DUBLIN 2-25 LONGFORD 0-12
Dublin have qualified for their eighth Leinster SFC decider in-a-row with this comfortable semi-final victory at Croke Park on Sunday.
The Dubs will face Laois, victors over Carlow, in two weeks’ time as Dublin recorded their 23rd consecutive Leinster SFC victory in fairly impressive fashion.
Two clinically taken first-half goals put Dublin well on the way to victory with Dean Rock and Paul Mannion on the mark.
Rock’s goal came following good pressure on the Longford kickout with Michael Darragh Macauley raided through on goal before placing Rock who swept the ball first time to the net.
Longford were reduced to 14 men in the 21st minute when full-forward James McGivney was red-carded for a crude challenge on Stephen Cluxton, who had to be replaced by Evan Comerford, thus ruling the Ballmun Kickhams man out of playing any role for the Dublin U20s in their Championship.
Dublin added to the midlanders’ woes when Rock and Mannion combined to steal the ball from defender Liam Connerton after a short kickout from Paddy Collum before Mannion unleashed a thunderbolt to the net and by the break the Dubs were 12 points clear, 2-13 to 0-7.
The Dubs were never in any danger in the second half as both Jack McCaffrey and Cian O’Sullivan returned to full competitive duty.
“He (Jack McCaffrey) hasn’t played a representative fixture yet, but he’s been playing in the background with us for a number or weeks, as Cian has as well,” said Dublin manager Jim Gavin.
“So, great to see them back on the pitch and they played their part in the second half, absolutely.”
The reigning All-Ireland champions failed to add to their goal tally in the second half but it wasn’t for lack of opportunities but a combination of goalkeeping heroics from Collum and some squandered chances maintained the tally at two.
“Some of our kick-passing, hand-passing was a little bit off today,” said Jim.
“Contrast that with the scoring opportunities that we created which was very positive - 2-20 maybe from play, that’s good to see.
“The guys themselves will look at that tape and they’ll see areas to improve. We’re just happy we got through the game and looking forward now to the challenge of Laois.
“Four goals the last day, we possibly could have got one or two more today - but at least we’re creating them and that’s the most positive thing. If we weren’t you’d be a little bit concerned. That gives us something to take away to the training field over the next two weeks.”
SCORERS – Dublin: D Rock 1-6 (0-5f), P Mannion 1-2, B Fenton, C Kilkenny 0-4 each, C O'Callaghan, C Basquel 0-2 each, P McMahon, B Howard, J McCarthy, P Andrews, N Scully 0-1 each. Longford: R Smyth 0-5 (0-3f), P Collum (0-1 '45'), M Quinn, D McElligott, D Reynolds, D McGivney (0-1f), S McCormack 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; E Lowndes, P McMahon, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, J Cooper, B Howard; B Fenton, MD Macauley; P Mannion, C O'Callaghan, N Scully; P Andrews, C Kilkenny, D Rock. Subs: E Comerford for Cluxton (temp 23), D Daly for Fitzsimons (ht), J McCaffrey for Cooper (ht), C Basquel for Mannion (49), K McManamon for Andrews (49), C O'Sullivan for McCarthy (54), P Flynn for Macauley (57).
LONGFORD: P Collum; D Masterson, P McCormack, P Fox; M Quinn, D McElligott, D Mimnagh; D Gallagher, C Berry; L Connerton, D McGivney, D Reynolds; R Smyth, J McGivney, R Brady. Subs: S McCormack for Connerton (28), B Gilleran for Quinn (BC 56), M Nally for D McGivney (64), P Foy for Reynolds (65), D Quinn for Masterson (66), S Donohoe for Mimnagh (71).
REF: M Deegan (Laois).