented about the enjoyable nature of the blockbuster.

In a week when former Dublin supremo Jim Gavin is set to deliver the early findings of his Football Review Committee on the state of the game, Sunday’s 2-21 to 3-18 classic has been refreshing talking point.

“It was a perfect day for football,” said Glass, summing up the dressing mood of getting to play in such a high octane game.

“We made life hard for us, we probably won the game three times, but here, it’s not always going to be pretty. It was just enjoyable getting to play in it.”

It was a polar appositive of the league meeting four weeks earlier when an understrength Derry side sat back and allowed Dublin to come onto to them in a 1-16 to 1-11 defeat at Celtic Park.

Brian Howard and John Small made use of the sparsely populated middle third to take the game to Derry’s compact defence.

It was a similar passive performance to the first half of the 2023 game before Derry turned the tables for a one-point win thanks to a late Brendan Rogers winner.

On that occasion, it was a more man-on-man approach that bore fruit and something Derry took into Sunday at Croke Park.

“If you’re going to play the Dubs, you can’t sit back and play cautious football and try to keep them to a low score, it’s not going to be the way,” Glass said, after Sunday’s final, of the learnings from playing against Dublin.

“You have to go head to head with them, and that’s what we’ve done today, went head-to-head.

“We were going after their kick-out, same with after ours, it was just a head-to-head game of football, and as I said, it was enjoyable play in and it’ll stand to us.

“We didn’t play our best football today, definitely not. They (Dublin) played very good in patches but it’ll stand to us going down the line.”

After winning both the McKenna Cup and National League titles, Derry’s next test is the visit of Donegal to Celtic Park on Saturday, April 20.

With Donegal also winning on Sunday in Croke Park, it only builds up the clash even more, if that was possible.

“We haven’t really thought about Donegal to be honest,” Glass said, pointing how taking on Dublin was the main focus ahead of Sunday’s league final showdown.

“Now, over the next three weeks, we can dive into it, but we’ll enjoy this, it’s not often you play in a National League final and beat the Dubs in their own patch, so we’ve got to enjoy it.”

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