All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final: Dublin too good for Monaghan
All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final
By John Harrington at Croke Park
Dublin strolled to a comfortable victory over Monaghan in this evening’s fairly one-sided All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final at Croke Park.
The reigning All-Ireland champions simply had too much firepower for an opponent that tried with all their might, but simply couldn’t bridge the gulf in class.
From the start it was clear that Monaghan had set up to contain first, and attack second.
Whenever Dublin had possession the Ulster team funnelled 12 outfield players behind the ball, leaving Conor McManus and Jack McCarron as the only two offensive players.
The problem was that when they did manage to overturn the ball they had so men back that McManus and McCarron were isolated with a prairie of space between them and the next nearest Monaghan man.
Getting the ball into scoring positions was thus difficult, and when they did they weren’t clinical enough as twice McCarron shot wide and on another was blocked down.
Dublin were having no such issues posting scores at the other end of the field.
Paul Mannion hit their first after just 29 seconds, and that set the tone for what was to follow.
In a 20 minute spell in the first-half they hit seven points with none in reply from Monaghan to take a firm grip on the contest.
Four of those were clinically hit Dean Rock frees, as the Monaghan defence panicked and fouled under the increasing pressure.
By half-time the score read 0-11 to 0-3 in Dublin’s favour, so already the writing was very much on the wall for Monaghan.
They did score the first point of the second-half courtesy of lively sub Conor McCarthy, but normal service soon resumed as Dublin took charge once more.
After Dean Rock pointed another free he then pretty much killed the game as a contest by pouncing for a goal.
When Paddy Andrews claimed a booming Brian Fenton free he cut in toward goal and passed selflessly to Rock who palmed the ball to the net past Rory Beggan. Simple, but deadly.
Monaghan tried to hit back with a goal of their own soon after by quickly taking a free, but once again McCarron couldn’t find the finish as Cluxton stood tall and saved his shot.
After that it was something of a procession for Dublin all the way to the final whistle as they made the most of the opportunity to empty their bench.
They could afford to take off such luminaries as James McCarthy, Ciaran Kilkenny, and Johnny Cooper, but the replacements weren’t too shabby either as the likes of Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn, Eoghan O’Gara, and Michael Darragh MacAuley came on to stake their claim.
To Monaghan’s credit, they battled right to the end and actually outscored Dublin by five points to two in the final 15 minutes of the match.
In the final reckoning though they came up very much second-best against a superbly drilled Dublin team who look dead set on winning that third All-Ireland title in a row.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 1-8 (7f, 1’45), Paddy Andrews 0-3, Paul Mannion 0-3, Jack McCaffrey 0-1, Con O’Callaghan 0-1, James McCarthy 0-1, Paul Flynn 0-1, Eoghan O’Gara.
Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-4 (3f), Conor McCarthy 0-3, Rory Beggan 0-1 (f), Colin Walsh 0-1, Karl O’Connell 0-1, Darren Hughes 0-1, Ryan McAnespie 0-1
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Philip McMahon, Cian O’Sullivan, Michael Fitzsimons; Jonny Cooper, John Small, Eric Lowndes; Brian Fenton, James McCarthy; Ciaran Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan, Jack McCaffrey; Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews, Dean Rock. Subs: Bernard Brogan for Eric Lowndes (41), Darren Daly for John Small (50), Paul Flynn for James McCarthy (50), Eoghan O’Gara for Paddy Andrews (54), Michael Darragh MacAuley for Ciaran Kilkenny (57), David Byrne for Johnny Cooper (60).
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Colin Walshe, Kieran Duffy, Karl O’Connell; Kieran Hughes, Darren Hughes; Gavin Doogan, Dessie Ward, Shane Carey; Ryan McAnespie, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus. Subs: Conor McCarthy for Gavin Doogan (35), Owen Duffy for Dessie Ward (ht), Vinny Corey for Ryan Wylie (44), Dessie Mone for Karl O’Connell (44), Dermot Malone for Shane Carey (55), Neil McAdam for Darren Hughes (62), for Fintan Kelly (72)
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)