Sam Maguire Cup holders Dublin are into the last four again after a facile 2-26 to 0-14 victory over Roscommon at Croke Park.
This latest landslide victory eases Jim Gavin’s mercurial men – in hot pursuit of a historic five-in-a-row - through to the All-Ireland semi-finals with a game to spare (their meeting with Tyrone in Omagh will determine who tops the group), while Roscommon’s Phase Three clash with Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn in a fortnight is going to be a dead rubber.
The phenomenal Dubs, who emptied the bench and completely eased up in the second half after surging 17 points ahead, were devastating in the first half. They turned around with an eleven-point advantage, 1-15 to 0-7, and their opponents down to 14 men. Dean Rock registered 1-7 in the first half alone, with the remnants of the overall double-bill attendance of 36,560 left in little doubt as to who would win.
Colin Compton stormed straight through the Dublin defence inside 30 seconds to open the scoring before Rock pointed a retaken free to equalise in the second minute. Rock’s second free cancelled out an excellent Diarmuid Murtagh strike from distance off his left and his third gave the hosts the lead for the first time with five minutes played, only for Conor Cox to reply in kind.
Jonny Cooper, James McCarthy and Rock replaced David Byrne, Cian O’Sullivan and Cormac Costello in the Dubs starting team, while, for the Rossies, Compton got the nod ahead of Tadhg O'Rourke.
The powerful Con O’Callaghan was wreaking havoc and he won possession before thudding over the lead point, Rock fisting his fourth with a goal chance on after Paul Mannion’s precise pass for the Leinster champions in the eleventh minute.
Moments after John Small’s ‘point’ was chalked off by a Hawk-Eye intervention, in the 14th minute, Rock palmed the ball to the Hill 16 net at the end of a flowing Dubs move, a Ciaran Kilkenny brace making it 1-7 to 0-3 after 19 minutes.
O’Callaghan struck the woodwork going for goal and Stephen Cluxton denied Murtagh before Cox lofted over the Rossies’ fifth point. O’Callaghan blazed over in response and Mannion replied to another Cox point, leaving the winners ahead by seven points with ten minutes left in the first half, Rock’s brace of 20-metre frees increasing the gap even further.
Mannion pointed after Darren O’Malley denied the rampant hosts a second major and then nonchalantly clipped his third over the black mark from 40 metres, Cox slightly relieving the pressure with a tap-over free. The visitors were reduced to 14 men two minutes from the break when Conor Daly got a black card (and therefore a red) to go with his earlier yellow, tripping O’Callaghan, Rock converting the accruing free.
The gap was out to 16 points within two minutes of the restart as Michael Darragh MacAuley planted a bullet in the roof of the Roscommon net either side of points from Jack McCaffrey and the unerring Rock (free). Rock and Cox traded frees, Niall Daly and Conor Hussey making it three straight points for the 14 men.
Substitute Paddy Small took a great left-footed score over his shoulder and the reply was an excellent one as Sean Mullolly got forward and became the fourth Rossies defender to score, Cox pulling back two more as the Dubs emptied their bench and took their foot momentarily off the pedal.
MacAuley was black-carded for an innocuous intervention on the hour as the game petered out, but the holders landed five in succession, Rock getting them going again with a perfectly-measured free, Kevin McManamon and Niall Scully foraging a point apiece as the gap suddenly swelled back out to 15.
Rock’s next free went over three minutes from the end and Paddy Small nailed his second super score from play, Fenton replying in injury time to Hussey’s third and the confident Small in turn helping himself to a third as the Dubs ran out the easier of victors.
Dublin - S Cluxton; J Cooper, P McMahon, M Fitzsimons; J McCaffrey (0-1), J McCarthy, J Small; B Fenton (0-2), MD Macauley (1-0); N Scully (0-1), C Kilkenny (0-2), B Howard; P Mannion (0-3), D Rock (1-11, 0-10f), C O’Callaghan (0-2). Subs: K McManamon (0-1) for C Kilkenny, P Small (0-3) for P Mannion, R O’Carroll for M Fitzsimons, E Lowndes for J McCaffrey, P Andrews for C O’Callaghan D Byrne for MD Macauley (BC).
Roscommon - D O’Malley; D Murray, S Mullooly (0-1), C Daly; N Daly (0-1), C Hussey (0-3), R Daly; E Smith, S Killoran; N Kilroy, C Cregg, C Compton (0-1); B Stack, D Murtagh (0-1), C Cox (0-7, 4f). Subs: F Cregg for S Killoran, A Lyons for C Compton, A Glennon for D Murtagh, G Patterson for D Murray, C McKeon for N Kilroy.
Referee - B Cassidy.Tweet