LIAM RUSHE AND EAMONN Dillon combined in devastating fashion at Parnell Park to get the Ger Cunningham era off to a flying start for Dublin with a thumping win over DIT.
The established duo shot 2-9 between them with Dillon contributing 1-6 of that tally to leave the 2013 champions sitting pretty in the Walsh Cup.
It was Cork legend Cunningham’s first competitive game as boss and he’ll be happy with what he saw in tricky conditions. His side had the game virtually wrapped up in the third quarter with a 10-point lead.
But the hosts didn’t let up and sealed a big win late on with goals from Niall McMorrow and David Treacy.
Cunningham went with a relatively strong team in the pre-season encounter. Rookies Shane Barrett and Ben Quinn did start in defence while Kevin Byrne and Daire Plunkett formed a new look midfield.
But there were mostly established names on show with Conal Keaney, Rushe, Paul Ryan and John McCaffrey all lining out.
The real intrigue was the positioning of McCaffrey and Rushe. Best known as Dublin’s experienced midfielder, McCaffrey played at corner-back.
As for Rushe, the versatile St Pat’s man was thrown the number 14 jersey.
Dillon’s fine solo goal in the 28th minute helped them to a commanding 1-11 to 0-7 half-time lead. And though Michael Lee sniped a 39th minute DIT goal, Dublin’s response was emphatic with six points on the trot.
Rushe was at his best in this period and lobbed the ‘keeper for a cheeky close range goal 18 minutes from time, taking his tally to 1-3.
The result means Dublin can seal their semi-final spot with victory over Antrim on Sunday.
Scorers:Dublin: Eamonn Dillon 1-6 (1 65), Liam Rushe 1-3, Paul Ryan 0-5 (0-1f, 0-2 65), Niall McMorrow and David Treacy 1-1, Conal Keaney 0-3, Cian Boland 0-1
DIT: Derek McNicholas 0-8 (0-6f), Michael Lee 1-2, Willie McGrath and Justin Cahill 0-1 each.
1. Alan Nolan
2. John McCaffrey
3. Michael Carton
4. Shane Barrett
5. Ben Quinn
6. Peter Kelly
7. Simon Lambert
17. Kevin Byrne
9. Daire Plunkett
10. Conal Keaney
11. Eamonn Dillon
12. Cian Boland
15. Niall McMorrow
14. Liam Rushe
13. Paul Ryan
22. Eoghan O’Donnell for Plunkett (50)
19. Ross O’Carroll for Byrne (54)
24. David Treacy for Ryan (57)
20. John Hetherton for Boland (62)
23. Fiontan McGibb for Quinn (66)
1. Paddy McKenna (Kildare)
22. Sean Barron (Dublin)
3. Brian Carey (Clare)
2. Sean McClelland (Dublin)
4. Conor Robinson (Dublin)
6. Kieran Bergin (Tipperary)
7. Glen Whelan (Dublin)
8. Conor Sheehan (Limerick)
9. Justin Cahill (Tipperary)
10. Jude Sweeney (Dublin)
11. Derek McNicholas (Westmeath)
12. Aaron Nugent (Wicklow)
21. Michael Lee (Wicklow)
15. Daryl Roberts (Carlow)
13. Willie McGrath (Meath)
19. Patrick O’Reilly (Westmeath) for Barron (58)
20. Eoin Hayes (Offaly) for Nugent (60)
26. Joe McManus (Dublin) for Carey (65)
Referee: Tony Carroll (Offaly).
Originally published on 20 January at 9.30pm.