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Dublin 4-16 Kildare 1-09

Updated: Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 21:05 | Comments

Another Leinster final appearance for Bernard Brogan and the Dubs
Another Leinster final appearance for Bernard Brogan and the Dubs

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Dublin produced a dazzling display of power, pace and skill as they handed a demoralising 4-16 to 1-09 defeat to Leinster rivals Kildare at Croke Park.

Paddy Brophy netted to give the Lilywhites an early 1-02 to 0-00 advantage, but the Dubs replied with goals from Paul Mannion and Bernard Brogan and completely dominated the second half.

Brogan's strike made it 2-07 to 1-05 at half-time and Kildare simply had no answer, with Diarmuid Connolly and substitute Eoghan O'Gara adding further goals. 

Dublin will be heavy favourites to retain their Leinster SFC crown when they meet old foes Meath in the July 14 final - their eight appearance in the provincial decider in the last nine years.

Such was the widening margin between the defending champions and Kildare, Dublin manager Jim Gavin was afforded the opportunity to empty his bench with Brogan being rested for the concluding 20 minutes.

Gavin has a frightening huge array of talent at his disposal and Brogan's replacement Kevin McManamon pressed his own claims for a starting berth, as he did when these counties met here in the league in March.

Dublin ran out 2-20 to 2-07 winners that day and Kildare boss Kieran McGeeney could not have imagined that his charges would fare even worse in today's much-anticipated provincial semi-final.

He made a few notable tweaks to his team before the throw-in with goalkeeper Shane Connolly, David Hyland and Sean Hurley starting in place of Mark Donnellan, Morgan O'Flaherty and Tomás O'Connor.

Dublin fielded an unchanged line-up from their quarter-final win over Westmeath, and the pre-match showers made for difficult underfoot conditions and a slippery ball.

But this very entertaining tussle - a few notches up from Meath's earlier semi-final victory over Wexford - and the pace and quality of the early exchanges was superb in the circumstances.

Eoghan O'Flaherty opened the scoring for Kildare in the third minute, brushing off a tackle and powering forward to point into the Hill 16 end.

Dublin created a goal-scoring chance in response as Ciarán Kilkenny played in James McCarthy but the wing back's low right-footed shot crashed away off the butt of the left hand post.

Kildare were distributing well and an inviting wide ball into Brophy saw the teenager take advantage of a slip by Jonny Cooper. He raided in from the right and skimmed a perfectly placed shot past Stephen Cluxton into the far corner for the game's opening goal.

Brophy followed up with a close range point to widen the margin to five, but Dublin answered back with a timely goal of their own. A pacy move released Diarmuid Connolly and he hand passed for Mannion to fire low past past the goalkeeper and two covering defenders.

Brogan and Mannion got away from their markers to land successive points and get the Dubs back level at 1-02 apiece, before Johnny Doyle steadied himself for a neat left-footed score.

Dublin's speed on and off the ball was beginning to cause problems for the Kildare rearguard, and Emmet Bolton's last-ditch challenge was just enough to put Michael Darragh Macauley off as he hunted for his side's second goal.

Cluxton converted the resulting '45' and soon added another after teenager Hyland deflected a Mannion goal attempt wide. In between, Kilkenny opened his scoring account from a Mannion assist.

The Kildare defence was carved open once more down the same right channel for Kilkenny to fist over and make it 1-06 to 1-03. Worryingly for the Lilywhites as they went 10 minutes with a score, Doyle screwed a free wide amid a chorus of boos from the Hill.

A fine high catch from Brophy over Rory O'Carroll handed Doyle an easier placed ball opportunity and he made no mistake in the 23rd minute to make it a two-point game.

The blistering tempo of the opening quarter hour slackened briefly as Brogan hit a poor wide and a well-positioned Hugh McGrillen cleared the danger on two occasions, with Kildare continuing to feed high balls in towards Brophy and Hurley.

McGeeney had obviously singled out full-back O'Carroll as a weakness but the 'route one' tactic was not paying off and Dublin were breaking downfield with devastating pace.

One such raid saw Jack McCaffrey set up Brogan, however Shane Connolly pulled off a point blank save and Kildare's only concession was an immediate point from Paddy Andrews.

Dublin missed a couple of scoreable chances when a Mannion free came back off a post and Cluxton sent a long range effort wide, and Kildare forced a defensive error from the title holders for Eoghan O'Flaherty to notch a 35th minute point.

The Dublin goal had been threatened once more before that, Cluxton doing well to beat out a shot from another Brophy-inspired attack.

But Gavin's men gave themselves a huge boost heading in at half-time when Brogan did well to control Diarmuid Connolly's hand pass and drill a low shot beyond Shane Connolly's reach and into the far right corner.

The goal summed up all that had been good about the Dublin attack in the first half, the pace and incisive movement being provided by Kilkenny and Cian O'Sullivan and Brogan supplying an assured finish.

The Lilywhites kept Dublin waiting as McGeeney took as much time as possible during the half-time break, and Paul Cribbin chipped over the opening point on the resumption for a 2-07 to 1-06 scoreline.

McGrillen was unable to prevent Kilkenny from fisting over after a nice piece of skill from Dublin substitute O'Gara, while the Hawk-Eye technology was used to confirm an Eoghan O'Flaherty shot had gone wide.

Dublin went up through the gears as some intelligent interplay set up a Ger Brennan point, Cluxton converted another placed ball and Kilkenny right-footed his fourth point of the afternoon.

Dublin's distribution was excellent at times and with Kildare struggling to regain their own kick-outs, O'Gara used his strength to create enough space to shoot over for a 2-12 to 1-06 lead.

Kildare looked out for the count as Doyle swung a kickable free wide and it was game over for them after Connolly's 53rd minute goal which was teed up by a typically persistent run from McManamon.

Cribbin curled over his second point before O'Gara got free from McGrillen's grasp to split the posts at the other end and Dublin were merciless as they beat a path towards Connolly's goal.

The Kildare stopper produced a fine save to deny Paul Flynn as goal number three looked on the cards. The remainder of the game saw a drop in quality and intensity as Kildare had nothing in their armoury to knock Dublin off their stride.

The Dubs did amble along at times in the late afternoon sunshine and Gavin will not have been pleased with some of their wayward passing and loose marking in the closing stages.

Eoghan O'Flaherty converted a free and Hurley also got on the scoresheet late on, but Dublin had more in the tank to thrill the 53,204-strong crowd with the victorious Meath panel also watching on.

Midfielder Macauley thumped a shot off the woodwork as another goal chance went a-begging. Flynn bulged the side-netting with the rebound but Cluxton mopped up with a well-struck '45'.

Ballymun clubman Dean Rock popped over two late frees, the second after Shane Connolly kept out a McManamon shot. However, Connolly was powerless to prevent Rock from setting up O'Gara for an injury-time goal on what was a golden weekend for Dublin GAA fans, who have Leinster senior finals to look forward to in both hurling and football.

DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton (0-04, 0-03 '45', 0-01f); Darren Daly, Rory O’Carroll, Jonny Cooper; James McCarthy, Ger Brennan (0-01), Jack McCaffrey; Michael Darragh Macauley, Cian O’Sullivan; Paul Flynn, Ciarán Kilkenny (0-04), Diarmuid Connolly (1-00); Paul Mannion (1-01), Paddy Andrews (0-01), Bernard Brogan (1-01).

Subs used: Eoghan O'Gara (1-02) for Andrews (half-time), Kevin McManamon for Brogan (48 mins), Kevin Nolan for Brennan (50, blood sub), Kevin O'Brien for Daly, Dean Rock (0-02, 0-02f) for Connolly, Nicky Devereux for O'Sullivan (all 61).

KILDARE: Shane Connolly; Peter Kelly, David Hyland, Hugh McGrillen; Eamon O'Callaghan, Michael Foley, Emmet Bolton; Daryl Flynn, Sean Hurley (0-01); Paul Cribbin (0-02), Niall Kelly, Eoghan O’Flaherty (0-03, 0-01f); John Doyle (0-02, 0-01f), Daniel Flynn, Paddy Brophy (1-01).

Subs used: Seanie Johnston for Daniel Flynn (46 mins), Alan Smith for N Kelly (50), Padraig O'Neill for Daryl Flynn (53), Morgan O'Flaherty for O'Callaghan, Fionn Dowling for Doyle (both 55).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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