Despite two goals from Con O'Callaghan's younger brother Niall, Dessie Farrell's first game in charge of Dublin ended in a one-point defeat to Longford in today's O'Byrne Cup semi-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
A late free from midfielder Darren Gallagher gave the hosts the win and a place in next weekend's final against Offaly on a day when Farrell fielded an experimental line-up and used a whopping 23 subs in the absence of last year's All-Ireland winning squad, who are only returning from their team holiday to Bali this weekend.
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.
Ross McGowan, who was one of 10 first half replacements introduced by Dublin, made an immediate impact by setting up Killian O'Gara - younger brother of recently-retired Eoghan - for the opening goal in the 18th minute. The sides were tied on 0-6 to 1-3 at half-time with the returning Rian Brady accounting for two of Longford's first half points.
O'Callaghan took centre stage after the restart with goals in the 36th and 50th minute. But Kevin Diffley netted at the other end and two frees from his midfield partner Darren Gallagher left the home side just a point adrift with five minutes remaining.
The midlanders, who made just three substitutions, drew level in the first minute of injury through Darragh Doherty before Gallagher won it with his fifth point in the 74th minute.
Longford - P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O'Farrell; I O'Sullivan, M Quinn, C P Smyth; D Gallagher (0-5, 4f), K Diffley (1-0); G Rogers, D Mimnagh, D Reynolds; R Brady (0-5, 1f), J Hagan, O Kenny (0-2). Subs: D Doherty (0-1) for G Rogers, P Lynn for O Kenny, L Connerton for D Reynolds.
Dublin - M Shiel; CJ Smith (0-1), E O'Brien, D Byrne; N McGovern, G Hannigan, C Murphy; E O Conghaile, T Lahiff; N Walsh, D O'Brien, G O'Reilly (0-1); K O'Gara (1-0), N O'Callaghan (2-0), C Sallier. Subs: R McGowan for C Murphy, S Fulham for K O'Gara, R Deegan for G O'Reilly, S Cleary for CJ Smith, G Seaver (0-2) for N Walsh, D Quinn for C Sallier, D McLoughlin (0-1) for E O'Brien, N Doran (0-1) for T Lahiff, E O'Dea for N McGovern, C Howley for E O Conghaile, E O Conghaile for T Lahiff, G O'Reilly for R Deegan, N Walsh for G Seaver, C Murphy for S Cleary, C Sallier for N O'Callaghan, E O'Brien for D Quinn, K O'Gara for T Lahiff, N McGovern for D McLoughlin, T Lahiff for N Doran, G Seaver for S Fulham, CJ Smith for G Hannigan, N O'Callaghan for C Sallier, E O'Dea for C Murphy.
Referee - A Coyne.Tweet