By Brendan O’Brien, Croke Park
Dublin 2-23 Fermanagh 2-15
Dublin’s comprehensive All-Ireland quarter-final win today put the seal on what was a painfully uncompetitive weekend at HQ.
The weekend saw Tyrone, Donegal and Kerry also claiming routine and, at times, embarrassing victories at a time of year when the championship is supposed to be coming to a head.
Dublin manager Jim Gavin drafted in Denis Bastick and Paddy Andrews for Michael Darragh Macauley and Kevin McManamon in switches to the team named on Friday night, but the depth he boasts is such that any combination of players would have sufficed here.
Fermanagh began brightly enough, taking the game to their Leinster opponents who took six minutes to claim their first point.
Once on the board, the run rate began to tick over and Dublin had 1-13 on the board by the interval against six for Fermanagh.
Dublin’s goal was a thing of beauty. Jack McCaffrey looked up when in possession around midfield and drilled in a zinger of a long ball that evaded Niall Cassidy’s despairing lunge. Unluckily for him, his marker was Bernard Brogan and he was now free and in on goal.
Well, the result was a foregone conclusion.
Fermanagh were game but they didn’t help themselves with ten attempts on goal that either fell short or sailed wide in the opening half. To live with a team like Dublin requires a much better return on such endeavours.
By half-time no-one was under any illusions as to how it would end, but credit to Fermanagh and their supporters who kept plugging away despite the inevitable for the remainder of the afternoon.
The biggest roar of the day came on 62 minutes when Stephen Cluxton caught a dropping ball on his line and was then bumped over it by Sean Quigley. After some deliberations the goal was awarded and the Ulster faithful raised the roof.
Dublin wasted little time in rampaging upfield to claim a three-pointer of their own through Paul Flynn, but Fermanagh weren’t done and Tomas Corrigan tapped home a second simple goal close to full time after a defensive mix-up involving Cluxton and his defenders.
Still, Dublin march on unhindered. Again.
Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan (1-6); D Rock (0-7, 3 frees); P Flynn (1-1); P Andrews and C Kilkenny (both 0-3); D Connolly (0-2); B Fenton (0-1).
Scorers for Fermanagh: S Quigley (0-8, 4 frees); T Corrigan (1-2, 0-1 free); Own goal (1-0); B Mulrone (0-3); C Jones (0-2).
Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, R O’Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, C O’Sullivan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, D Bastick; P Flynn, C Kilkenny, D Connolly; D Rock, P Andrews, B Brogan. Subs: MD Macaulaey for Bastick and K McManamon for Kilkenny (both HT); A Brogan for Connolly (48); M Fitzsimons for Cooper (50); J Small for McCarthy (56); C Costello for Andrews (66).
Fermanagh: T Treacy; M Jones, R McCluskey, N Cassidy; D McCusker, M O’Brien, J McMahon; E Donnelly, R O’Callaghan; R Jones, B Mulrone, R Corrigan; P McCusker, S Quigley, T Corrigan. Subs: D Kelly for P McCusker (43); C Jones for D McCusker and T Daly for T Jones (55); D Kille for R Corrigan (68).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).