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All too easy for Dublin as they overcome Wicklow in Portlaoise

Con O’Callaghan and Ciaran Kilkenny each pointed twice in that blistering opening spell.

Dublin's Brian Fenton with fans after the game.
Dublin's Brian Fenton with fans after the game.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Dublin 4-25

Wicklow 1-11

Steven Miller reports from O’Moore Park

FOR THE THIRD summer running the Dublin footballers began their championship season outside of Croke Park but the game followed a similar pattern to most of their games in Leinster under Jim Gavin’s reign.

In front of 11,786 in O’Moore Park in Portlaoise, this was never a contest. Dublin played against the wind and a packed Wicklow defence in the first half but they were 1-3 to no score up after seven minutes, 2-7 to no score up after 15.

Brian Fenton got their first goal when he ghosted through after seven minutes and slotted home and the big midfielder set up Dean Rock for their second eight minutes later.

Con O’Callaghan and Ciaran Kilkenny each pointed twice in that blistering opening spell too with a Rock free and another from Philly McMahon taking the mystery out of this one early on.

James Stafford finally got Wicklow off the mark with a long-range point but Michael Daragh McAuley immediately cancelled it out when he punched over.

Theo Smyth got Wicklow’s second and Stafford palmed home a goal after Stephen Cluxton and McAuley failed to deal with a high ball. but Dublin were relentless.

O’Callaghan and Kilkenny got a goal each late in the first half and Paddy Andrews added a couple of points from play too.

At half-time Dublin led by 18, 4-13 to 1-4.

The life was completely gone out of the game in the second half.

Rory Finn got the first point of the half for Wicklow but Dublin hit back with eight of the next 10 points as they continued to clock up the scores. They spurned a handful of goal chances too. Kilkenny, O’Callaghan and Fenton did most of the damage and between them they finished with 3-14 from play.

Gavin had all six of his subs on with 20 minutes remaining — with Eoin Murchan, Conor McHugh, Paul Flynn, Colm Basquel, Darren Daly and Kevin McManamon all seeing action.

Wicklow to their credit kept plugging away and hit a handful of nice points from Darren Hayden, Mark Kenny and free-taking goal-keeper Mark Jackson. But it was never remotely enough to make a difference and the Dubs eased through to a semi-final meeting with Longford in two weeks time.

Scorers for Dublin: Ciaran Kilkenny 1-7, Con O’Callaghan 1-4, Brian Fenton 1-3, Dean Rock 1-2 (0-2 frees), Paddy Andrews 0-3, Conor McHugh 0-2 (one free), Michael Daragh McAuley, Philly McMahon, Colm Basquel and Paul Mannion (‘45) 0-1 each

Scorers for Wicklow: James Stafford 1-1, Darren Hayde, Theo Smyth and Mark Jackson (both frees) 0-2 each, Rory Finn, Dean Healy, Mark Kenny and Seanie Furlong (free) 0-1 each

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1 – Stephen Cluxton

2 – Michael Fitzsimons
3 – Philip McMahon
4 – Eric Lowndes

5 – James McCarthy
6 – Jonny Cooper
12 – Brian Howard

8 – MD MaCauley
9 – Brian Fenton

10 – Niall Scully
13 – Paul Mannion
15 – Con O’Callaghan

14 – Dean Rock
11 – Ciaran Kilkenny
17 – Paddy Andrews

25 – Eoin Murchan for Fitzsimons (HT)
22 – Conor McHugh for Rock (HT)
19 – Darren Daly for Mannion (40)
20 – Paul Flynn for McAuley (40)
18 – Colm Basquel for Andrews (48)
23 – Kevin McManamon for O’Callaghan (51)


1 – Mark Jackson

2 – Ciaran Hyland
3 – Ross O’Brien
4 – Eoin Murtagh

5 – John Crowe
6 – Dean Healy
7 – Saoirse Kearon

8 – Rory Finn
9 – James Stafford

10 – Darren Hayden
11 – Kevin Murphy
12 – Theo Smith

13 – Mark Kenny
15 – John McGrath
14 – Sean Furlong

22 – Darragh Fitzgerald for McGrath (HT)
18 – Cathal Magee for Murphy (HT)
21 – Conor Healy for Kearon (50)
17 – Paul Merrigan for Crowe (52)
19 – Brendan Kennedy for Stafford (58)
26 – Daniel Keane for Smyth (68)

REFEREE: Ciaran Branagan (Down)

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About the author:

Steven Miller

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