Dublin’s Paddy Small celebrates a point. James Crombie/INPHO

Dublin take top spot in Group 3 with 24-point win against Sligo

Con O’Callaghan finished with 1-5 while fellow goalscorer Colm Basquel struck 1-3.

Dublin 3-23

Sligo 0-8

Paul Keane reports from Kingspan Breffni Park

IN THE END, it was all pretty much as expected, Dublin comfortably accounting for Sligo in Cavan to claim top spot in Group 3 and automatic qualification for the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals.

Roscommon’s defeat elsewhere, allied to Dublin’s big win, meant Dessie Farrell’s side finished as clear winners of the group though there was no great room for error either.

Had Roscommon won convincingly against Kildare then Dublin would have had to do likewise and after a shaky first quarter – they actually trailed by a point after 18 minutes – they realised that this was an afternoon for taking care of business.

They duly did that, opening up with some terrific football from that stage onwards to blow Tony McEntee’s Connacht finalists away and leave 24 points between the teams for a finish.

Con O’Callaghan finished with 1-5 while fellow goalscorer Colm Basquel struck 1-3 during a Man of the Match display.

Defender Eoin Murchan got forward for a goal too with 10 different Dublin players getting on the scoresheet overall.

pat-spillane-and-colm-basquel Sligo’s Pat Spillane and Colm Basquel of Dublin. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Dublin will learn their quarter-final opposition tomorrow morning while Sligo’s season is over.

Sligo boss McEntee stated beforehand that, realistically, the Division 4 league champions weren’t targeting a win over All-Ireland hopefuls Dublin.

It didn’t appear that way initially with the Yeats men giving as good as they got for the opening 20 minutes.

Dublin hit the interval with a 1-13 to 0-4 half-time lead but that dozen-point gap failed to tell the true story of a highly competitive opening quarter.

In fact, with 18 minutes played Sligo led by 0-3 to 0-2 following points from Darragh Cummins, Niall Murphy and Sean Carrabine.

Murphy and Carrabine had the full attention of their markers, Murchan and Michael Fitzsimons, and were causing all sorts of bother.

They kicked themselves that they weren’t able to make better use of their possession with Murphy blasting two wides from acute angles on the right wing, two other shots dropping short from Sligo attacks and another hitting the post.

Pat Spillane also streaked through for a 24th minute shot on goal, outpacing Daire Newcombe, but pulled his shot left and wide.

There was a further blow for Sligo in the shape of an injury which forced Luke Towey off approaching the half-hour mark.

Dublin had already turned the screw by that stage with O’Callaghan’s 19th minute goal igniting a Sky Blues scoring blitz.

Ciaran Kilkenny, a late addition to the lineup wearing number 18, operated in a two-man inside forward line alongside Paddy Small, who finished with 0-5.

O’Callaghan played in a deeper role but still burst through for 1-4 in the opening half alone.

brian-cox-dejected Sligo’s Brian Cox dejected. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Dublin mixed it up with long, diagonal deliveries into the danger zone as well as impressive chains of hand-passing that soon tore the Sligo defence asunder.

Niall Scully kicked a terrific long ball towards the left of goal for Small to seize on before playing the ball across to O’Callaghan to palm in for the opening goal.

Sligo struggled to get their kick-outs away to black jerseys and found themselves under siege for the remainder of the half with Dublin outscoring the underdogs by 1-11 to 0-1 between the 19th minute and half-time.

Dublin put the game to bed in the minutes after half time when Basquel came alive with two terrific solo runs that sliced through the Sligo rearguard.

The Ballyboden man finished the first with a left footed shot to the net for a 40th minute goal that drew gasps from the crowd.

Three minutes later, Basquel took off again and this time found space close to goal with a clever solo dummy before playing in Murchan to palm home.

With 20 points now between them, Farrell took the opportunity to rest key players and veteran midfielder James McCarthy was first to be called ashore. John Small, Niall Scully and O’Callaghan followed him in the third quarter.

Dublin’s fifth substitution, Jack McCaffrey coming on for Murchan with around 10 minutes to go, drew one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon.

McCaffrey was involved in the buildup to late scores for Paul Mannion and Basquel too as the Dubs went through the motions in the closing stages.

They finished with 14 players as Sean Bugler was taken off in the 68th minute with an apparent injury.

Dublin scorers: Con O’Callaghan 1-5; Colm Basquel 1-3 (0-1f); Paddy Small 0-5 (3f); Eoin Murchan 1-0; Lee Gannon 0-3; Sean Bugler, Paul Mannion 0-2; John Small, Brian Howard, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1.

Sligo scorers: Sean Carrabine 0-4 (2f, 1 ’45): Niall Murphy 0-2, Darragh Cummins 0-1, Patrick O’Connor 0-1.


1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

2. Daire Newcombe (Lucan Sarsfields), 3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala), 4. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)

10. Brian Howard (Raheny), 5. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 7. Lee Gannon (Whitehall Colmcille)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny), 9. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)

12. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street), 11. Sean Bugler (St Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh), 15. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

13. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala), 18. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)


  • 19. Tom Lahiff (St Judes) for McCarthy 46
  • 23. Cian Murphy (Thomas Davis) for John Small 50
  • 20. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes) for Scully 50
  • 24. Lorcan O’Dell (Templeogue Synge Street) for O’Callaghan 53
  • 21. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf) for Murchan 59


1. Aidan Devaney (Calraigh/Naomh Iosef)

24. Luke Nicholson (Naoimh Muire), 6. Brian Cox (Calraigh/Naomh Iosef), 2. Evan Lyons (Gaeil na Seamroige)

7. Luke Towey (Gaeil Naomh Molaise), 21. Jack Lavin (Baile an Mhota), 4. Darragh Cummins (Naomh Uinsionn)

8. Cian Lally (Droim Cliabh/Ros Ceite), 9. Paul Kilcoyne (Naomh Muire)

5. Paul McNamara (Naomh Eoin), 10. Finnian Cawley (Naomh Fearnain), 17. Alan Reilly (Curraigh)

15. Niall Murphy (Cuil Irra/Leathros), 11. Sean Carrabine (Caisleain ui Conchubhair), 13. Pat Spillane (Naomh Jude)


  • 26. Mikey Gordon (Iascaigh) for Towey 29
  • 20. Gerard O’Kelly Lynch (Naomh Muire) for Lally 50
  • 25. Mark Walsh (Gaeil na hAbhainn Moire) for Cummins 51
  • 14. Patrick O’Connor (Naomh Fearnain) for Reilly 52
  • 12. Keelan Cawley (Cuil Irra/Leathros) for Lavin 61

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).

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