By John Fogarty
Dublin 1-15 Donegal 1-10
A Ryan McHugh goal followed by Diarmuid Connolly’s sending off wasn’t enough to derail an otherwise composed All-Ireland quarter-final performance by Dublin.
Dublin will face Kerry in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final in an August 28 semi-final having had too much quality and tactical intelligence for Donegal.
They were cruising at six points up before McHugh palmed to the net in the 42nd minute after Leo McLoone and Éamon McGee linked up to put him in.
Although Dublin responded quickly with a Dean Rock free, they lost vice-captain Connolly to a second yellow card for a head high foul on Anthony Thompson after he and Ryan McHugh were earlier booked for an off-the-ball incident.
Donegal, though, were never going to make the numerical advantage playing so retreated and Dublin tagged on scores from the impressive Kevin McManamon and Jonny Cooper.
Frees from Paddy McBrearty and Michael Murphy cancelled those out but then Paul Mannion gave Dublin the four-point breathing space.
Dublin finished the game with 13 men as Eoghan O’Gara also saw red for an off-the-ball clash with Neil McGee, which saw the Donegal defender booked.
But there was too little time or compunction in the Donegal effort and Mannion capped it the victory off with an additional time goal.
Annihilated in midfield, Donegal totted up nine first half wides but so many of their shots were circumspect.
Dublin, on the other hand, could only rue the two goal chances they had that went astray, both of them falling to Connolly.
His first strike after 13 seconds was blocked by Mark Anthony McGinley while his 16th minute effort went narrowly wide of the far post.
Dublin were quite stunning on both kick-outs, forcing Donegal to go long where they could contest while Stephen Cluxton was finding his range over and over from his restarts in doing so initiating a host of attacks.
Matters were tight for the opening quarter and the scoreboard read level pegging until the 21st minute when Dublin rattled off the first of three points without reply.
A Murphy free broke the sequence but another Dublin trio followed from Connolly, Paddy Andrews shooting close to the corner flag and a Rock free.
Anthony Thompson sent over Donegal’s first point from play in the 35th minute but then Connolly returned the favour with a sublime shot off his left, leaving Dublin with a much deserved 0-9 to 0-4 half-time advantage.
A half-time tunnel incident between Murphy and Cooper was not picked up by referee Ciaran Branagan.
Scorers for Dublin: D. Rock (0-5, 4 frees, 1 45); P. Mannion (1-1); K. McManamon (0-3); D. Connolly (0-2); P. McMahon, C. Kilkenny, P. Andrews, J. Cooper (0-1).
Scorers for Donegal: M. Murphy (0-6, 5 frees, 1 45); R. McHugh (1-0); P. McBrearty (0-3, 2 frees); A. Thompson (0-1).
DUBLIN: S. Cluxton (c); P. McMahon, D. Byrne; C. O’Sullivan; J. Cooper, C. Kilkenny, J. Small; B. Fenton, M.D. Macauley; P. Flynn, K. McManamon, D. Connolly; B. Brogan, P. Andrews, D. Rock.
Subs for Dublin: D. Daly for B. Brogan (48); D. Bastick for M.D. Macauley (53); P. Mannion for P. Andrews (57); M. Fitzsimons for J. Cooper (blood, 68-70+5); E. O’Gara for K. McManamon (68); E. Lowndes for D. Rock (70+4); M. Fitzsimons for B. Fenton (black, 70+7).
Sent off: D. Connolly (second yellow, 47); E. O’Gara (straight, 70+3).
DONEGAL: M.A. McGinley; É. McGee, N. McGee; M. O’Reilly, P. McGrath, A. Thompson; F. McGlynn; R. Kavanagh, Ó Mac Niallais; K. Lacey, E. McHugh, R. McHugh; P. McBrearty, M. Murphy (c).
Subs for Donegal: C. Gillespie for O. Mac Niallais (h-t); L. McLoone for R. Kavanagh (42); C. Toye for A. Thompson (inj 48); M. McHugh for É McGee (56); C. Thompson for M. McElhinney (61); C. McFadden for K. Lacey (70+1).
Referee: C. Branagan (Down).