Dublin 2-14 Roscommon 1-12
Goals from Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock enabled Dublin to maintain their push for a berth in this year’s league final after overcoming a spirited Roscommon challenge in wet conditions at Dr. Hyde Park.
Early second-half points from David Murray and Conor Cox nudged the home side two points clear but Dublin responded like champions, kicking 1-6 without reply as the home side visibly tired.
Roscommon were very competitive but the class of Dublin shone through as they dominated the possession stakes after the break, eventually bagging the scores they required.
The sides were well-matched early on, although Dublin appeared to find scores easier to come by. Niall Scully and Conor Cox shared the opening two points before Colm Basquel and a mark from Paddy Andrews propelled the All-Ireland champions 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after six minutes.
But Roscommon were unrecognisable from their sluggish display against Cavan a week earlier, and Donie Smith and Ciarán Lennon (mark) had them back on level terms after 12 minutes.
By the time they scored again, however, Dublin had added 1-3 without reply to their tally. O’Callaghan and Dean Rock (a free) found the range before O’Callaghan lashed the ball past Colm Lavin after possession won by Rock broke his way.
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But Roscommon enjoyed their best spell of the match as they more than matched their opponents in all departments of the field, helped by Cathal Cregg’s 29th-minute goal.
When Padraig O’Sullivan blew his half-time whistle, the Rossies were back on level terms with three points on the bounce from Cox (free), Ronan Daly and Enda Smith to leave the teams deadlocked, 1-9 apiece, at the break.
Dublin were expected to kick on in the second half but Roscommon managed to hit the after-burners with points from Murray and Cox.
A shock was on the cards but Dublin flexed their muscles with a free from Rock before the same player availed of a goalmouth scramble to land his side’s second goal after 50 minutes.
As Roscommon struggled to gain traction from their own kickouts around the middle, a ’45 and free from Rock pushed Jim Gavin’s men further ahead, and when Scully and Darren Gavin added points from play, the Dubs were on their way.
Substitute Aengus Lyons ended Roscommon’s 31-minute scoring drought. At this stage, the home side had lost Conor Devaney to a second yellow card as Dublin’s quest for another league title remained very much alive.
For Roscommon, the relegation trapdoor remains too close for comfort.
Scorers for Dublin: D Rock 1-5 (4fs, 1’45), C O’Callaghan 1-1, P Andrews 0-3 (1 mark), N Scully 0-2, C Baquel, C O’Connor, D Gavin 0-1 each
Scorers for Roscommon: C Cox 0-4 (1f), C Cregg 1-0, D Smith C Lennon (1 mark), N Kilroy, C Lavin (’45), R Daly, E Smith, D Murray, A Lyons 0-1 each
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, D Byrne, A McGowan; J McCaffrey, C O’Sullivan, C O’Connor; B Fenton, D Gavin; N Scully, C O’Callaghan, C Basquel; C Costello, D Rock, P Andrews.
Subs: R McDaid for McCaffrey (9), P Mannion for Costello (44), P Flynn for Basquel (52), B Howard for McGowan (52), MD McCauley for Fenton (70).
ROSCOMMON: C Lavin; D Murray, C Daly, G Patterson; C Devaney, N Daly, R Daly; T O’Rourke, S Killoran; N Kilroy, D Smith, E Smith; C Lennon, C Cox, C Cregg.
Subs: S Mullooly for Kilroy (52), C Compton for E Smith (52), A Lyons for Cregg (57), C Hussey for Killoran (59), H Darcy for D Smith (64).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).