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O'Callaghan and O'Gara bag goals as ruthless Dublin rip Tyrone to shreds

It’s Dublin and Mayo in the All-Ireland SFC final next month.

Dublin 2-17

Tyrone 0-11

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

OVER 80,000 SOULS packed into Croke Park this afternoon but for long spells you could hear a pin drop, such was the paucity of the spectacle on show.

Con O'Callaghan scores the first goal Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

First things first. Dublin are into the All-Ireland final, with Mayo the only obstacle between them and a third title in succession.

Mickey Harte watched his defensive structure picked apart by Dublin, who strangled the life out of this game with a cold, clinical display.

Dublin happily cut their cloth to suit the opposition. Go defensive and they’ll play keep-ball, grind you down and carefully work scores. Leave yourself open at the back and they’ll rip you to threads.

Tyrone opted for the former, but there’s no keeping out this formidable forward unit, no matter how many bodies you have back. Dublin made over 300 hand-passes and held onto possession for lengthy spells. It almost seemed like a different sport to the Kerry-Mayo game 24 hours earlier.

The decibel levels peaked late on when Diarmuid Connolly was summed from the bench for a run out in the 69th minute, but the game was long over by that stage. Con O’Callaghan’s star continued to rise and he bagged 1-2 as well as giving the final pass for Eoghan O’Gara’s goal four minutes from time.

Diarmuid Connolly looks on as the team parade Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In the end, the only surprising thing was that Bernard Brogan and Michael Darragh Macauley failed to make an appearance off the bench. They didn’t need them with O’Gara, Kevin McManamon and Paul Flynn (0-3) in devastating form.

Peter Harte’s penalty, which was saved by Stephen Cluxton, in stoppage-time summed up Tyrone’s day. In what could be his final game in a Tyrone jersey, Sean Cavanagh was substituted after an ineffectual 55 minutes. It was nothing close to the the farewell he’d have dreamed of.

Dublin had Cian O’Sullivan and Jonny Cooper as spare defenders protecting the full-back line, although they were never really tested.

In terms of match-ups, James McCarthy picked up Sean Cavanagh, Philly McMahon tracked Mattie Donnelly, John Small followed Peter Harte and Michael Fitzsimons shadowed Mark Bradley.

Tyrone posted Cathal McCarron on Paul Mannion, Ronan McNamee on Paddy Andrews and Aidan McCrory on Dean Rock.

Tyrone needed a lead early on to put doubt in the minds of their opponents, but the Dubs were far too streetwise for that to happen. They patiently worked the ball from side to side, probing for an opening which inevitably arrived.

Jack McCaffrey and Colm Cavanagh Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The game was barely three minutes old when O’Callaghan knifed past three Tyrone defenders and smashed the ball past Niall Morgan. It gave Dublin confidence and was precisely what Mickey Harte would have wanted to avoid early on.

Paddy Andrews and Kilkenny picked off good scores from distance, while O’Callaghan highlighted his class with two fine points. Tyrone had just 0-3 from play in the board by the half.

The numbers made for good reading for Jim Gavin’s side at half-time, where they led by 1-9 to 0-5. They did an excellent job of not bringing the ball into contact and were turned over just seven times, while Stephen Cluxton found the target with every single one of his kick-outs in the opening 35 minutes.

Of the four occasions they forced Morgan into a long kick-out, Dublin came away with possession three times.

The second-half was merely a formality as Jack McCaffrey bombed forward time after time.

Flynn slotted over three excellent scores, Rock clipped over a trio of placed balls, while O’Gara dispatched a goal after a great move involving Lowndes and O’Callaghan.

Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 1-2, Dean Rock 0-5 (0-4f), Paul Flynn 0-3, Eoghan O’Gara 1-1, Paddy Andrews 0-2, Jack McCaffrey, Brian Fenton, Paul Mannion and Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone: Peter Harte 0-4 (0-3f), Niall Sludden and Colm Cavanagh 0-2 each, Sean Cavanagh (0-1f), Tiernan McCann and Declan McClure 0-1 each.

Dublin

1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

4. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
5. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)

6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
3. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
7. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)

2. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)

21. Niall Scully (Templeogue)
11. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)
10. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)

13. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
14. Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s)
15. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)

Subs

22. Paul Flynn (Fingallians) for Scully (44)
24. Kevin McManamon (St Jude’s) for Andrews (45)
24. Padraid McNulty for McNamee (60)
25. Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Sygne Street) for Rock (62)
12. Eirc Lowndes (St Peregrines) for Mannion (66)
20. Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincent’s) for O’Callaghan (69)

Tyrone

1. Niall Morgan (Éadan na dTorc)

2. Aidan McCrory (Aireagal Chiaráin)
3. Ronan McNamee (Achadh Uí Aráin)
4. Cathal McCarron (An Droim Mór)

8. Colm Cavanagh (An Mhaigh)

5. Tiernan McCann (Coill an Chlochair)
6. Pádraig Hampsey (Oileán a’Ghuail)
12. Kieran McGeary (Cabhán a’Chaortainn)

15. Matthew Donnelly (Trí Leac)

14. Sean Cavanagh (An Mhaigh, capt)
9. Conall McCann (Coill an Chlochair)

10. David Mulgrew (Ard Bó)
7. Peter Harte (Aireagal Chiaráin)
11. Niall Sludden (An Droim Mór)

13. Mark Bradley (Coill an Chlochair)

Subs

21. Declan McClure (Cluain Eo) for Conall McCann (29)
18. Rory Brennan (Tri Leac) for McGeary (ht)
22. Darren McCurry (Eadan na dTorc) for Mulgrew (41)
26. Ronan O’Neill (Omagh) for Bradley (49)
25. Conor Meyler (Omagh) for Sean Cavanagh (55)

Referee: David Goldrick (Meath)

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