Dublin survived a nervous finish in Croke Park to overcome Offaly on a 2-21 to 1-20 scoreline, having led by eight points midway through the second half after an excellent third quarter of hurling.
Dublin got off to the best possible start in Croke Park after a long ball into David O’Callaghan left the St. Marks full forward in behind the Offaly defence and Offaly goalkeeper James Dempsey was forced to pull him down.
Paul Ryan made no mistake with the penalty striking it low and off the ground into the right hand side of the Hill 16 goal.
Dublin always enjoyed the better of the first half and with Offaly hugely dependent on Shane Dooley for scores, Dublin’s more balanced attack took full advantage.
Good defensive work from Offaly in the second quarter kept Dublin within striking range however and a well taken goal from Shane Dooley just before the break followed by another free from the same player left the game finely balanced at 1-09 to 1-08 at the break.
Another score from Shane Dooley, this time from play, levelled the match immediately into the second half but Dublin went on to dominate the third quarter of this match, scoring nine of the next ten points.
Ryan O’Dwyer and Conal Keaney were exerting considerable influence around the half forward line, and with Paul Ryan unerring from placed balls, the game looked to be over as a contest, all the more so after Offaly midfielder Derek Molloy was dismissed for his second bookable offence.
Offaly defied their numerical disadvantage and kept in touch, bypassing Dublin’s spare man in front of the full back line, and with Joe Bergin now deployed at centre forward, he enjoyed much more freedom to get on the ball, resulting in three well taken second half points for the Seir Kieran player.
Shane Dooley had been responsible for eleven of the first twelve Offaly scores, but he began to get some support from those around him as Offaly slowly reeled in Dublin, with Conor Mahon and Dylan Hayden in particular catching the eye with fine long range scores.
Only two points were between the sides as the game entered the last two minutes, but the game turned decisively when Conal Keaney played a long ball in from the left wing and Offaly failed to deal with it decisively.
The ball broke to Peadar Carton, who turned his man and finished to the top corner, sealing Dublin’s place in the Leinster semi-final against either Galway or Westmeath.
Dublin: Gary Maguire; Peter Kelly, Niall Corcoran, Oisín Gough; John McCaffrey, Liam Rushe, Shane Durkan (0-01); Maurice O’Brien, Alan McCrabbe (0-3); Ryan O’Dwyer (0-02), Conor McCormack (0-02), Conal Keaney (0-01); Paul Ryan (1-08, 1-00 pen, 0-08 frees), David O’Callaghan (0-02), Daire Plunkett (0-01).
Subs: Simon Lambert (0-01) for Maurice O’Brien, David Treacy for David O’Callaghan (blood), David Treacy for Daire Plunkett, Declan O’Dwyer for Conor McCormack, Peadar Carton (1-00) for Alan McCrabbe, David Curtin for Liam Rushe.
Offaly: James Dempsey; Stephen Egan, David Kenny, Michael Verney; Dylan Hayden (0-01), Eanna Murphy, Derek Morkan; Brian Carroll, Daniel Currams (0-01); Conor Mahon (0-01), Ger Healion, Colin Egan (0-01); Derek Molloy, Joe Bergin (0-03), Shane Dooley (1-13, 0-11 frees).
Subs: Cathal Parlon for Brian Carroll, James Mulrooney for Colin Egan.