Delightful Dubs make light work of Tyrone

by Dave Donnelly

DUBLIN set up yet another All-Ireland senior football final showdown with Mayo after brushing aside Tyrone by 2-17 to 0-11 at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.
Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock top-scored with five points apiece as Dublin dismantled their Ulster opponents to win the semi-final by a 12-point margin.
The result, and Mayo’s comprehensive win over Kerry on Saturday, sets up a repeat of last year’s final, which required a replay before the Boys in Blue could get their hands on the trophy.
Diarmuid Connolly made his return from a 12-week suspension as a late sub, while Dublin were so comfortable they could afford to leave Bernard Brogan and Michael Darragh MacAuley riding pine.
The Dubs had Tyrone on the backfoot from the first whistle and they struck a decisive blow as early as the fifth minute as O’Callaghan scored a magnificent solo goal.
The Cuala clubman sold an outrageous dummy to Tyrone defender Ronan McNamee before showing the poise and confidence to hammer home a shot from 13 yards.
It was a devastating early blow for the Red Hand, who had set up to defend and frustrate Dublin’s all-star attacking unit and left them chasing the game from the very beginning.
Not that they modified their approach to any significant degree, as Dublin continued to wear down their opponents with nine further points in the first half, including a double from O’Callaghan.
Tyrone did manage five points of their own in reply, including two from frees, but the scoreboard reflected the abiding sense that Dublin were always pulling away.
Paul Flynn impressed off the bench with three points while he also saw a good effort on goal saved by Niall Morgan.
Kevin McManamon came close to a goal of his own only to see his well-struck effort cannon off the bar, while the rampaging Jack McCaffrey broke through before skewing his shot wastefully wide.
Another substitute, O’Gara, did manage to breach the net for the second time with three minutes remaining as he batted the ball home at the end of a tremendous flowing move.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Connolly, however, as the St Vincents man replaced O’Callaghan in the final minute of normal time.
Connolly didn’t touch the ball during his brief cameo on the pitch but the effect his return, after being disciplined for laying his hands on a linesman in June, was clear for all to see.
Tyrone had their own chance in injury time to grab a consolation goal from the spot and put some respectability on the scoreline, but Stephen Cluxton dived to his right to save Peter Harte’s disappointing penalty.
“We got an early goal,” a less than delighted Dublin manager Jim Gavin said after the match.
“It was an opportunity and we took it. In the second half we had more chances and we weren’t clinical enough.”
The Round Towers man added: “We know that the next day that won’t be good enough.”

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