All Ireland SFC QF: Scully stars for Dublin
All Ireland SFC Quarter-Final Group 2
DUBLIN 2-15 DONEGAL 0-16
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
Niall Scully bagged a brace of goals as standard bearers Dublin demonstrated sufficient craft to secure an important success.
Donegal produced a courageous performance, but Scully landed the blows which truly mattered to set-up a fascinating clash against Tyrone at Healy Park next Saturday.
On the same evening Donegal travel to Dr Hyde Park requiring a positive result of their own following this loss on the opening weekend of the inaugural All Ireland Quarter-Final Group Phase.
Quality scores were sprinkled throughout an interesting first half, but the crucial opening period score was planted in the 27th minute.
Niall Scully dashed through the Donegal defence to net a gorgeous goal for Dublin, who eventually went in at the interval armed with a 1-9 to 0-8 advantage.
Donegal were contributing to a decent contest and edged 0-5 to 0-4 in front following a brilliant Michael Murphy point in the 22nd minute.
The underdogs were snapping into the game impressively, but then a typically determined Dublin burst yielded 1-2 without reply and the complexion altered dramatically.
Brian Howard and Dean Rock (free) rifled over points before Scully’s excellent intervention which delighted the local supporters in the 53,501 attendance.
From then until the interval six points were divided evenly between the teams, but Donegal still trailed by four at the turnaround.
But within 90 seconds of the restart Scully rattled the Donegal net once more following smart work by the dynamic Howard, who was an industrious figure for Dublin.
Despite the concession Donegal replied with four good points on the spin from Eamonn Doherty, Ryan McHugh, Lee Brennan, and Michael Langan narrowing the deficit to 2-10 to 0-12.
Donegal stayed competitive, but Dublin, aided by the arrival of substitutes Cormac Costello and Paul Flynn, who notched four points between them ensuring Gavin's outfit were never seriously troubled in the closing stages.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-7 (5fs, 145), Niall Scully 2-0, Brian Howard, Paul Flynn, and Cormac Costello 0-2 each, Ciaran Kilkenny, and James McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-6 (3fs, 145), Jamie Brennan 0-3, Ryan McHugh and Michael Langan 0-2 each, Frank McGlynn, Eamonn Doherty, and Ciaran Thompson 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Michael Fitzsimons, Jonny Cooper, Jack McCaffrey; James McCarthy, Cian O’Sullivan, Eoin Murchan; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Niall Scully, Con O’Callaghan, Brian Howard; Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock.
Subs: Cormac Costello for MacAuley (46), Kevin McManamon for Mannion (48), Paul Flynn for Howard (54), Eric Lowndes for McCaffrey (62), Colm Basquel for O’Callaghan (70)
DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Eamonn Doherty, Stephen McMenamin; Frank McGlynn, Paul Brennan, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Hugh McFadden, Leo McLoone; Ryan McHugh, Michael Langan, Ciaran Thompson; Odhran MacNiallais, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan.
Subs: Neil McGee for McGrath (HT), Daire O’Baoill for MacNiallais (51), Cian Mulligan for Thompson (53), Caolan Ward for Doherty (57), Anthony Thompson for Brennan (62), Stephen McBrearty for Brennan (66).
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).