Dublin 3-19 Derry 1-10
The Dublin juggernaut crushed an outclassed Derry side as the NFL champions retained their title with another awesome display at Croke Park.
The Oak Leafers suffered a punishing 15 points reversal on an afternoon they will want to forget.
But it’s difficult to imagine that any team in the country will be able to live with a Metropolitan side that now sets its sight on winning back to back All-Irelands.
With options and strength in depth that other counties can only dream of, they made this demolition job look like a stroll.
Dominant in every department, they picked off scores at will, and could afford to squander a string of opportunities in the second half and still win at a canter, a rejuvenated Bernard Brogan leading the way with a 1-6 haul.
Derry stunned the Dubs with a fourth minute goal, palmed home from two yards by Cailean O’Boyle, after Emmet McGuckin had created the opening.
But rather than setting the game alight, that scores signalled the start of a punishing spell for the Oak Leafers, who were soon putting out fires all over the field as the Dubs sparked into furious action.
With Jonny Cooper and James McCarthy raiding from deep and target man Eoghan O’Gara tormenting marker Chrissy McKaigue, the holders were soon clocking up the scores.
O’Gara’s lay-offs laid them on a plate for Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan, who helped himself to five first half points, from play and frees.
McCarthy made a searing run only to see his angled shot come back off the butt of a post, and by the time Alan Brogan added his name to the score-sheet in the 29th minute, Dublin were eight clear.
It had taken Derry 26 minutes to get their opening score through McGuckin, and while they did come close to nailing a second goal when Enda Lynn was robbed by Nicky Devereux, they carried only a minimal attacking threat.
Dublin, on the other hand, were a constant menace to a hard-pressed Derry defence, which escaped further punishment when O’Gara fired a shot into the side netting, and substitute Kevin McManamon rifled one narrowly wide.
Paul Flynn also contributed a couple of points as the All-Ireland champions reached the break with a 0-13 to 1-3 advantageCooper’s mistake allowed Mark Lynch in to rifle over a point, but Dublin responded with a Bernard Brogan goal, smashed home from Michael Darragh Macauley’s assist.
Lynch was sent clear at the other end by Kevin Johnson, but Stephen Cluxton got down to keep out the shot, and the Dubs started to build again, the Brogan brothers delighting their fans with clinical finishing.
Derry corner back Oisin Duffy was forced out of the action in the 50th minute by a black card as the pressure continued to mount on a creaking defence.
The Ulster men did manage to pull back points through Johnson, McGuckin and Fergal Doherty, the latter confirmed by the intervention of Hawk-Eye, but they still trailed by nine.
And the Dubs killed the game off with a second goal in the 57th minute, McManamon finishing on the rebound with the fist after his initial effort had been saved by Thomas Mallon.
Dublin allowed their intensity at the back to wane somewhat in the closing stages, and Nicky Devereux averted a second Derry goal when he was perfectly placed on the line to stop O’Kane’s spectacular volley.
Bernard Brogan also cracked in a shot that was kept out by Mallon, one of many misses in a second half that saw them hit 12 wides.
But their strong bench was brought into focus again when substitutes Ciaran Reddin and Darragh Nelson fired over points, and Connolly put a gloss on the final score-line by crashing home his side’s third goal.
Dublin: S Cluxton (0-1, f), P McMahon, R O’Carroll, J Cooper (0-1), J McCarthy, N Devereux, K Nolan, MD Macauley, C O’Sullivan, P Flynn (0-3), P Andrews, D Connolly (1-2), A Brogan (0-2), E O’Gara (0-2), B Brogan (1-6, 0-3f).
Subs: K McManamon (1-0) for Andrews, D Byrne for Nolan, M Fitzsimons for O’Carroll, C Reddin (0-1) for O’Gara, D Nelson (0-1) for O’Sullivan.
Derry: T Mallon, O Duffy, C McKaigue, D McBride, K Johnson (0-1), G O’Kane (0-2), A McAlynn, F Doherty (0-1), P Bradley, E Lynn, M Lynch (0-2), C McFaul, B Heron, E McGuckin (0-2), C O’Boyle (1-1).
Subs: E Bradley (0-1, f) for Heron, C McAtamney for McAlynn, D Mullan for Bradley, D Brown for Duffy (BC), M Craig for Johnson, N Holly for McFaul
Referee: C Reilly (Meath)