"It's a sign of where Dublin are - lacking confidence" - Kilkenny's botch-up uncharacteristic for him and Dublin 11 months ago

"It's a sign of where Dublin are - lacking confidence" - Kilkenny's botch-up uncharacteristic for him and Dublin

Gareth McKinless made a goal out of nothing against Dublin.

At his best, the Ballinderry club-man is a tornado of energy and, as soon as he came off the bench at half-time, he had only one thing on his mind.


Derry were five down at that stage, they needed a goal and McKinless was the man who made it happen.

A goal wasn't initially on when he took a hand-pass off Shane McGuigan but he stormed past John Small and Dean Rock with such gusto that, suddenly,  there was a sense all around Celtic Park that this move wasn't going dead until the green flag was up.

Niall Toner fed off McKinless' energy to beat a sluggish Eoin Murchan to the break and just like that, just like they've done so many times over the past two years, Derry almost forced a goal over the line. You can watch it here.

4 March 2023; Gareth McKinless of Derry is tackled by Dean Rock of Dublin during the Allianz Football League Division 2 match between Derry and Dublin at Celtic Park in Derry. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was the polar opposite down the other end of the field 20 minutes later.

In Ciaran Kilkenny's defence, Dublin weren't craving a goal like Derry were but as the old saying goes, you don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Dublin were one point up at the time, with 64 minutes played, and a goal would almost have meant game-over at that stage, such is the psychological blow it would have caused. On the other hand, with ten minutes to go, a point meant very little for Dublin.


But with the alam bells ringing, Kilkenny took that point.

He bore down on Odhran Lynch's goal, paying no head to the gaping, calling and wide-open Cormac Costello on the other side of the box. Costello was soon exasperated as the shoo-in goal went abegging.

"It was awful and it was so unlike Dublin," said Darran O'Sullivan on Monday's GAA Hour.

"It's very unlike him," added the Kerryman.


"It's very rare that you'd criticise him over the last number of years. The only excuse you could make for him is that maybe he had the blinkers on this time, but for so many years, they were the most ruthless team and it didn't matter what they were up by. If there was a goal on, they were taking it.

"That's what their success has been built on, creating these opportunities, and look, it was the losing of the game.

"Some people would say - take the extra point - but there was ten minutes to go. Some people would say keep ticking on the scores but if there's a goal at your mercy, you've to go for it. It's unusual for Dublin and very unusual for Kilkenny."

"He was probably thinking safety first but I think that just shows the cracks in confidence," added O'Sullivan, "the bit of doubt in Dublin that's there at the moment, and we're just not used to it.


"Fortune favours the brave and moments like that can define a season in some ways.

"The Toner goal was a sign of where Derry are, in that they made the opportunity out of nothing, and on the other side, the Kilkenny one is a sign of where Dublin are - lacking a bit confidence."

You can listen to the full chat here.