LAST Saturday evening, Dublin showcased their championship pedigree as they overcame a determined Monaghan side by a margin of seven points in a rain-soaked battle at Croke Park. Despite the challenging conditions, Monaghan fans turned out in full force, with unwavering support for their team throughout the intense contest.
Monaghan exhibited commendable fight throughout the match, keeping Dublin on their toes until the final quarter. However, Dublin’s aggressiveness and incredible pressing began to show, ultimately tipping the scales in their favour.
The talking point of the game came down to the final ten minutes of the match. It was a game of 60 minutes, back and forth but it was at the 59th minute where the Dubs showed why they are just the best at pressing and communicating.
The defining moment of the game unfolded in the fourth quarter, as Dublin swiftly sealed their victory within 90 seconds. It all started with a kick-out from Monaghan’s Rory Beggan, who found Gary Mohan on the wing. Mohan out-fielded James McCarthy and cleverly knocked the ball to Hughes, who then picked out McManus for a mark.
At the 59:20 mark, McManus converted the mark to level the scores at 0-12 apiece. However, Dublin quickly seized control of the game.
At 59:55, Cluxton initiated a sequence that led to McCaffrey’s involvement.
At 60:15, Fenton showcased his prowess by breaking through a gap and curling over a point, giving Dublin a narrow lead of 0-13 to 0-12.
At 60:35, Beggan’s kick-out found Wylie near his own ’21, marking the start of trouble for Monaghan.
Dublin executed an exquisite press, exemplified by Paddy Small chasing Wylie down the sideline. Small’s relentless pursuit forced Wylie to turn back and pass to O’Hanlon, who found himself closely trailed by Gannon, Small, and Costello. O’Hanlon was eventually forced to return the ball to Beggan, who faced the combined pressure of Mannion, Con, Small, and Costello. O’Hanlon then touched the ball on the ground, resulting in a free kick.
At 61:50, Mannion confidently slotted the free, extending Dublin’s lead to 0-14 to 0-12. This pivotal moment highlighted Dublin’s collective effort to apply intense pressure and disrupt Monaghan’s play.
From that point onward, Dublin regained complete control. Their power play continued as Beggan’s subsequent long kickout was lost, and Murchan collected the loose ball, leading to a score from McCaffrey. With the clock ticking at 63:00, Dublin secured a three-point advantage.
Monaghan struggled to mount a comeback as Dublin’s suffocating pressure continued to stifle their attacking opportunities. Beggan’s next kickout was forced short, resulting in a point from McCarron, reducing the deficit to two points. However, it would be the last time Monaghan managed to take a shot in the entire match, with 11 minutes played from that point.
Dublin further extended their lead, with Fenton slotting a point at 68:25, followed by a free converted by Rock at 71:15. The final blow came at 72:55 when Dublin secured a goal via Rock, emphatically sealing their victory.
Despite Beggan’s impressive success rate of over 80 per cent on his kick-outs, it was Dublin’s relentless pressing in the final 10 minutes that ultimately made the difference. This strategic approach, honed on the training field, proved instrumental and earned praise for the Dublin players.
As the All-Ireland final approaches, spectators can anticipate a thrilling blockbuster clash, with Dublin’s formidable prowess on full display.
Founder of GAA Periodization
Eleiko Strength Coach