Dublin collect 7th consecutive Leinster football title with powerful display

Dublin 2-23, Kildare 1-17 ... Dublin collected a record seventh consecutive Leinster crown as starlet Con O’Callaghan and veteran Bernard Brogan helped themselves to a combined 11 points from play, reports John Fogarty.

In his record-equalling 88th championship appearance, a Stephen Cluxton save from Daniel Flynn in the 42nd minute was also key to Dublin keeping Kildare at arm’s length. The All-Ireland champions were six points up at that stage but sent over the next three thanks to O’Callaghan and Brogan. After a Kevin Feely free, the pair were on the mark again as Dublin strolled to a handsome win in what was a worthwhile exercise.

Feely’s evening ended early when he was black carded towards the end but he gave an excellent day of fielding in a performance Kildare shouldn’t be too downhearted about going into the fourth round qualifier against Down or Monaghan regardless of the margin here. Paddy Brophy grabbed a late consolation goal and Paul Mannion’s was disallowed after play was called back for a free duly sent over by O’Callaghan.

The opening quarter had that old familiar feeling about it and that recognisable class from Dublin, taking Kildare for two goals in the space of 80 seconds. Dean Rock netted in the 10th minute when Ciarán Kilkenny spotted his darting run behind the Kildare cover and looped a hand-pass in his direction. The second goal was the result of a one-two combination between James McCarthy and O’Callaghan, the former having the presence of mind to tuck the ball past Mark Donnellan. O’Callaghan added a point and Dublin led 2-4 to 0-1 in the 18th minute.

Kildare had opened the scoring after just 19 seconds when Daniel Flynn sent over a score and Tommy Moolick might have counted himself lucky not to win a penalty a minute later when he seemed to be foot-blocked. The visitors didn’t score their second point until the 21st minute when Cathal McNally fired over but then another followed quickly thanks to Keith Cribbin, whose runs were causing issues Dublin’s bother.

Rock was forced to make way for a hand-trip and was replaced by Brogan who scored a brace of points before the break. However, Kildare added two more points following Cribbin’s successful effort to narrow the deficit to five, and they matched each of the four further points Dublin added, one of them a beauty from Flynn under the Hogan Stand, as well as an extra score from David Slattery. At 2-8 to 0-10 at half-time, they had temporarily restored the game to a contest for the 66,734 crowd, the biggest for a Leinster final in five years.

Scorers for Dublin: C. O’Callaghan (0-12, 6 frees); B. Brogan (0-5); D. Rock, J. McCarthy (1-0 each); C. Kilkenny (0-2); P. Mannion, P. Andrews, S. Carthy, B. Howard (0-1 each)

Scorers for Kildare: K. Feely (0-5, 4 frees); P. Brophy (1-3, 0-1 free); C. McNally (0-3); D. Flynn (0-2); K. Cribbin, J. Byrne, N. Kelly, F. Dowling (0-1 each).

DUBLIN: S. Cluxton (c); P. McMahon, C. O’Sullivan, M. Fitzsimons; E. Lowndes, J. Small, J. McCaffrey; B. Fenton, J. McCarthy; N. Scully, C. Kilkenny, C. O’Callaghan; P. Mannion, D. Rock, P. Andrews.

Subs for Dublin: B. Brogan for D. Rock (black, 24); S. Carthy for N. Scully (47); D. Daly for P. McMahon (49); K. McManamon for P. Andrews (52); D. Byrne for C. O’Sullivan (59); E. Bolton for J. Byrne (63); B. Howard for B. Fenton (67).

KILDARE: M. Donnellan; O. Lyons, M. O’Grady, D. Hyland; J. Byrne, E. Doyle (c), K. Cribbin; K. Feely, T. Moolick; D. Slattery, N. Kelly, F. Conway; C. McNally, D. Flynn, P. Brophy.

Subs for Kildare: P. Cribbin for F. Conway (45); F. Dowling for T. Moolick (49); P. Kelly for E. Doyle (52); B. McCormack for C. McNally (57); for K. Feely (black, 64);

Referee: A. Nolan (Wicklow).

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