Dublin juggernaut rolls right over Monaghan

All-Ireland champions show no sign of letting up as Monaghan the latest side to suffer at Croke Park


Dublin 2-22 Monaghan 0-11: All-Ireland champions Dublin swept aside the challenge of Monaghan at Croke Park this evening in Croke Park with a powerful display that broke their opponents well before half-time in front of the biggest crowd of the GAA season, 72,440.

First-half goals by Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan opened up a gap on the scoreboard that Monaghan were never going to close and as they flagged, Dublin finished out the match much as they wished to record a 17-point win.

Conor McManus battled away for Monaghan but his team weren’t able to supply him with sufficiently quick ball and what did get through, he found in Rory O’Carroll a vigilant marker.

he match proceeded along predictable lines in the first 20 minutes with Monaghan set up to play a cagey, defensive game and for the most part succeeding in making it tight for Dublin.

Points were traded, mostly through frees with Bernard Brogan, two, and Diarmuid Connolly scoring for Dublin and Kieran Hughes replying with two for Monaghan and it was the 20th minute before the first score from play was registered through McManus, who was already having a frustrating evening between O’Carroll’s attentions and the frequent need to drop so deep to get on ball.

In the 25th minute O’Gara opened up a channel for Connolly and he finished crisply into the net. Three minutes later James McCarthy broke through to send in Bernard Brogan for the second. By now they were dominating the match with Philip McMahon and Michael Fitzsimons in control while O’Carroll and McCarthy broke forward from the space afforded by Monaghan’s set-up.

At centrefield Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O’Sullivan were well on top and O’Sullivan was probably the team’s best player in the first half. Dick Clerkin resisted manfully and shot a couple of points but Monaghan just couldn’t get a foothold.

The match was effectively over as Monaghan’s game plan was based on containment - which in the initial stages they were accomplishing through good work by Drew Wylie and especially Colin Walshe in the full back line - and certainly not on chasing the match. Nine down at half-time they faced a mountainous climb simply to keep it respectable.

Dublin began to get a little sloppy and to shoot indulgently but it must have been hard to maintain urgency.

Kevin McManamon and Paul Flynn scored the first points of the second half and the pattern continued with the scoreline margin expanding all the time. Alan Brogan signed off with three points and Jim Gavin began to run the bench with Cormac Costello and Deam Rock introduced.

There wasn’t the same return from the replacements on this occasion but that was the only fall-off from usual standards and the match had long ceased to be a contest.

There could have been goals but Connolly didn’t avail of a couple of good chances with Rory Beggan saving one and the other flying wide, as happened to a similar effort from Costello.

Some of the older Monaghan hands played it out defiantly with Dessie Mone and Vinny Corey persisting until the actual end but the team’s challenge had long expired by the final whistle.

Dublin move on to a semi-final against Donegal, which has been eagerly awaited but this evening sent out an intimidating message about how successfully defensive systems can hope to cope with the relentless champions.

Dublin: S Cluxton (0-1, 45); M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, J Cooper (0-1), N Devereux; MD Macauley, C O’Sullivan; P Flynn (0-2), D Connolly (1-2, point free), K McManamon (0-1); A Brogan (0-3), E O’Gara (0-2), B Brogan (1-7, si points frees). Subs: C Costello for McManamon (44 mins), D Rock (0-2) for O’Sullivan (48 mins), J McCaffrey for Cooper (52 mins), P Andrews for O’Gara (54 mins), D Daly for McMahon (58 mins), P Mannion for A Brogan (65 mins).

Monaghan: R Beggan (0-1, 45); R Wylie, D Wylie, C Walshe; D Mone, V Corey, F Kelly; D Clerkin (0-2), D Hughes; P Donaghy, K Duffy (0-2, frees), S Gollogly; K Hughes, C McManus (0-6, three frees), C McGuinness. Subs: P Finlay for Donaghy (half-time), J McCarron for McGuinness (42 mins), G Doogan for Gollogly (50 mins), O Duffy for Clerkin (61 mins), C Boyle for Duffy (61 mins), C Galligan for Kelly (67 mins).

Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).

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