All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Round 4
Dublin 2-14 Louth 0-13
Louth endured another day of torment at Croke Park, where their season came to an end, just two weeks after they were robbed of Leinster final glory.
This time Peter Fitzpatrick’s side was fairly and squarely beaten by a Dublin side that moved comfortably through to the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals.
The Dubs have found some form during their journey through the Qualifiers, but Pat Gilroy still has some problems to iron out before he can seriously believe his side can take out one of the big guns.
Full forward Eoghan O’Gara bagged two first half goals to set the metropolitans on their way in front of a crowd of 47,738 at GAA headquarters.
The fact that they managed a healthy 2-14 despite the relative ineffectiveness of star attacker Bernard Brogan will encourage Gilroy.
Louth defender John O’Brien succeeded in blotting Brogan out of the game, restricting him to just one point from play.
Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton opened the scoring with a sweetly struck ’45, and the Dubs built on that early advantage with points from the Brogan brothers.
Gilroy’s side was on top at midfield through Michael Dara Macauley and Ross McConnell, with Bryan Cullen also giving them an immense presence in the central area.
O’Gara grabbed his first goal in the 11th minute, beating two defenders before firing in a shot that took a deflection on its way to the net.
Louth’s three first half points all came from Brian White frees, the first of which lifted the siege temporarily at the beginning of the second quarter.
Cullen charged through to hammer over a couple of points, Cluxton arrowed another ’45 between the posts, and on 33 minutes, full forward O’Gara struck again.
He collected Alan Brogan’s pass out on the right, turned marker Dessie Finnegan and beat Gallagher with a low, angled finish.
Now the Dubs led by 11 points, and while two White frees did reduce the deficit, Louth were looking at an impossible situation, trailing by 2-6 to 0-3 at the break.
They regrouped during the interval, however, and came out for the second half with renewed purpose.
Points from substitutes Declan Byrne and Darren Clarke, along with an Andy McDonnell effort, narrowed the gap to five.
Dublin struggled to get any fluency into their play, but were comfortably able to protect their lead, with Ross McConnell, O’Gara, Bernard Brogan, from a free, and Cullen all tagging on points.
Louth knew they were gone long before the finish, but never gave up, and Clarke and Paddy Keenan fired over late scores, before they went on a deserved lap of thanksgiving to hail their loyal supporters.
Dublin: S Cluxton (0-2, 2 ’45), M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, P McMahon, K Nolan, G Brennan (0-1), B Cahill, MD Macauley, R McConnell (0-1), B Cullen (0-3), A Brogan (0-1), N Corkery, D Henry, E O’Gara (2-1), B Brogan (0-3, 2f).
Subs: P Flynn (0-1) for Corkery, C Keaney for Henry, E Fennell for McConnell,, D Magee for Macauley, T Quinn (0-1, f) for A Brogan
Louth: N Gallagher. E McAuley, D Finnegan, J O’Brien, R Finnegan, M Fanning, S Fitzpatrick, P Keenan (0-2), B White (0-3, 3f), A McDonnell (0-1), M Brennan, A Reid, C Judge, S Lennon (0-1), JP Rooney.
Subs: D Clarke (0-3, 2f) for Judge, D Byrne (0-2) for R Finnegan, R Carroll for White, D Maguire (0-1) for Rooney, D Crilly for Ftizpatrick
Referee: P McEnaney (Monaghan).