The first game of the Dessie Farrell era has ended in defeat, with Longford running out one-point winners in the O'Byrne Cup semi-final this afternoon.
While none of Dublin's first choice players were togged out, it is no doubt a game the new manager would have wanted to win. Not only this, but it was also an opportunity for unproven players to put their hand up for selection for the league and championship.
The away side would lead for the majority of the game, although Longford always remained within touching distance.
The flow of the game certainly wasn't helped by the amount of substitutions made. There are no limits to the amount of personnel changes that can be made during an O'Byrne Cup game, which in theory should give all players a chance to play in the pre-season.
It is a decent idea, but Dublin certainly used it to the full extent this afternoon. Dessie Farrell seemed to employ a basketball-like rolling subs system, running players in and out every few minutes.
Those in attendance indicated that it certainly had an effect on the quality of the spectacle on show. In all, Farrell made ten subs in the opening period.
HT: Longford 0-6 Dublin 1-3. Killian O’Gara with the goal. Dessie Farrell has used 10 subs in the first half, which has stopped any flow to the game. It’s unlimited subs.
— Gordon Manning (@Gordon_Manning) January 11, 2020
That pace didn't slow up in the second period. By the end of the contest, they would make 23 substitutions.
Dublin double substitution with two who'd been taken off put back on. 600 words of match reports on this game will be of Dublin line-up.
— Kieran Cunningham (@KCsixtyseven) January 11, 2020
23 subs altogether for Dublin. Wing-back Cian Murphy had the distinction of being taken off twice! https://t.co/ZaXwdGpNQA
— Kevin O'Brien (@Kevobrien) January 11, 2020
While the constant fresh legs could have been a help, the game would ultimately be snatched by Longford at the death. They would score two points in additional time to secure a one-point victory.
Longford will now face Offaly in the final, who overcame Westmeath in Tullamore.