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Slick Dubs beat Westmeath to a pulp with 31-point hammering to book Leinster final

It was Dublin’s highest margin of victory in the championship under Jim Gavin.

Dublin 4-29

Westmeath 0-10

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

A FRESH-LOOKING Dublin team arrived for their first championship game of the season in Croke Park and had Westmeath beaten out the gate by half-time.

Cian O’Sullivan and Michael Fitzsimons with John Heslin Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The Dubs looked sharp and their slick attack buzzed with energy, but it must be said that Westmeath offered little in the form of a challenge.

Paul Mannion gave his finest performance in a Dublin jersey to date, scoring 0-8 from eight shots at the goal, while goals arrived from Dean Rock, Eoghan O’Gara, Ciaran Kilkenny and Kevin McManamon.

This was Dublin’s highest championship score under Jim Gavin and the 31-point defeat may prove very difficult for Westmeath to recover from. They play a Round 2B qualifier in 8 July and Tom Cribbin must face the daunting task of rebuilding his side’s confidence after the battering they took today.

Westmeath lost by an average of 14 points in their two provincial final defeats of 2016 and 2015, and the talk in the build-up was they would play a little bit more offensive and go at the All-Ireland champions.

Tom Cribbin’s side operated with Mark McCullan as a sweeper but Dublin pushed up with Niall Scully acting as a seventh forward. The movement and intelligence of Dublin’s forward play was a sight to behold and this was a performance on another level to their 12-point quarter-final win over Carlow.

Westmeath lost Noel Mulligan to a black card on 67 minutes and they couldn’t bring on a replacement as they’d already used a full compliment of subs. From that point Dublin bagged 2-5 as Westmeath struggled without the protection of a full-time sweeper.

Ciaran Kilkenny celebrates scoring a goal Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

O’Callaghan enjoyed more space in the opening few minutes than he did in the entire game against Carlow. The Cuala youngster has his name on the scoreboard inside 20 seconds, and added one off his left foot eight minutes later.

Westmeath started well and were on level terms in the 12th minute at 0-4 apiece, but then Dublin started to fire out some warning signs. Swift movement in attack led to goal chances for O’Callaghan and Kilkenny, and some last ditch tackles denied Rock and Fenton hitting the net.

Rock finally raised the green flag seven minutes before half-time, as a brace each from Mannion and Kilkenny left them 13 in front at the interval.

Westmeath players dejected Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

O’Gara was introduced at the break and Dublin started to hit him with a couple of early deliveries. Within five minutes he had the ball in the net. Kilkenny plucked a Stephen Cluxton kick-out from the sky and claimed his mark, before delivering a high ball into O’Gara, who applied the finish.

Dublin were leading by 2-18 to 0-8 when Bernard Brogan and Kevin McManamon began limbering up on the sideline. Their introduction on 47 minutes provided another spark for the winners, who added goals through McManamon and Kilkenny in the final five minutes.

Dean Rock celebrates scoring Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 1-5 (0-2f, 0-2 45), Paul Mannion 0-8, Ciaran Kilkenny 1-3, Kevin McManamon 1-1, Con O’Callaghan 0-3, Eoghan O’Gara 1-0, Brian Fenton Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan (0-1f) and Shane Carthy 0-2 each, Jack McCaffrey 0-1.

Scorers for Westmeath: Kieran Martin and John Heslin (0-3f) 0-3 each, John Egan 0-2, Ger Egan 0-1.

Dublin

1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

2. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
6. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)

3. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)

21. Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens)
4. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrine’s)
7. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)

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

5. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)

10. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)
11. Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s)
12. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)

14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)
15. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)

Subs
25. Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Synge Street)
20. Shane Carthy (St Vincent’s) for Cooper (43)
19. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf) for Fitzsimons (43)
18. Bernard Brogan (St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh) for Rock (47)
13. Kevin McManamon (St Jude’s) for Scully (47)
23. Brian Howard (Raheny) for O’Callaghan (60)

Westmeath

1. Darren Quinn (Tyrrellspass)

4. Killian Daly (Mullingar Shamrocks)
6. Frank Boyle (Killucan)
2. Jamie Gonoud (Tyrrellspass)

5. Mark McCallon (Garrycastle)

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

17. Alan Gaughan (Athlone)
9. Ger Egan (Tyrrellspass)

21. John Egan (Athlone)
11. Paul Sharry (St Loman’s Mullingar)
10. Callum McCormack (Maryland)

12. Kieran Martin (Maryland)
14. John Heslin (St Loman’s Mullingar)

Subs

23. Noel Mulligan (Athlone) for Gaughan (ht)
22. Kelvin Reilly (St Loman’s Mullingar) for McCormack (49)
19. Cormac Boyle (Killucan) for Daly (50)
24. Shane Corcoran (Milltownpass) for Egan (52)
15. Denis Glennon (Tyrrellspass) for Sharry 57)
8. Alan Stone (Castledaly) for Lynch (65)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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