Dublin eased past a mediocre Louth challenge to advance to the semi-finals of the Bank of Ireland Leinster Senior Football Championship on a 1-19 to 0-09 scoreline at Croke Park today . An early Alan Brogan goal settled the Dubs, as they led from start to finish, the match petering out as a contest towards the end. With Dublin rarely stretched, it was difficult to evaluate Dublin's real championship potential. However, the performances of substitutes Tomás Quinn, David O'Callaghan, Tom Mulligan and Liam Óg Ó Heineacháin all provided evidence that the Dubs may not have to rely so heavily on established stars such as Ciaran Whelan and Ray Cosgrove this year.
Brogan, unselfishly set up by Cosgrove, palmed home the only goal of the game after just 5 mintues, dangerously crashing into the post in the process. Brogan recovered from the collision, before JP Rooney scored Louth's first point of the match after eight minutes. A fluent passing movement, facilitated by an uncharacteristic slip from Paddy Christie, resulted in an excellent goal chance for Nicky McDonnell. However, his weak shot came off the inside of the post, to the distress of the Wee County faithful.
An injured Brogan was replaced by Quinn in the Dublin attack, who missed an early fisted effort, but made amends before the end of the half with two well taken scores. Other scores from Cosgrove, Whelan (2), David Henry and Senan Connell saw the favourites leading 1-08 to 0-04 at the break – Louth's tally courtesy of frees from JP Rooney and the lively Mark Stanfield.
The second half began just as the first had ended – Louth struggling to come to terms with the Dubs' ever-changing attacking formations. Cosgrove almost nipped in for the Dubs' second goal, before goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton saved well from Rooney as Louth were denied a three-pointer for the second time in the match. However, from that point on, Dublin began to totally dominate proceedings. Mulligan, on for Shane Ryan, impressed immediately when he converted a free to make it 1-10 to 0-06. And Louth's challenge was truly over when, 14 minutes into the half, the experienced Seamus O'Hanlon received a straight red card from referee Pat McEneaney for an off-the-ball incident.
The rampaging Whelan saw his driven effort hit the upright, before Ollie McDonnell missed a consolation goal chance for Louth when he inexplicably shot wide. Lyons, realising that his team were home and dry, was able to introduce youngsters Ó Heineacháin and O'Callaghan to the action. Both displayed great attacking flair and composure, with O'Callaghan managing two great points before the final whistle, which couldn't come soon enough for Paddy Carr's side.
Filed by James Boylan