Dublin made a sticky start to their Leinster campaign in O’Moore Park even if their margin of victory over Carlow was convincing.
A crowd of 13,238 packed into the Portlaoise venue but the travelling Dublin support were not treated to a vintage display by their team as heavy underdogs Carlow rarely gave them a minute’s rest.
Almost half of Dublin’s scores came from placed balls and their only real goal opportunity came early in the second half when Kevin McManamon struck his shot wide. Thirteen minutes into the second half, Carlow’s talisman Brendan Murphy was dismissed for a second yellow card offence when tangling with Jonny Cooper off the field.
Murphy’s namesake and midfield partner Seán was outstanding in ensuring Carlow provided the performance they promised but after going down to 14 men it was relatively plain sailing for Dublin who were lead well by Ciarán Kilkenny. Carlow managed just two points in the second half as their challenge petered out.
It was obvious from the outset that Carlow had a plan: committing all but Paul Broderick to their own half when without the ball and on their own kick-out. Their restarts were delayed too as they attempted to dictate the pace of the game in contrast to Stephen Cluxton who was swift in putting the ball back into play.
The half-time scoreline, 0-8 to 0-5 in Dublin’s favour, might have been considered a relative success for Carlow given that they frustrated the All-Ireland champions plenty but then Dublin’s shooting was criminally off, McManamon and Paul Mannion each guilty of some wayward shooting.
Carlow were set out to contain and that Dublin hardly had a sniff of goal was testament to their efforts. Brendan Murphy opened the scoring in the opening minute but two Dean Rock frees followed prior to a long range Paul Broderick free levelling up matters.
Dublin were spoiled with the amount of possession they had and translated it to the scoreboard with four consecutive scores between the 13th and 18th minutes, Jack McCaffrey sending over two as his forwards found themselves suffocated by the heavy Carlow presence.
Having gone off for some running repairs, Seán Murphy returned to the fray with a fine point in the 25th minute and Dublin were matched for their final two scores of the half, first a Broderick free answering Niall Scully’s score and Kilkenny’s point cancelled out by an excellent Darragh Foley free from distance.
D. Rock (0-6, frees); C. Kilkenny (0-3); J. McCaffrey, C. O’Callaghan (frees), B. Brogan (0-2 each); P Mannion, N. Scully, C. McHugh, D. Connolly (45) (0-1 each).
Scorers for Carlow: P. Broderick (0-3, frees); B. Murphy, S. Murphy, D. Foley (free), D. Moran (0-1 each).
S. Cluxton (c); J. Cooper, M. Fitzsimons, E. Lowndes; J. McCaffrey, C. O’Sullivan, J. McCarthy; B. Fenton, C. Kilkenny; N. Scully, C. O’Callaghan, D. Connolly; P. Mannion, D. Rock, K. McManamon.
B. Brogan for K. McManamon (45); S. Carthy for J. McCaffrey (53); M. Schutte for N. Scully, C. McHugh for D. Rock (both 58); D. Byrne for C. O’Sullivan (63); D. Bastick for B. Fenton (67).
C. Kearney; C. Lawlor, S. Redmond, J. Murphy; C. Crowley, D. St Ledger, G. Kelly; B. Murphy, S. Murphy; E. Ruth, D. Foley (c), A. Kelly; D. Moran, P. Broderick, S. Gannon.
C. Moran for S. Murphy (blood, 21-24); M. Rennick for A. Kelly (41); S. Clarke for E. Ruth (53); J. Clarke for G. Kelly (59); K. Nolan for C. Crowley (63); B.J. Molloy for D. Moran (68); C. Moran for P. Broderick (69).
B. Murphy (second yellow, 48).
S. Hurson (Tyrone).