GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Dessie Farrell bemused by sluggish Dublin start against Monaghan
Last Updated: 09/02/20 7:07pm
Dessie Farrell was left scratching his head after his Dublin side put in a tame performance in the first half against Monaghan on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues started slowly, trailing by 10 points shortly before half-time, but improved after the break to rescue a dramatic draw.
"Very poor opening 35-odd minutes. Very different in the second half. So difficult to explain in isolation," reflected the Na Fianna man.
"Just very happy that we showed some sort of character, passion and desire to get ourselves back into it, and be somewhat more competitive than we were in the first half.
"They're an experienced bunch at this stage. They obviously weren't happy with it themselves. We were happy to have the opportunity at half-time to get in and regroup and to rectify some of the stuff that was going wrong for us, because there was a lot of it.
"It seemed that we lacked the intensity that was required, slow out of the traps. They were going at it hard, and we struggled to compete basically. They overran us, and they were up for it and wanted it more. That showed on the scoreboard at half-time."
Farrell hadn't foreseen such a flat performance coming.
"I actually thought that we prepared quite well this week," he said. "That's the nature of it. It's not an exact science. Sometimes you think you're well up for it and you can come out and the performance can be flat. I think that's what happened to us in the first half. I'm proud of the lads in the way they showed that character and heart to get back into it and make the second half much more competitive, and to ultimately get a point out of it at the end was great for us.
"I think that important to us in terms of where we're at, on our particular journey. It says a lot about the players, obviously of course. How they responded was really important and it was great to see that drive and determination wasn't found wanting at the end there."
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Meanwhile, Farrell's opposite number Seamus McEnaney was pleased with his side's efforts, but lamented their failure to see out the victory.
"I thought it was a very good performance from Monaghan," said Banty. "It's a big performance to come here and play the five-time All-Ireland champions. They got a bit of a run on us in the second half, the goal was a crucial score. We'd be disappointed with that goal and listen, we're disappointed we didn't get the two points. But we'd be absolutely delighted with how Monaghan performed. Our application of our system of play that we wanted to play when we came here was great.
"We made mistakes towards the end there but that's Gaelic football. In relation to the National Football League, we've three games played in it and we've three points and it's not a bad place for us."
Much was made of the amount of added time at the end of the second-half, during which Dublin closed a six-point gap. However, the Farney boss refused to be drawn on any complaints.
"Listen, there was six minutes on the clock. There was nine minutes played. I've enough problems of my own to sort out without worrying about the problems that (referee) Ciaran Branagan had tonight," he said.
Overall, the Ulster outfit are motoring nicely as they look to copper-fasten their Division 1 status and move up the table.
"There's loads of learning in this National Football League for everybody; for the players, for the management, for the group, but we'd be absolutely delighted of how these lads are going through the process," Banty concluded. "How they've applied themselves and their application to what we want to do."