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Jonny Cooper captained Dublin to Leinster glory at Croke Park.
Jonny Cooper captained Dublin to Leinster glory at Croke Park.

Leinster SFC Final: Dublin complete eight in a row

Leinster Senior Football Championship Final

DUBLIN 1-25 LAOIS 0-10

By Michael Devlin in Croke Park

Dublin made it eight Leinster titles in a row and booked their place in the All Ireland Quarter Final round robin series following a resounding win over Laois at Croke Park.

It was far from vintage Dublin in the first half, who ran up nine wides and spurned a number of goal opportunities, but they outscored Laois by 17 points to five in the second period to continue their dominance in the province for another year.

Laois were well in the mix in the opening 25 minutes, but they simply couldn’t keep up with Jim Gavin’s men as they went up through the gears.

Evan Comerford was making his first Championship start in the Dublin goal in place of the injured Stephen Cluxton, with Jonny Cooper taking over the captaincy for the day.

The champions were direct right from the start, and after just 10 seconds Brian Fenton raced through to find Con O’Callaghan in space, but Graham Brody’s outstretched leg denied the Cuala man a goal.

The Laois keeper couldn’t keep out Ciaran Kilkenny though a minute later after the Dublin forward gathered a pass in the box and fired home.

Another goal chance fell for O’Callaghan soon after, with Brody again coming to the rescue. Dean Rock got his first of the afternoon with a routine free shortly after.

Sub-par shooting from the Dublin forwards department however allowed Laois to settle into the game, and they raced back into the contention courtesy of an Alan Farrell score and three points from full forward Donie Kingston, the latter two big efforts from play that had the Laois faithful in full voice.

Ciaran Kilkenny found space to pop the ball over in the 17th minute before Dublin were awarded a penalty when the marauding James McCarthy was hauled down in the area. Paul Mannion though sent his spot kick wide of Brody’s left-hand post.

Three scores then followed from Rock, two from frees, while at the other end, Farrell blasted over the bar for Laois when a goal chance looked on.

The half ended with Dublin tagging on three more scores to stretch their lead out to six points, Fenton, O’Callaghan and Paddy Andrews on target.

O’Callaghan finished off a patient team move to get the first score of the second half before Kieran Lillis clipped over a point for Laois from the Hogan Stand side. Two Rock frees and an Andrews point moved Dublin up by nine as they upped the tempo again.

A Kingston free brought his tally to 0-4, but Dublin went on the attack once again and in the 44th minute halftime sub Jack McCaffrey rocketed through the Laois defence, his goal effort directed straight at Brody who parried the ball away.

Bit by bit though Dublin were edging toward another Leinster title and Rock, Cormac Costello (2), Kilkenny (2) and Mannion kept the scoreboard ticking over with six points in a row.

Brody’s afternoon was ended by injury in the 55th minute, with Eamon Keogh coming in to see out the rest of the game. Laois’ deputy keeper produced a fine save from McCaffrey in his first action of the game.

John Small’s involvement in the game ended just seven minutes after coming on as a sub, receiving a red card just before the hour mark.

That dismissal did little to hinder Dublin running out the game and Rock, Niall Scully and Kilkenny all fired over points as the gap was extended to 17 points with six minutes remaining.

Costello put his hand up for a starting jersey next day out with his third point, Dublin’s 10th in a row.

Evan O’Carroll stopped the rot momentarily with a point for Laois at the other end, but Costello and Brian Howard took Dublin to 1-24.

Laois’ Gary Walsh came off the bench to tag on two more points for Laois, but the game was long over as a contest, and Brian Fenton got the final point of the day for Jim Gavin’s men.

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-8 (5fs, 1 ’45), Ciaran Kilkenny 1-4, Cormac Costello 0-4, Paddy Andrews 0-2, Brian Fenton 0-2, Con O’Callaghan 0-2, Brian Howard 0-1, Paul Mannion 0-1, Niall Scully 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: Donal Kingston 0-4 (2fs), Alan Farrell 0-2, Gary Walsh 0-2, Kieran Lillis 0-1, Evan O’Carroll 0-1.

DUBLIN: Evan Comerford; Philip McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons, Eric Lowndes; Brian Howard, James McCarthy, Jonny Cooper; Brain Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Niall Scully, Con O’Callaghan, Ciaran Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Dean Rock, Paddy Andrews.

Subs: Jack McCaffrey for Eric Lowndes (HT), Cormac Costello for Paddy Andrews (45), John Small for Michael Darragh MacAuley (51), Conor McHugh for Dean Rock (67).

LAOIS: Graham Briody; Darren Strong, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Colm Begley, Finbarr Crowley; John O’Loughlin (vc), Keiran Lillis; Alan Farrell, Paul Kingston, Niall Donoher; Evan O’Carroll, Donal Kingston, Damien O’Connor.

Subs: benny Carrol for Niall Donoher (48), Ross Munelly for Finbarr Crowley (51), Eoghan Keogh for Graham Brody (55), David Holland for Darren Strong (57), Gary Walsh for Damien O’Connor (62), Brian Glynn for Alan Farrell (63).

REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

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