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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 20 October, 2018
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Dublin blitz Westmeath and make history by claiming Leinster 6-in-a-row

It was a landmark victory for the Sky Blues at Croke Park.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dublin 2-19
Westmeath 0-10

Jackie Cahill reports from Croke Park

IT TOOK A while but Dublin shrugged off the Westmeath challenge to claim a sixth successive Leinster senior football championship crown at Croke Park this afternoon – the first time that’s been done since the 1974-1979 vintage.

The Sky Blues continue to cast a long shadow over the Eastern province and while they were frustrated by Westmeath in the first half – a period that will give Dublin’s fellow All-Ireland contenders some encouragement – the end result was never in doubt.

In the second Leinster final in a row between the counties, Dublin’s march to a 55th provincial title was an absolute procession as they claimed a 15-point win, two points better than last year.

It’s the 11th time in 12 seasons that Dublin have accepted the Delaney Cup but a fourth Sam Maguire success in six seasons remains the ultimate goal.

Tyrone and others will have looked on with interest as Westmeath lined out with two sweepers in the first half – Francis Boyle and Callum McCormack – and frustrated the life out of Dublin.

But Dubs boss Jim Gavin rejigged things at half-time, bringing on Paddy Andrews for Eric Lowndes, and the extra body in attack helped to break down Westmeath.

Dublin and Westmeath players scuffle Dublin and Westmeath players scuffle following the first half flashpoint involving Diarmuid Connolly and James Dolan. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

In many ways, this was a carbon copy of last year’s game, as Westmeath made life difficult in the first half before Dublin’s power and pace inevitably proved too much to cope with.

In front of 38,885 spectators, they outscored Westmeath by 2-12 to 0-4 in the second half to claim the silverware.

It was, in truth, a turgid first half as Dublin went in 0-7 to 0-6 ahead at the break.

There was a flashpoint incident in the first half when Diarmuid Connolly had his hair ruffled by James Dolan, and reacted by grabbing the Westmeath player in a headlock.

ernard Brogan with Killian Daly Killian Daly applies the pressure to Dublin forward Bernard Brogan. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Referee Fergal Kelly opted for two yellow cards after consulting with his fellow officials and Westmeath suffered a major blow in the 34th minute when AFL hopeful Ray Connellan went off on a stretcher.

Kelly played eight additional minutes at the end of the first half but Westmeath held firm to remain in touch at the break.

That was as good as it got for them, however, as Dublin, predictably, unloaded after half-time to claim a big win.

The lead increased as the half wore on and Bernard Brogan finished a flowing team move for Dublin’s first goal with 12 minutes left.

Sub Andrews, Jonny Cooper and Brian Fenton were involved and when Fenton provided the assist, Brogan was on hand to palm the ball home at the Davin end.

A minute from time, Kevin McManamon scorched through for a second and while Darren Quinn got a hand to the ball, the Westmeath goalkeeper couldn’t keep it out.

In the end, it was far too comfortable for Dublin, even if they did line out without three of last year’s All-Ireland winning defenders – Rory O’Carroll, Jack McCaffrey and James McCarthy.

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-8f, Bernard Brogan 1-4, Kevin McManamon 1-2, Paddy Andrews 0-2, John Small, Paul Flynn & Diarmuid Connolly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: John Heslin 0-6 (5f), Ger Egan 0-2, Denis Corroon & Callum McCormack 0-1 each.

Dublin

1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells – captain)

3. John Cooper (Na Fianna)
4. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
2. Philip McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams)

7. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
6. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
5. Eric Lowndes (St. Peregrine’s)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. Michael Darragh MacAuley (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

10. Paul Flynn (Fingallians)
12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
14. Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincent’s)

11. Kevin McManamon (St Jude’s)
13. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
15. Bernard Brogan (St. Oliver Plunkett’s-Eoghan Ruadh)

Subs: 

17. Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s) for Lowndes (h.t.)
25. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala) for MacAuley (48)
18. Denis Bastick (Templeogue-Synge Street) for Connolly (53)
22. Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens) for Small (57)
23. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala) for O’Sullivan (61)
24. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes) for Rock (63)

Westmeath

1. Darren Quinn (Tyrrellspass)

4. Killian Daly (Mullingar Shamrocks)
3. Francis Boyle (Killucan)
5. Jamie Gonoud (Tyrrellspass)

2. Kevin Maguire (Caulry)
7. James Dolan (Garrycastle)
10. David Lynch (St Malachy’s)

8. Denis Corroon (Mullingar Shamrocks)
9. Ger Egan (Tyrrellspass – captain)

6. Alan Stone (Castledaly)
11. Paul Sharry (St Loman’s Mullingar)
12. Ray Connellan (Athlone)

14. John Heslin (St Loman’s Mullingar)
13. Kieran Martin (Maryland)
15. Callum McCormack (Maryland)

Subs: 

18. Darragh Daly (Mullingar Shamrocks) for Connellan (inj., 35)
25. Shane Corcorcan (Milltownpass) for Lynch (53)
23. Sam Duncan (Milltownpass) for Daly (55)
17. John Connellan (Athlone) for Martin (59)
24. Rob Gorman (Moate All Whites) for Maguire (61)
21. Dean McNicholas (Tyrrellspass) for Sharry (65)

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

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