Dublin 4-16 Kildare 1-9
Dublin enhanced their already glowing reputation by dismantling a plucky but completely outclassed Kildare unit in a sparkling performance at Croke Park.
In the end, there were 16 points between the sides but it could easily have 40, as Jim Gavin’s irresistible charges hit the woodwork twice, Shane Connolly made four tremendous saves and on a couple of other occasions, points were taken when goals were on.
To be fair, Kildare had a couple of goal opportunities too but they never recovered from conceding a goal in the last act of the opening half.
That sent them in trailing by 2-7 to 1-5 and they only added four points in the latter period, while Dublin constantly ripped them to shreds with their stunning speed and movement.
It was all the more impressive for the fact that they got off to a dreadful start as Kildare moved into a five-point lead after eight minutes.
It was a stunning start to the game as Eoghan O’Flaherty pointed before James McCarthy hit the butt of the Kildare post.
Paddy Brophy drove a brilliant goal for Kildare in the seventh minute, after good work by David Hyland and Johnny Doyle, and followed up with a point after a deft chip-lift.
Dublin got the show on the road around 60 seconds later though, as Diarmuid Connolly had all the time in the world to pick out Paul Mannion, who made no mistake from close range.
The Blues gradually got on top around the middle and threatened a three-pointer almost every time they got inside the Kildare 45.
Stephen Cluxton landed a couple of 45s and Ciarán Kilkenny also found the target, while Johnny Doyle kicked a couple for Kildare.
It was still delicately poised in the second minute of injury time but a good burst by Jack McCaffrey ended with Bernard Brogan taking possession on the left-hand side of the big square and he sent the net billowing to give the Dubs a huge boost.
While Paul Cribbin pointed early in the second half, it was all Dublin from there. Eoghan O’Gara, Ger Brennan and Cluxton had points and Brogan was hauled ashore at the three-quarter mark.
His replacement, Kevin McManamon had a fairly instant impact and a trademark barrelling run ended with Diarmuid Connolly grabbing a third goal.
The game was over at this juncture but Jim Gavin’s men were intent on driving home their advantage.
Shane Connolly, who had denied Brogan and Mannion earlier, made furthers good stops from Paul Flynn and McManamon, while Macauley cannoned a shot off the crossbar.
O’Gara did finally make it four as Dublin finished the second half as they did the first. It was hugely impressive and Kildare had absolutely no answer.
Scorers – Dublin: P Mannion 1-1, B Brogan 1-1, K McManamon 1-0, C Kilkenny 0-4, S Cluxton 0-4 (3 45s, 1f), P Andrews 0-1, G Brennan 0-1, E O’Gara 1-2, D Rock 0-2(fs)
Kildare: P Brophy 1-1 E O’Flaherty 0-3(1f), J Doyle 0-2(1f), P Cribbin 0-2, S Hurley 0-1
Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O’Carroll, D Daly; J McCarthy, G Brennan, J McCaffrey, MD Macauley, C O’Sullivan, P Flynn, C Kilkenny, D Connolly, P Mannion, P Andrews, B Brogan. Subs: E O’Gara for Andrews (ht); K McManamon for Brogan (48); K Nolan for Brennan (50); K O’Brien for Daly (61); D rock for Connolly (61); N Devereaux for O’Sullivan (61)
Kildare: S Connolly; P Kelly, H McGrillen, D Hyland, E Callaghan, M Foley, E Bolton, S Hurley, Daryl Fynn, P Cribbin, N Kelly, E O’Flaherty, J Doyle, D Flynn, P Brophy. Subs: S Johnston for Daniel Flynn (46); P O’Neill for Daryl Flynn (53); M O’Flaherty for Callaghan (54); F Dowling for Doyle (54)
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan)