All-Ireland SFC: Dublin register emphatic win

All-Ireland SFC Group Two

Dublin 5-17 Cavan 0-13

By Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni

Dublin dismantled an understrength Cavan side with the minimum of fuss.

Early on, the exchanges were tight and the sides were level four times but once Paul Mannion knocked over a free in the 23rd minute, Dublin had established a lead they would never relinquish.

That point was the moment the dam burst, really; from the kick-out, Dublin strung together a lovely hand-passing move through the heart of the Breffni defence, culminating in Cormac Costello rolling home to the bottom right corner.

While Cavan did replay to the major with a well-taken point from Oisin Brady, Dublin raised a second green flag before half-time, a third just seconds after the restart and from there on, it was a question of how much they would win by against a game but, on the day, over-matched home side.

Missing top scorer Paddy Lynch and four other injured regulars including the experienced Jason McLoughlin, Dara McVeety and Killian Clarke, Cavan were up against it from the off but it’s unlikely even at full strength that Cavan would have been able to cope with Dublin’s speed, athleticism and slick skillset.

In fact, apart from one spell in the second half when they strung together three points in a row, it was plain sailing for the Dubs thereafter.

Brian Fenton struck the bar soon after Costello’s opening major and when Paddy Small palmed in Costello’s centre just before the break, the game was as good as over as a contest.

Fenton gathered a break off O’Callaghan and slotted over at his ease, it was 2-9 to 0-7 and that was how it stayed at the break. Cavan had bagged some good scores – Gerry Smith and the lively Oisin Brady landed two fine efforts from play – but Dublin were for the most part doing as they wished, Fenton coasting through for three first-half efforts from play.

Cavan enjoyed some success through finding target man James Smith early while Oisin Brady also impressed but it wasn’t nearly enough to trouble a Dublin side for whom Fenton lorded the exchanges in the middle third and the forwards, bar Con O’Callaghan who was well contained before making way, all looked to have the beating of their markers.

Whatever faint glimmer of hope remained was extinguished 24 seconds after the restart when Killian McGinnis rattled the net and from there, the only question was how much the Dubs would win by.

Niall Scully and top scorer Costello quickly added points and Sean Bugler capitalised after good work from Fenton and Costello to add Dublin’s fourth major. Two points from Cian Madden and an Oisin Brady free stopped the bleeding but Dublin always had another gear.

Dessie Farrell’s charges kept the scoreboard ticking, sub Colm Basquel registering three times, and they crowned the performance when Costello tucked away an injury-time penalty.

Given their dominance, it was hard to read too much into Dublin’s performance but, six first-half wides aside, they showed the ruthlessness that has been their calling card over the last decade. Cavan, for their part, started the championship in brilliant fashion with a six-point win over Dublin but have lost three in succession since and must now beat Roscommon at a neutral venue to advance to the preliminary quarter-finals for the first time.

Scorers for Dublin: C Costello 2-5 (1-0 pen, 1 45), P Small 1-2, S Bugler 1-1, B Fenton 0-3, K McGinnis 1-0, C Basquel 0-3, P Mannion 0-2 (2f), N Scully 0-1.

Scorers for Cavan: O Brady 0-7 (4f), Cian Madden 0-2, L Brady 0-1 (45), J Smith 0-1, D Lovett 0-1, G Smith 0-1.

Dublin: S Cluxton, E Murchan, M Fitzsimons, D Newcombe, B Howard, J Small, S Bugler, B Fenton, K McGinnis, N Scully, C Costello, C Kilkenny, P Mannion, C O’Callaghan, P Small.

Subs: C Basquel for C O’Callaghan (46), T Clancy for E Murchan (51), L O’Dell for J Small (54), P Ó Cofaigh-Byrne for B Fenton (temp, 55), G McEneaney for P Small (65).

Cavan: L Brady, C Reilly, Killian Brady, L Fortune, P Faulkner, N Carolan, O Kiernan (Denn), Ciaran Brady, B O’Connell, O Kiernan (Castlerahan), Cian Madden, G Smith, R O’Neill, J Smith, O Brady.

Subs: M Magee for C Reilly, P Meade for K Brady (both ht), T Madden for O Kiernan (Castlerahan, 46), R Brady for O Kiernan (Denn, 54), D Lovett for R O’Neill (58)

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