Allianz FL D2: Dublin seal promotion with win over Louth
Allianz Football League Division 2
DUBLIN 0-16 LOUTH 1-6
By Dan Bannon at Croke Park
The return of Stephen Cluxton caught all the headlines as Dublin returned to Division 1 with a seven point win over a plucky Louth side. The de facto Allianz league play off was an elementary affair unlike the return of the eight-time All-Ireland winner.
A dominant second half from Dessie Farrell’s men saw them power on to win by seven in the finish and make a host of substitutions. Cluxton did not make an appearance, but Paul Mannion did, and that adds further credentials to Dublin's hopes for championship glory.
In the short term, Dublin have a league final date with Derry this Sunday to look forward to. Louth will take comfort in their league position and performance overall but were surely disappointed with their second half.
Dublin could be forgiven if their opening half was slightly distracted. Louth tore into the game in front of an excited travelling crowd. Ciarán Downey linked up well with Ryan Burns and the Newtown Blues man sent the supporters wild early on with the lead point.
The sides would go level three times in the even first half. Ballyboden St. Enda’s Colm Basquel is well used to winning in Croke Park and he put his hand up also with two points that pushed Dublin into a 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the short whistle. Downey ended the half with a free.
Five patient Dublin points after the break crushed Louth’s chances but not their resolve. Brian Fenton, Basquel, newcomer Daire Newcombe, and Cormac Costello upped the ante.
Louth struck back with a Liam Jackson goal made by the weighted foot pass of his brother Tom. A low shot under David O’Hanlon had Dublin’s lead down to three points but Louth wouldn't get any closer.
James McCarthy, Costello and replacement Paul Mannion reeled in the years with sweet efforts as Downey and Jackson valiantly added to their tallies in the tame finish that saw Cluxton remain as an unused substitute, for the time being.
Scorers for Dublin: Colm Basquel 0-3, Cormac Costello (1f) and Seán Bugler 0-2 each, Dean Rock (’45) Paul Mannion, James McCarthy, Con O’Callaghan, Paddy Small, Brian Fenton, Lorcan O’Dell, Daire Newcombe and Killian O’Gara 0-1 each
Scorers for Louth: Liam Jackson 1-1, Ciarán Downey 0-3 (2f) James Califf (1f), Dáire McConnon 0-1 each.
Dublin: David O'Hanlon; Daire Newcombe (0-01), David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons; John Small, Eoin Murchan, Lee Gannon; James McCarthy , Brian Fenton; Colm Basquel, Ciaran Kilkenny, Seán Bugler ; Killian O'Gara, Con O'Callaghan, Cormac Costello.
Subs Used: Paddy Small for O’Gara (24), Tom Lahiff for Murchan (ht), Paul Mannion for Basquel (53), Lorcan O’Dell for Costello (61) Ross McGarry for Bugler (65), Dean Rock for O’Callaghan (71)
LOUTH: James Califf ; Dan Corcoran, Peter Lynch, Donal McKenny; Leonard Grey, Ciarán Murphy, Niall Sharkey; Conor Early, Tommy Durnin; Conall McKeever, Liam Jackson, Conor Grimes; Dáire McConnon (0-01, Ciarán Downey,Ryan Burns.
Subs Used: Craig Lennon for McKenny (44), Tom Jackson for McKeever (44), Conall McCaul for Burns (35), Bevan Duffy for Sharkey (56), Jay Hughes for McConnon (66).
Referee: Paul Faloon (Down)