Leinster SFC: Dubs demolish 14-man Longford

June 10, 2018

Dublin's Paul Mannion and Michael Quinn of Longford ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Dublin 2-25

Longford 0-12

Dublin, as expected, progressed to their 13th Leinster football final in 14 years following a one-sided semi-final against Longford played before an attendance of almost 40,000 at Croke Park.

The Allianz League Division 1 champions will take on their Division 4 counterparts Laois in the provincial final on Sunday, June 24 after goals from Dean Rock and Paul Mannion in the 18th and 24th minutes eased them to a 19-point win. A difficult task for Longford was made impossible when James McGivney received a straight red card from referee Maurice Deegan for a reckless challenge on Stephen Cluxton in between the two goals, while former Aussie Rules star Mickey Quinn was black-carded midway through the second half.

The Dublin captain was unable to play on and was replaced between the posts by championship debutant Evan Comerford. Jack McCaffrey and Cian O'Sullivan also came off the bench after long injury layoffs to provide Dubs boss Jim Gavin with further defensive options ahead of the business-end of the season.

Despite being outclassed, Longford never gave up with goalkeeper Paddy Collum leading their resistance with fine second half saves from Mannion, Rock, Michael Darragh Macauley and sub Colm Basquel.

The All-Ireland champions were quickly into their stride and had seven different scorers in the first quarter as they established an 0-8 to 0-3 lead. Then, in the 18th minute, Michael Darragh Macauley powered through the Longford defence to tee up Rock for a palmed goal.  

Things got a lot worse for the creaking midlanders when McGinvey was dismissed in the 22nd minute and two minutes later, Rock and Mannion combined to dispossess the isolated Liam Connerton inside the 20-metre line-up and the latter gave Collum no chance with a clinical finish.

Dublin went on to lead by 2-13 to 0-7 at the break, but were fortunate not to be also reduced to 14 men after Jonny Cooper - who was already on a yellow card - escaped punishment for a heavy challenge on Dessie Reynolds. The Na Fianna defender was duly replaced by McCaffrey for the second half.

With Robbie Smyth, Dessie Reynolds and substitute Sean McCormack on target, Denis Connerton's underdogs outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-3 in the first 20 minutes of the second half. But normal service resumed when Basquel hit two points in the space of 90 seconds following his introduction. Indeed, the Dubs reeled off nine points without reply in a dominant final quarter, with Rock, Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny among their scorers.

Scorers - Dublin: Dean Rock 1-6 (5fs), Paul Mannion 1-2, Brian Fenton 0-4, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-3, Con O'Callaghan and Colm Basquel 0-2 each, Niall Scully, James McCarthy, Brian Howard, Philly McMahon, and Paddy Andrews 0-1 each. Longford: Robbie Smyth 0-5 (3fs), Dessie Reynolds, Donal McElligott, Michael Quinn, Rian Brady, Sean McCormack, Paddy Collum (45), and David McGivney (f) 0-1 each.

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; Philly McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons, Eric Lowndes; Brian Howard, James McCarthy, Jonny Cooper; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Niall Scully, Con O'Callaghan, Ciaran Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Dean Rock, Paddy Andrews. Subs: Evan Comerford for Cluxton (23), Darren Daly for Fitzsimons (HT), Jack McCaffrey for Cooper (HT), Colm Basquel for Mannion (49), Kevin McManamon for Andrews (49), Cian O'Sullivan for McCarthy (54), Paul Flynn for MacAuley (56).

Longford: Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox, Padraig McCormack, Diarmuid Masterson; Michael Quinn, Donal McElligott, Daniel Mimnagh; Darren Gallagher, Conor Berry; Dessie Reynolds, David McGivney, Liam Connerton; Robbie Smyth, James McGivney, Rian Brady. Subs: Sean McCormack for Connerton (27), Barry Gilleran for Quinn (55, BC), Mark Nally for David McGivney (64), Peter Foy for Reynolds (65), Darren Quinn for Masterson (65), Shane Donohoe for Mimnagh (70+2).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

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