Leinster Senior Football Championship Final: Dublin 1-25, Laois 0-10
An eighth provincial titles in a row and a place in the new ‘Super 8s’ were Dublin’s rewards for an emphatic victory over Laois in the Leinster Senior Football Championship final at Croke Park.
Laois held their own for 20 minutes, helped to some extent by some uncharacteristic wayward finishing by Dublin, but it was one-sided from then on.
Played in blistering heat in front of almost 42,000 spectators, Dublin outscored Laois by 17 points to five in the second half and captain Jonny Cooper – who deputised for injured captain Stephen Cluxton – lifted the Delaney Cup.
Not for the first time, Dublin opened their account with a goal, with Ciaran Kilkenny firing a low shot to the net.
Graham Brody had denied Con O’Callaghan a goal after only ten seconds, while the Cuala star was denied a second time soon after.
Dean Rock supplied his first free, but Laois grew into the game and excellent points were scored by wing forward Alan Farrell and towering full forward Donie Kingston.
They weren’t on level terms for long, however. Despite a missed penalty from Paul Mannion, top-scorer Rock was on target from play and frees.
Alan Farrell finished an excellent move with another Laois point, but Dublin stretched their advantage through Brian Fenton, Con O’Callaghan and Paddy Andrews to leave the scoreboard reading 1-8 to 0-5.
Early in the second half, O’Callaghan and Farrell traded points, but Dublin eased further and further ahead, with Rock and Andrews on target.
Substitute Jack McCaffrey made a blistering run only to be denied by another superb stop by Graham Brody – who later was forced off injured.
More scores followed, with substitute Cormac Costello getting in on the act and despite the sending off of John Small, Laois were unable to make significant inroads.
The Division 4 champions did increase their tally through Evan O’Carroll and sub Gary Walsh, but Brian Fenton contributed the last score of the game and it was yet another comfortable Leinster triumph for Jim Gavin’s side.
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-8 (5fs, 1 ’45), Ciaran Kilkenny 1-4, Cormac Costello 0-4, Paddy Andrews 0-2, Brian Fenton 0-2, Con O’Callaghan 0-2, Brain Howard 0-1, Paul Mannion 0-1, Niall Scully 0-1.
Scorers for Laois: Donal Kingston 0-4 (2fs), Alan Farrell 0-2, Gary Walsh 0-2, Kieran Lillis 0-1, Evan O’Carroll 0-1.
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford; Philip McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons, Eric Lowndes; Brian Howard, James McCarthy, Jonny Cooper; Brain Fenton, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Niall Scully, Con O’Callaghan, Ciaran Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Dean Rock, Paddy Andrews.
Subs: Jack McCaffrey for Eric Lowndes (HT), Cormac Costello for Paddy Andrews (45), John Small for Michael Darragh MacAuley (51), Conor McHugh for Dean Rock (67).
LAOIS: Graham Brody; Darren Strong, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Colm Begley, Finbarr Crowley; John O’Loughlin, Keiran Lillis; Alan Farrell, Paul Kingston, Niall Donoher; Evan O’Carroll, Donal Kingston, Damien O’Connor.
Subs: Benny Carroll for Niall Donoher (48), Ross Munnelly for Finbarr Crowley (51), Eoghan Keogh for Graham Brody (55), David Holland for Darren Strong (57), Gary Walsh for Damien O’Connor (62), Brian Glynn for Alan Farrell (63).
REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry)