Longford's Diarmuid Masterson and Patrick Fox challenge Dublin's Paddy Andrews. Photo: Twitter AIB_GAA @AIB_GAA
The Dublin juggernaut marched on convincingly to yet another Leinster Senior Football Championship Final after they crushed Longford by 19 points, 0-12 to 2-25, at Croke Park.
Eleven Dublin players got on the scoresheet, with Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny and Dean Rock leading their charge. Fenton, indeed, hasn’t lost a championship game since he made his debut and he scored four super points from midfield.
The strength in depth which the reigning Leinster and All-Ireland kingpins possess is incredible and they sprung an array of riches from the bench and Laois are going to find it extremely difficult against them in the provincial final.
The Dubs were swiftly out of the traps with Philly McMahon, Con O’Callaghan and Ciaran Kilkenny landing points into the Hill 16 end by the third minute.
Two fine points from Robbie Smyth and Michael Quinn saw Longford settle into the game, however, Paddy Andrews quickly replied for Jim Gavin’s side, 0-4 to 0-2.
Longford captain Donal McElligott surged forward from centre back to hoist over his team’s third point, 0-4 to 0-3.
Points from Dean Rock (2 - play and a free), Brian Fenton and Brian Howard helped Dublin extend their lead to five points, 0-8 to 0-3 after 14 minutes.
Rock and Smyth traded converted frees before Longford were hit with an absolute sucker blow in the 18th minute as Rock fisted the ball beyond Paddy Collum after Michael Darragh Mcauley’s surging run, 1-8 to 0-4.
Things went from bad to worse for Longford as James McGivney was shown a straight red card in the 21st minute for a late tackle on Dublin ‘keeper Stephen Cluxton.
With numerical advantage, Dublin quickly added 1-2 without reply. Con O’Callaghan scored a point and Paul Mannion 1-1.
Dublin’s Jonny Cooper, already on a yellow card, was rather fortunate to escape picking up a second yellow for a reckless and high 29th minute tackle on Dessie Reynolds. Robbie Smyth converted the free, 2-10 to 0-5. Smyth landed a sublime point from play but Dublin hit back through James McCarthy and Brian Fenton.
In first half added time, Longford ‘keeper Paddy Collum landed a ‘45 and Mannion fisted a point at the opposite end in the 39th minute, to leave the interval scoreline reading: Dublin 2-13 Longford 0-7.
The Dublin management withdrew two defenders during the break. Michael Fitzsimons, who was been seriously tested by Robbie Smyth, made way for Darren Daly, while Jack McCaffrey, back from a cruciate ligament injury replaced Jonny Cooper, who was walking a disciplinary tightrope.
Smyth and Rock swapped converted frees, before Dessie Reynolds’ grabbed a fine individual point, 2-14 to 0-9. ‘Hawkeye’ ruled out a 42nd minute Darren Gallagher point that was awarded by the umpires and David McGivney suffered a similar fate with a free. McGivney (free) did land Longford’s 10th point in the 49th minute, 2-14 to 0-10.
Dublin sub Colm Basquel scored two points which were responded to by Sean McCormack and Rian Brady, 2-16 to 0-12 after 54 minutes. Longford lost Michael Quinn to a black card and he was replaced by Barry Gilleran and the Dubs reeled off four points on-the-trot through Rock (three frees) and Kilkenny, 2-20 to 0-12.
They added five more points before the end through Kilkenny (2) - one following yet another Collum save, Brian Fenton (2) and Niall Scully.
Longford: Robbie Smyth 0-5 (0-3 frees), Michael Quinn 0-1, Donal McElligott 0-1, Paddy Collum 0-1 (‘45), Dessie Reynolds 0-1, David McGivney 0-1 (free) Sean McCormack 0-1, Rian Brady 0-1
Dublin: Dean Rock 1-6 (0-5 frees), Paul Mannion 1-2, Brian Fenton 0-4, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-4, Con O’Callaghan 0-2, Colm Basquel 0-2, Philly McMahon 0-1, Paddy Andrews 0-1, Brian Howard 0-1, James McCarthy 0-1, Niall Scully 0-1.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels); Patrick Fox (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Padraig McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og), Diarmuid Masterson (Dromard); Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og), Donal McElligott (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s, capt.), Daniel Mimnagh (Killoe Emmet Og); Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s, Granard), Conor Berry (Abbeylara); Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s), David McGivney (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Liam Connerton (Rathcline); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara), James McGivney (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Rian Brady (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s).
Subs: Sean McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og) for L Connerton (27 mins), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers) for M Quinn (black card) (56 mins), Barry McKeon (Colmcille) for D McGivney (64 mins), Peter Foy (Longford Slashers) for D Reynolds (65 mins), Darren Quinn (Clonguish) for D Masterson (65 mins), Shane Donohue (Rathcline) for D Mimnagh (71 mins).
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 S Cluxton (blood, 22 mins), Darren Daly for M Fitzsimons (half time), Jack McCaffrey for J Cooper (half time), Colm Basquel for P Mannion (49 mins), Kevin McManamon for P Andrews (49 mins), Cian O’Sullivan for J McCarthy (54 mins), Paul Flynn for MD Macauley (57 mins).
REFEREE: Maurice Deegan, Laois.