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August 5 2017 7:46 PM
RARELY has such an impressive victory seemed so pedestrian.
As is their wont, Dublin went through the motions of a fellow Division 1 team in Croke Park this evening by double digits.
It was the county’s eighth successive All-Ireland quarter-final.
Yet the relentlessness of their play meant the near sell-out crowd never really had their senses tested.
The notion of a ‘top eight’ of football teams, to be framed as a replacement for this quarter-final stage from next year, seems optimistic in the extreme.
Monaghan, their victims, brought nothing but the sort of predictable organisation Dublin have long since get their heads around so this became a procession before it was even a contest.
Dublin absorbed them.
Monaghan’s running game doesn’t have anything like the pace and swarming qualities Dublin’s does and they scored just a single point in the first half hour.
They also appeared hell-bent on not conceding an early goal, yet Dublin had the patience and the confidence to simply keep possession, stretch the cover and pick off their scores.
Eric Lowndes, one of their best players this year, played an effective man-marking role on Monaghan wing-back Karl O’Connell.
Dean Rock kicked 1-8, the product of his unblemished freetaking a well-worked second half goal.
Paddy Andrews and Paul Mannion had little patches too while James McCarthy simply overran and overpowered Monaghan’s midfield.
His partner, Brian Fenton, had easily his most involved game of this summer.
Dublin led by 0-11 to 0-3 at half-time but hadn’t exactly taken anyone’s breath away.
For Monaghan, Conor McCarthy appeared just before half-time and proceeded to make a mockery of Malachy O’Rourke’s team selection.
Of the men who came on a won the Down game for Monaghan a week ago, O’Rourke elected to start Jack McCarron.
Neither McCarron’s performance or McCarthy’ sprightly cameo suggested he had made the right decision.
On the 41st minute, Dublin got their goal.
Fenton tried to get a quick free away to Andrews but was called back by referee, Conor Lane.
Upon Lane’s signal to proceed, he tried the same thing and this time, Andrews passed the ball across goal to Rock who – in something of a personal trademark – palmed the ball into the net.
The rest of the game ran along predictable lines, although it was noteworthy for the re-appearance of Paul Flynn and Michael Darragh Macauley for the first time this summer.
It’s Tyrone next for the Dubs on August 27th, a semi-final with all the makings of a classic.
SCORERS – Dublin: D Rock 1-8 (0-7f, 0-1 ’45), P Mannion, P Andrews, J McCarthy, C O’Callaghan, J McCaffrey, P Flynn, E O’Gara 0-1 each, Monaghan: C McManus 0-4 (3f), C McCarthy 0-3, C Walshe, K O’Connell, R Beggan (f), R McAnespie, D Hughes 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, M Fitzsimons, P McMahon; J Small, C O’Sullivan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, J McCarthy; E Lowndes, C O’Callaghan, C Kilkenny; P Mannion, P Andrews, D Rock. Subs: B Brogan for Lowndes (42), D Daly for Small (51), P Flynn for McCarthy (51), E O’Gara for Andrews (54), MD Macauley for Kilkenny (58), D Byrne for Cooper (61)
MONAGHAN: R Beggan; D Wylie, C Walshe, R Wylie; K Duffy, F Kelly, K O’Connell; K Hughes, D Hughes; D Ward, S Carey, S Carey; R McAnespie, C McManus, J McCarron. Subs: C McCarthy for Doogan (35), O Duffy for Ward (h-t), V Corey for R Wylie (44), D Mone for O’Connell (44), D Malone for Carey (56), N McAdam for D Hughes (63)
REF: C Lane (Cork)