Dublin 3-19 Derry 1-10
Scores regularly typify games, but few could boast they characterised a fixture as much as Bernard Brogan’s goal yesterday.
Too quick and deadly for Derry, it was also too blindingly fast for the vast majority of the 38,841 Croke Park crowd. Even the umpire had to be instructed by referee Cormac Reilly to raise the green flag as, with remarkable precision, Brogan struck the ball into very corner of the goal, hitting the stanchion and coming back out into play.
Brogan knew his strike was good, of course, and with it Derry’s day came to an end. With just under half an hour of football left to play, Dublin had disappeared into the distance to the tune of nine points. Another Division 1 crown annexed.
“Yeah, it was one of those where you put the head over and aim for the crossbar and hope for the best,” said Brogan afterwards. “Kevin Mc[Manamon] gets a few of them so it was time for me to get one of them.”
It was all good natured stuff from a typically diplomatic Brogan but it was tough to digest his comment that “the scoreboard probably did not reflect the heat of the battle out there and the Derry lads stuck it into us”.
Dublin talk with respect. Picking up not a single black card in their eight league games, they can act with it too. But the only morsel of it they offered Derry was putting them out of their misery swiftly.
Cork enjoyed the high life in the first half the last day but their fall from grace was unmercifully rapid. Derry were at least spared the stay of execution. Yesterday wasn’t ruthless — 17 wides was a major collection of misses — but it was brutal enough. That total of erratic shots and passes that went astray past the end-line was four higher than Derry’s sum of points.
Derry threatened to emulate Cork’s fine first half in the semi-final when they goaled in the fourth minute via Cailean O’Boyle although there appeared to be a push on Philly McMahon in the build-up.
Dublin need not have worried though as Derry’s next score didn’t come until the 27th minute with an Emmet McGuckin point. They tagged on just two more before the break where they trailed by 0-13 to 1-3.
There might have been strong claims for a 20th minute penalty when Enda Lynn appeared to be upended illegally in the area. But a goal from it would have come against the run of play, so convincing were Dublin in recovering from their early setback and Eoghan O’Gara so effective as the inside target man.
He pushed them ahead in the ninth minute, 0-4 to 1-0, one of nine unanswered scores. The discipline of the Derry defence also eroded under the pressure of Dublin’s attack waves and Bernard Brogan had three frees to his name inside the opening nine minutes.
It might have been curtains had he not had a shot snuffed out by the Derry cover in the 13th minute after an endeavouring Michael Darragh Macauley run.
In the 25th minute, the scoreline read 0-10 to 1-0 in Dublin’s favour and Jim Gavin was convinced his team had learned from their few semi-final shortcomings. “Every team wants to start well, I think most dressing-rooms before game the message will be ‘let’s try and get off to a positive start’.
“We did but they also got a goal in the first couple of minutes and they had some more chances but just didn’t take them. We seemed to take ours in the first quarter so that was pleasing that that worked out that way.”
The first three scores of the second half came from Derry but the last of three points from the marvellous Paul Flynn arrested that mere hint of a comeback and then Brogan netted his peach. Again, it was Macauley whose run provided him with the opportunity and Thomas Mallon stood no chance.
Brogan then bombed over a long-range point and the margin grew to 10. Stephen Cluxton had to be alert to deny Mark Lynch, superbly marked for most of the game by Jonny Cooper, a goal in the 46th minute and Alan Brogan was then on hand to add his second point of the game.
Derry were offered small mercy in the form of points and Dublin wides before McManamon palmed a goal having seen his initial shot saved by Mallon.
The Derry goalkeeper kept out Brogan again in the 65th minute as did Nickey Devereux from a ferocious Gerard O’Kane volley just prior to it. Diarmuid Connolly did, though, get in on the goal act with the last score of the match.
Ten points came from the Dublin substitutes against Cork but here it was “only” 1-2. Yesterday’s starters got the message. They didn’t need the help. And we wonder how so many of the champions’ future opponents will.
Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan (1-6, 3fs), D Connolly (1-2), P Flynn (0-3); K McManamon (1-0), E O’Gara, A Brogan (0-2 each), J Cooper, S Cluxton (f), D Nelson, C Reddin (0-1 each).
Scorers for Derry: C O’Boyle (1-1), E McGuckin, G O’Kane, M Lynch (0-2 each), E Bradley (f), K Johnston, F Doherty (0-1 each).
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; P McMahon, R O’Carroll, K Nolan; J McCarthy, J Cooper, N Devereux; MD Macauley, C O’Sullivan; P Flynn, P Andrews, D Connolly; E O’Gara, A Brogan, B Brogan.
Subs for Dublin: K McManamon for P Andrews (inj 29), D Byrne for K Nolan (inj 45), M Fitzsimons for R O’Carroll, C Reddin for E O’Gara (61), D Nelson for C O’Sullivan (63), T Brady for A Brogan (67).
DERRY: T Mallon; D McBride, A McAlynn, C McKaigue; K Johnston, O Duffy, G O’Kane; F Doherty, P Bradley; E Lynn, M Lynch, C McFaul; B Heron, E McGuckin, C O’Boyle.
Subs for Derry: C McAtamney for A McAlynn, E Bradley for B Heron (both 31), D Mullan for P Bradley (47), D Brown for O Duffy (bc, 51), M Craig for K Johnston, N Holly for E Lynn (both 67).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).
We might be too fair on Derry by suggesting Bernard Brogan’s goal, Dublin’s second, finished them. They looked dead men standing before then.
Talk of the town
Yes, you guessed it: are the Dubs unstoppable?
Did that just happen?
Dublin’s wide count of 17 put Derry’s score total of 13 points in the shade.
Best on show
Bernard Brogan was officially named man of the match, but Paul Flynn was our selection. Nobody worked harder or better than him.
Black card watch
Óisín Duffy picked up a merited one for a second half trip on Diarmuid Connolly.
Jim Gavin didn’t need the bench as he did against Cork. Derry’s two-man full-forward line largely worked in their opponents’ favour.
The man in black
Cormac Reilly missed a push on Philly McMahon for the Derry goal and there was a genuine penalty shout for Enda Lynn, which he refused to award. Otherwise, he had a decent shift.
Derry are first out in the championship, taking on Donegal in Celtic Park on May 25. Dublin have a June 8 Leinster quarter-final.
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