Dublin secured themselves an immediate return to Division 1 of the Allianz Football League by seeing off Louth 0-16 to 1-6 at Croke Park this afternoon.
In a ‘winner takes all’ Leinster derby at headquarters, the Dubs kept it to script against Mickey Harte’s in-form charges with a superior second-half display to join Derry in next weekend’s Division 2 final at the same venue.
However, what wasn’t on the script was the return of eight-time All-Ireland winner Stephen Cluxton to the capital men’s squad for the first time in some 27 months.
The Wee County’s resistance saw them going in at the break just a point behind (0-5 to 0-4) before the capital men came out for the second-half and kicked the first five points via Brian Fenton, Sean Bugler, Daire Newcombe, Colm Basquel and Cormac Costello.
Harte’s men responded in the best possible fashion with a Liam Jackson goal in the 47th minute, but it was about as good as it got for them as more scores from sub Paul Mannion and Dean Rock at the other end helped to bring the curtain down on their proud campaign.
Meanwhile, Cork’s superb comeback at Pairc Ui Chaoimh ensured promoted Derry would not finish their campaign with a 100% record as it finished 1-14 apiece.
Having taken in a 0-9 to 0-6 lead at the half, the Ulster champions stretched their lead after the resumption ahead of Shea Downey blasting to the Rebels net.
Two more points looked like they were in the bag for Rory Gallagher's side but substitute Conor Corbett led the fightback for the hosts with a hat-trick of points, and there’d be three in injury-time when Ian Maguire slammed in the equalising goal.
In Newbridge, Kildare handed neighbours Meath their fourth loss of the campaign on a 0-13 to 0-8 scoreline, while the second tier’s other dead rubber fixture saw already relegated Clare and Limerick playing for pride in Ennis where the hosts were comfortable 2-18 to 0-9 victors.Tweet