Dublin 4-17 Armagh 1-10
A superb hat-trick of goals from Diamuid Connolly propelled Dublin to this all-too-easy victory over a desperately poor Armagh outfit today.
The All-Ireland Champions were superior in every way possible and wasted no time at all illustrating the gulf in class between the two teams.
After just ten minutes the contest was already skewed in their favour. Connolly and Tomas Quinn had bagged a couple of goals, and men in sky-blue jersies seemed capable of scoring every time they cantered forward with the ball.
The total dominance of their half-backs and midfield ensured a plentiful supply of possession, and Connolly, Quinn and the impressive Eoghan O’Gara were in the mood to make the most of it.
It looked like Armagh were starting to get some sort of toe-hold in the game when Gaving McPartland kicked over two nice points in quick succession, but then Dublin produced another devastating surged just before half-time.
Workaholic midfielder, Michael Darragh McAuley, charged through the heart of the Armagh defence to fist over a great point, Connolly followed it up with his second goal of the day and then Alan Brogan clipped over point to give the Dubs a 3-7 to 0-5 half-time lead.
The match was already as good as over, but you have to admire the way Dublin’s work-ethic and enterprise didn’t waver in the second half when they continued to expose Armagh’s deficiencies.
A Caolan Rafferty goal had briefly given Armagh hope that they might make a better fist of things in the second 35 minutes, but Dublin ruthlessly quelled this mini-rebellion.
They clipped over four unanswered points before killing off Armagh once and for all when Connolly completed his hat-trick with another superb finish to the bottom corner of the net.
The St. Vincent’s man is still prone to inconsistency, but when he’s in the sort of devastating form that he showcased here, he’s undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers in the country.
That sort of praise has never been directed Eoghan O’Gara’s way, but he proved for the second match in a row that he’s getting better all the time and can make a major contribution for Dublin this year.
There are few better ball-winning full-forwards around, and, as he proved with his third and final point of match, his confidence and execution in front of the posts is far superior to what it once was.
Plenty of positives for Dublin then, but the future doesn’t look nearly so bright for Armagh.
DUBLIN: M Savage; D Daly, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy (0-1), G Brennan, C Dias; MD Macauley (0-1), E Fennell (0-1); P Brogan, A Brogan (0-1), P Flynn (0-2); D Connolly (3-3, 0-2f), E O'Gara (0-3), T Quinn (1-3, 0-1 '45').
Subs: P Andrews for A Brogan (49), D Byrne for P Brogan (57), S Murray for Macauley (61), J Cooper (0-2) for McCarthy (62), C Murphy for Fennell (66).
ARMAGH: P McEvoy; A Mallon, B Donaghy, D McKenna; P Duffy, C McKeever, K Dyas; J Lavery, J Kingham; C Watters (0-1), M Mackin, A Forker (0-3, 0-2f); C Rafferty (1-0), A Duffy, B Mallon (0-4, 0-3f).
Subs: G McParland (0-2) for Lavery (16), BJ Padden for Kingham (33), F Moriarty for Dyas (HT), S Campbell for Forker (47), R Rafferty for Watters (57).
REFEREE: M Collins (Cork).