Holders Dublin effortlessly progressed to the last four in Leinster when thumping Louth by 5-21 to 0-10 at O’Moore Park.
Courtesy of their biggest-ever championship win over Louth, Jim Gavin’s swashbuckling team will take on either Kildare or Longford in a fortnight for a place in the Leinster final, Con O’Callaghan, Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley, Cormac Costello and Philly McMahon netting in the midlands tonight in front of 14,380 spectators.
Despite playing with 14 men for more than 45 minutes due to the sending off of Paul Mannion, the Sam Maguire Cup holders were never troubled as they opened their defence of the provincial crown with the easiest of victories.
The game was over as anything approaching a meaningful contest long before the short whistle sounded with the Leinster and All-Ireland champions ahead by nine points, 1-12 to 0-4
Costello proved an adequate alternative to Dean Rock as he speared over nine first-half points, while O’Callaghan finished off the game’s opening goal with twelve minutes left before the break.
Ryan Burns, who replaced Sam Mulroy in the starting XV, popped over the first point for the underdogs but Dublin replied with scores from Costello (three frees and a ‘45’), James McCarthy, Ciaran Kilkenny and Mannion to lead by six points to one after 19 minutes.
Costello sent a goal chance right and wide after Andy McDonnell notched a second Louth goal. No sooner had Burns reduced the arrears to four than O’Callaghan bundled the ball to the back of the Louth net. Moments later, in the 25th minute, the Dubs were reduced to 14 men as Mannion was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Conal McKeever.
But the defending champions nevertheless registered the next score, Costello winning and converting a couple of frees to make it a nine-point game with seven minutes left in the first half, 1-9 to 0-3, Jim McEneaney replying with a quality point for the Wee County.
Dublin forward Paul Mannion was issued a straight red card during the first-half
Costello nailed another free after Niall Scully was thrown over, then banged over his eighth following a foul on O’Callaghan. Costello’s ninth point from a placed ball ensured that the gap at half time was eleven and he duly delivered his tenth from ten attempts as soon as the action resumed.
Costello then grabbed his eleventh, latching onto the rebound quickest after his initial effort hit the woodwork. Brian Fenton delivered the second Dubs goal four minutes into the second half and Louth must have been feeling sick to see the likes of MacAuley and McMahon sprung from the bench with 16 points between the teams.
James Califf flashed a goal effort across the face of goal and wide and Scully added to the winning total before McEneaney popped up with the losers’ first second-half point. A huge roar from the Dubs supporters greeted the introduction of Rory O’Carroll, fellow replacement MacAuley plundering the third Dublin three-pointer to an empty net in the 49th minute via his palm, following a centre from Paddy Small.
Costello tacked on another free and then decided to help himself to a goal for good measure – 4-16 to 0-5 with 15 minutes remaining. Ciaran Downey and Burns (free) pulled back a couple of Louth points but Kilkenny replied on the hour. When Eoghan Callaghan replied, McMahon dispatched the fifth Dublin goal, the gap a whopping 24 points with eight minutes left.
Small supplied a lovely point off his left and Kevin McManamon (free) added another point from off the bench. McKeever helped himself to a late point for Wayne Kierans’ charges, who will be in the bowl for the first-round Qualifier draw on Monday, full back Michael Fitzsimons and Fenton adding to the massacre with an injury-time Dubs points, a late, late Burns free closing the scoring.
Dublin - S Cluxton; D Byrne, C O’Sullivan, M Fitzsimons (0-1); J McCaffrey, J Small, J McCarthy; B Fenton (1-1), D Gavin; N Scully (0-2), C Kilkenny (0-1), B Howard; P Mannion (0-2), C O’Callaghan (1-0), C Costello (1-12, 0-9f, 0-1'45). Subs: M D Macauley (1-0) for D Gavin, P McMahon (1-0) for C O’Sullivan, R O’Carroll for J McCaffrey, P Small (0-1) for C O’Callaghan, K McManamon (0-1f) for N Scully, S Bugler for C Costello.
Louth - F Sheekey; F Donohoe, E Carolan, J Craven; A Williams, B Duffy, J Clutterbuck; T Durnin, J Califf; A McDonnell (0-1), J McEneaney (0-2), C McKeever (0-1); C Downey (0-1), R Burns (0-4, 2f), D Byrne. Subs: D Corcoran for F Donohoe, S Mulroy for D Byrne, C Early for J Califf, D Maguire for J Clutterbuck, E Callaghan (0-1) for J Craven (BC), E Duffy for J McEneaney.
Referee - J Henry.Tweet