Fourteen-man Dublin extended their winning run to 25 games in the Leinster senior football championship with this facile victory in O’Moore Park.
The All-Ireland champions didn’t miss a step despite losing Paul Mannion to a straight red card in the 25th minute, adding three second-half goals via Brian Fenton, substitute Michael Darragh Macauley, man of the match Cormac Costello and another replacement Philly McMahon.
In front of a disappointing 14,380 crowd for a double-header, Paddy Small made an excellent contribution when coming on, involved in both Macauley and Costello’s goals as Dublin shot 4-9 in the second half.
Things didn’t flow as much for Dublin early on. They cheaply gave up possession coming out of defence on a couple of occasions and Louth were given central access deep into the Dublin half far too easily in the first half. And yet they were ominous signs for Louth as Fergal Sheeky twice had to deny goalbound strikes in the space of a minute.
Niall Scully’s shot was negotiated adequately by Sheeky in the fourth minute and Con O’Callaghan’s was dealt with sufficiently in the fifth but from each attack Dublin still managed to create a score.
Cormac Costello had four points all from placed balls to his name by the 18th minute as by the 20th Dublin were cruising six points up. At the time, Mannion was their chief scorer from play but he exited the field in the 25th minute after his tackle on Conal McKeever was deemed too high and dangerous.
It mattered little to the pattern of the game as Louth’s indiscipline was punished further by Costello’s excellent marksmanship, although he had earlier kicked wide what appeared to be a nailed-on goal opportunity.
Dublin’s first goal came in the 23rd minute as O’Callaghan was given a second bite of the cherry after his palmed effort was stopped, the foray forward swift and involving the industrious Scully.
After Mannion’s sending off, the next five Dublin scores were all Costello frees but it wasn’t until the 35th minute that a Louth player, Fergal Donohue, was booked. Dublin, though, had little complaint about being 1-12 to 0-4 to the good despite the numerical disadvantage.
Scorers for Dublin: C. Costello (1-12, 0-10 frees, 1 45); B. Fenton (1-1); C. O’Callaghan, M.D. Macauley, P. McMahon (1-0 each); N. Scully, P. Mannion (0-2 each); C. Kilkenny, P. Small, K. McManamon (free), M. Fitzsimons (0-1 each).
Scorers for Louth: R. Burns (0-4, 2 frees); J. McEneaney (0-2); A. McDonnell, C. Downey, E. Callaghan, C. McKeever (0-1 each).
DUBLIN: S. Cluxton (c); C. O’Sullivan, M. Fitzsimons; J. McCaffrey; D. Byrne, J. McCarthy, J. Small; B. Fenton, D. Gavin; N. Scully, C. Kilkenny, B. Howard; C. Costello, P. Mannion, C. O’Callaghan.
Subs for Dublin: M.D. Macauley for D. Gavin, P. McMahon for C. O’Sullivan (both 40); R. O’Carroll for J. McCaffrey, P. Small for C. O’Callaghan (both 47); K. McManamon for N. Scully (54); S. Bugler for C. Costello (63).
Sent off: P. Mannion (straight, 25).
LOUTH: F. Sheeky; F Donohue, J. Craven, E. Carolan; A. Williams, B. Duffy (c), J. Clutterbuck; T. Durnin, J. Califf; C. Downey, J. McEneaney, C. McKeever; A. McDonnell; R. Burns, D. Byrne.
Subs for Louth: D. Corcoran for F. Donohue, S. Mulroy for D. Byrne (both h-t); C. Early for J. Califf (43); D. Maguire for J. Clutterbuck (46); E. Callaghan for J. Craven (black, 54); E. Duffy for J. McEnaney (60).
Referee: J. Henry (Mayo).
Mike Quirke's Football Podcast: Do Mayo trust youth? More Conor Coxes. Two-tier effects. Cork's plan