Dublin defeat Armagh

All-Ireland SFC Round 3 Qualifier

Dublin 0-14 Armagh 0-11

A Bernard Brogan-inspired Dublin passed another test of their Championship mettle as they battled past Armagh at Croke Park this evening.

Brogan, the nine-point hero, was the shining light once again as the Dubs booked their place in tomorrow's draw for the fourth round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.

Rory O'Carroll turned in a man-of-the-match display, marking Armagh captain Steven McDonnell out of the game for long stretches.

Dublin's defence certainly looked more composed than it has done this summer, but too much handpassing and not enough direct football from the Orchard men played into the winners' hands, allowing them to keep their structure throughout.

Dublin's greater mobility and the addition of some power off the bench - Darren Magee and Eamon Fennell saw second half action - gave them a deserved win in the end.

But their over-reliance on Bernard Brogan for scores will cause concern. Armagh, the NFL Division 2 champions, could not stop the St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh clubman from wielding his influence on proceedings. When a better side does, the question is does Pat Gilroy have a plan B?

That answer is for another day, and Armagh will be kicking themselves that although they had the better of possession, they failed to put the scores on the board and put Dublin under prolonged pressure.

Armagh manager Paddy O'Rourke made three changes to the team that beat Fermanagh last Sunday, the new inclusions being wing back Finnian Moriarty, midfielder Kieran Toner and corner forward Brian Mallon.

The Dublin management tweaked their starting line-up before the throw-in, with Barry Cahill introduced to bolster the defence and Bryan Cullen added to the half-forwards.

In front of a 25,947-strong crowd, poor shooting blighted what was a much-anticipated clash, the counties' first in the Championship since Armagh won in the 2003 qualifiers.

A territorially dominant Armagh seized the initiative, breaking into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead. Defender Ciaran McKeever pointed the opener on an overlapping run, and Steven McDonnell and Aaron Kernan landed a free each, as against Bernard Brogan's first point from play.

Brogan combined once again with his older brother, Alan, to chalk up Dublin's second point, following a good dispossession by midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley, and Armagh's laboured build-up was seemingly playing into Dublin's hands.

The match struggled to catch fire until Armagh strung together three points in quick succession. Jamie Clarke dodged through to fire over a well-taken point from play, Brian Mallon finished off a powerful run with a point off his right and then Malachy Mackin casually broke forward to wallop over from the left wing.

Trailing by 0-6 to 0-2, Dublin needed to up their game and they did so, with a Bernard Brogan free ending a 17-minute scoreless spell for them. Eoghan O'Gara's decoy run created the space for Brogan to close the gap to two and Niall Corkery managed to put Brogan through for his fifth point of the encounter, with marker Andy Mallon clearly struggling.

Dublin finished the first half in fine fettle, with Corkery having an injury-time shot blocked out for a '45' which goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton converted to make it 0-6 apiece for the break.

Gilroy's charges continued to find scores as the second half got underway, outpointing the Orchard men by four to one to take a 0-10 to 0-7 lead. Brogan and McDonnell traded points, before Brogan, substitute Kevin McManamon and Philip McMahon kicked successive points for last year's Leinster champions.

The best of the lot was defender McMahon's score as he sprinted down the left to provide support to McManamon and took a quick pass to register an inspirational point.

It was Armagh's turn to enjoy a spell of dominance as they turned possession into points, three in all which brought them back level at 0-10 apiece.

McDonnell collected his third point, with a free from close range, and succeeded in fisting over under pressure from Cluxton as a Gareth Swift point attempt dropped short.

Alan Brogan hit Dublin's eighth wide before McDonnell brought his tally to 0-5 with the 58th minute leveller.

It was all set up for a grandstand finish, but the quality of general play and finishing was not out of the top drawer and a succession of frees took any momentum out of the game.

Dublin showed plenty of fight and spirit to get the necessary scores, in the end, with Bernard Brogan and Corkery also going close to notching a goal at the Hill 16 end.

Substitute Darren Magee set up an attack which saw Bernard Brogan point Dublin back in front. Moriarty put his name to Armagh's ninth wide as Paddy O'Rourke's men tried to hit back.

They almost got in for a goal in the 62nd minute. Brian Mallon's shot beat Cluxton but the covering Philip McMahon did brilliantly to get back and clear the ball away from the goal-line.

Injury doubt Paul Flynn came on to pop over a much-needed point, following some good recycling of possession, and a Brogan free suddenly made it 0-13 to 0-10.

Substitute Joe Feeney brought it back to a two-point game for Armagh, but with McDonnell miscuing a long range free and Brogan easily finding Eamon Fennell, from a sideline ball, for the insurance point in injury-time, Dublin had done enough to maintain their All-Ireland challenge.

Scorers: Dublin: B Brogan 0-9 (0-4f), S Cluxton (0-1 '45'), K McManamon, P McMahon, P Flynn, E Fennell 0-1 each

Armagh: S McDonnell 0-5 (0-3f), C McKeever, A Kernan (0-1f), J Clarke, B Mallon, M Mackin, J Feeney 0-1 each

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; K Nolan, G Brennan, B Cahill; MD Mcauley, R McConnell; D Henry (capt), A Brogan, B Cullen; N Corkery, B Brogan, E O'Gara.

Subs used: K McManamon for O'Gara (half-time), E Fennell for Corkery (46 mins), P Flynn for Henry (55), D Magee for McConnell (59), P Andrews for Cullen (64).

ARMAGH: P Hearty; A Mallon, B Donaghy, V Martin; P Duffy, C McKeever, F Moriarty; C Vernon, K Toner; M Mackin, A Kernan, G Swift; B Mallon, S McDonnell (capt), J Clarke.

Subs used: J Feeney for Toner (35+3 mins), J Lavery for Mackin (52), C Vernon for B Mallon (68).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan

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