Dublin boss Jim Gavin appeared to be more embarrassed than upset as his experimental side lost by a point to college outfit DCU in the O’Byrne Cup at Parnell Park on Sunday.
Ballymun’s Davy Byrne scored a 72nd minute point for the students to seal a 3-8 to 0-16 win over the All-Ireland champions after the Dubs had led by six points with just 15 minutes to go.
A red card for Paul Flynn and a black card for Rory O’Carroll sent off cost Dublin dearly in those final minutes as they suffered their first competitive defeat since last spring.
Dublin will have the next two weekends off now ahead of their National League campaign but manager Gavin insists they will cope.
“We have a standby plan, as you always do, so we’ll just implement that now. We’ll have matches ourselves over the next few weeks,” Gavin said.
“There is great competition for places in the squad anyway so we’ll use those internal games to our benefit. It’s always disappointing to lose a game. But in terms of our work ethic, it was excellent.
“I think both teams will have learned a lot from it. DCU are a very well conditioned team, very well coached. And they were justified the win in the end.
Dublin had Flynn sent off for a straight red card offense which will result in a four week ban and make him unavailable for the National League opener against Kerry at Croke Park at the start of February.
O’Byrne Cup champions in 2010 and 2012, DCU’s students will now meet Meath in Sunday’s semifinal in Navan with their eye on another big scalp.