Pat Gilroy’s new-look Dublin ended a mixed weekend on a high note with a big win over Antrim to move confidently through to the last four of the Bord na Mona Walsh Cup.
First-half goals from Paul Crummey and Paul Winters, and two more after the break from Alan Moore, secured a 4-16 to 0-17 win at Parnell Park.
The result followed Saturday’s 1-26 to 0-12 challenge defeat to Tipperary, in Thurles, with Gilroy choosing to start 11 of the same players.
That perhaps explained Dublin’s early lethargy with Antrim rifling over five frees before the hosts had even opened the scoring.
But when they finally found the mark with Crummey’s seventh-minute goal, Dublin went on a scoring spree themselves with an unanswered 1-5 to take control of the encounter.
The sides will meet again in Dunloy in Round 2 of the Allianz league and Winters’ 26th-minute goal gave Dublin a 2-9 to 0-9 half-time lead in this dress rehearsal.
Gilroy’s team contained new, fringe and established talent and recalled ex-captain Johnny McCaffrey lasted the entire game at midfield, scoring a point.
Robbie Mahon, Winters and Moore formed a new look and potent full-forward line with 3-11 between them.
Former All-Star Danny Sutcliffe was listed to play and featured against Tipp following two seasons out though his number 10 jersey was worn by Cillian Costello.
Dublin will also play Waterford in a midweek challenge with their medium-term focus on the Allianz League which begins at home to Offaly on January 27.
Antrim’s interest in the competition is over having previously lost to Meath though 17 points was a decent return in the capital.
Free-taker Neil McManus hit 11 of those though Moore’s 40th and 44th-minute majors for Dublin killed the contest.
“We travelled to Tipperary and we were late back last night (Saturday), it can take a few minutes to get going,” said Dublin boss Gilroy of their slow start.
“We had a few silly mistakes in the first 10 minutes but that was a good sign of character afterwards, to concede five points and then score 2-9 to 0-4 for the remainder of the half.”
Gilroy admitted after the win over Meath that shoring up Dublin’s leaky defence is one of his biggest challenges.
“We didn’t concede a goal in the two competitive games so far and we only conceded one yesterday to Tipp,” he said. “So in terms of stopping goals, that has been very good.”
Dublin will play Wexford in the semi-finals next weekend after Davy Fitzgerald’s side hammered Wicklow 6-36 to 1-12 in Ashford.
Kilkenny and Offaly will meet in the second semi-final. Brian Cody’s Cats were in experimental mode against Kildare with John Walsh scoring 2-6 in their 3-18 to 0-8 win though they only led by four at half-time.
Offaly beat Westmeath for the second weekend running to progress from their two-team group.
They won 1-18 to 0-18 and came from four down at the break with a series of points from Shane Dooley helping to get them over the line.
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