All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: metronomic Metropolitans murder Monaghan

August 09, 2014

Dublin's Paul Flynn with Fintan Kelly of Monaghan.
©INPHO/Donall Farmer.
Dublin are through to a fifth successive All-Ireland semi-final after annihilating Monaghan by 2-22 to 0-11 at Croke Park.

Jim Gavin's charges will square up to Donegal in three weeks for a place in this year's All-Ireland final. On the evidence of this display, it's very hard to envisage anyone stopping them. They have won their four championship matches so far this year by an aggregate total of 60 points and are very much on course for back-to-back league/championship doubles.

Today, the lively Liffeysiders faced the Division Two winners, the beaten Ulster finalists and a side that had won the Anglo-Celt Cup last year; they made them look very, very ordinary.

Goals from Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan in the 25th and 28th minutes respectively propelled the devastating Dubs into a 2-8 to 0-5 half-time lead.

With 77,440 spectators at GAA HQ for today's quarter-final double-header, the northern raiders started encouragingly but - after key defender Colin Walshe took a knock - were outscored by 2-5 to 0-2 in the last ten minutes of the first half as the winners eased up through the gears to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

The scores were deadlocked after 24 minutes, 0-3 each, but the winners then stepped on the turbo to effectively finish the match as a contest with an unanswered salvo of 2-3 inside seven sensational minutes: 2-6 to 0-3 with three minutes to go before the break.

Bernard Brogan and Kieran Hughes traded frees inside the opening six minutes, while Dublin's Eoghan O'Gara saw yellow in the fourth minute for a silly late lunge at All Star defender Walshe.

Brogan tapped his second free into the Davin End in the eleventh minute following a foul on Footballer of the Year Michael Darragh MacAuley. The beaten Ulster finalists had started nervously and Conor McManus struck their third wide before Kieran Hughes curled over a lovely free from under the Cusack Stand.

Diarmuid Connolly took advantage of some generosity from referee Marty Duffy by drilling over the softest of frees as the defending All-Ireland champions led by the odd point from five at the midway stage in the first half, with either side yet to register from play.

The sides were level for the third time when McManus duly kicked a classy point from play; O'Gara had the ball in the net in the 22nd minute but the score was never going to count as it was an attempt at a fisted point from the bustling full forward which had dropped short.

An injury to Walshe seemed to affect the underdogs' concentration and the Dubs doubled their tally on 25 minutes when Connolly powered through the Monaghan defence to plant a superb shot with his instep past Rory Beggan into the bottom right corner of the net for their first score from play - 1-3 to 0-3. Brogan clipped over another simple free and suddenly daylight had appeared between the teams.

The second Dublin goal arrived in the 28th minute. Again, the Dubs accelerated through the Monaghan rearguard and Brogan was left with the simple task of finishing to the net after a surging run by James McCarthy. In the blink of an eye, there were seven points between the teams.

Alan Brogan kicked Dublin's first point from play in the 29th minute and Jonny Cooper followed up with another one a couple of minutes later as the margin went out to nine. 2-3 without reply and the 1/20 shots led by 2-6 to 0-3!

When Dick Clerkin intervened with a rare Monaghan score, the Dubs replied with super scores from Connolly and O'Gara to lead by ten. Three minutes into added time, goalkeeper Beggan gave the visiting support something to cheer when he smacked over a '45' to close the first-half scoring. But this game was already over as a contest.

Kevin McManamon and Paul Flynn both had their names on the scoresheet within a couple of minutes of the restart and Alan Brogan added another after McManus had stroked over a Monaghan free: 2-11 to 0-6.

O'Gara punctuated another fabulous team move with Dublin's twelfth point and Alan Brogan floated over the 13th within a matter of seconds.

McManus and Brogan traded frees and Clerkin pulled back another Monaghan point before Dublin substitute Cormac Costello dragged a goal effort across the face of goal and wide. The gap stood at twelve with 22 minutes left, 2-14 to 0-8.

Dublin seemed hellbent on bagging more majors and Connolly missed their latest effort before McManus closed the gap from a free. Substitute Dean Rock replied immediately with a great point and Bernard Brogan tapped over a free as the procession resumed.

After McManus brought the losers to double figures with a pointed free from the hands on 55 minutes, the dominant Dubs replied with scores from Stephen Cluxton ('45'), Bernard Brogan (free) and Rock before McManus notched the border county's eleventh score: 2-19 to 0-11 after 65 minutes.

Costello got in on the scoring act before the end and Flynn and Bernard Brogan completed the rout as the Leinster champions eased within two wins of their third All-Ireland title in four years.

Dublin - S Cluxton (0-1'45); M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, J Cooper (0-1), N Devereux; M D Macauley, C O'Sullivan; P Flynn (0-2), K McManamon (0-1), D Connolly (1-2, 0-1f); A Brogan (0-3), E O'Gara (0-2), B Brogan (1-7, 0-6f). Subs: C Costello (0-1) for K McManamon, D Rock (0-2) for C O'Sullivan, J McCaffrey for J Cooper, P Andrews for E O'Gara, D Daly for P McMahon, P Mannion for A Brogan.

Monaghan - R Beggan (0-1'45); R Wylie, D Wylie, C Walshe; D Mone, V Corey, F Kelly; D Clerkin (0-2), D Hughes; K Duffy, S Gollogly, K Hughes (0-2f); P Donaghy, C McGuinness, C McManus (0-6, 4f). Subs: P Finlay for P Donaghy, J McCarron for C McGuinness, G Doogan for S Gollogly, C Boyle for K Duffy, O Duffy for D Clerkin, C Galligan for F Kelly.

Referee - Marty Duffy.

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