Dublin send out a message by hammering Louth

Dublin 2-22 Louth 0-12

Dublin 2-22 Louth 0-12

It was plain sailing for Dublin as they made light work of a dreadful Louth outfit to get the defence of their Leinster and All-Ireland titles off to a successful start.

It was little more than a training session at times for the champions and with their forwards afforded too much space, the inevitable occurred.

Louth were still just about in touch approaching half time but two goals in three minutes by Bernard Brogan put an end to any hopes they may have harboured.

Peter Fitzpatrick’s men could not cope with the strength and speed of the Dublin forwards but it was scarcely believable how much leeway they were given.

At the other end, Louth posted almost no threat, and were largely reliant on Darren Clarke’s customary accuracy from placed balls for scores, taking almost 45 minutes to register their first from play.

Darren Clarke actually put Louth in front in the second minute but by the time he notched up his side’s second score 22 minutes later, Dublin had six on the board.

Last year’s All-Ireland hero, Stephen Cluxton had two of those from 45s, while Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Flynn and Bernard Brogan were also on the mark.

Cluxton was called upon in the more normal goalkeeping fashion when making a splendid save from Adrian Reid and perhaps if Louth had found the net from that situation in the fifth minute, we might have had a different game.

They didn’t though, so it wasn’t. Bernard Brogan struck for those two goals and that was all she wrote.

The first was an absolutely clinical finish, the low, swerving shot in the far corner giving Neil Gallagher no chance.

The second, two minutes into injury time, came at the end of a run from the excellent Paul Flynn.

He offloaded to Diarmuid Connolly but his shot was saved by Neil Gallagher.

Brogan’s first attempt was blocked by Padraig Rath but he made no mistake with his second effort and Dublin held a 2-11 to 0-3 interval advantage.

Louth improved in the second half, adding nine points including four from play but frees remained their prime source, and Clarke finished with eight points to his credit.

Dublin could have had at least three more goals, with Gallagher making one excellent save from McManamon and Connolly striking the butt of the post.

They kept the scoreboard ticking over though, with Connolly, McManamon and the two Brogans amongst the suppliers.

It was much too easy but Dublin weren’t complaining.

Scorers – Dublin: B Brogan 2-5(0-1f); D Connolly, K McManamon 0-3 each; S Cluxton(45s), B Cullen, P Flynn, C Dias, A Brogan 0-2 each; D Bastick 0-1 each.

Louth: D Clarke 0-8(7fs); R Carroll, JP Rooney, A Reid, R Finnegan 0-1 each.

Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon, R O’Carroll, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, G Brennan, K Nolan; E Fennell, D Bastick; P Flynn, A Brogan, B Cullen; K McManamon, D Connolly, Bernard Brogan.

Subs: C Dias for Cullen (ht); E O’Gara for Flynn (50); R McConnell for Fennell (58); J Cooper for McMahon (58); P Casey for Brennan (65)

Louth: N Gallagher; P Rath, D Finnegan, G Hoey; R Finnegan, J Carr, D Byrne; P Keenan, R Carroll; D Crilly, M Brennan, A Reid; D Maguire, J McEneaney, D Clarke.

Subs: R Greene for D Finnegan (ht); L Shevlin for Carr (53); JP Rooney for Brennan (53); D Reid for A Reid (70+1)

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).

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