Quinn early slice of luck helps Dubs plot course to decider
DUBLIN selector Shane O'Hanlon admitted earlier this week that they had received their fair share of fortune in this campaign to date and, for the opening exchanges at least, Lady Luck followed the city side to Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday evening.
The Dubs notched two goals in the first four minutes, with the first finding the net from a fortunate David Quinn connection after Cian Mullins' long delivery caused confusion between Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O'Malley and his defence.
Just a minute later, Dean Rock had the ball in the net once more, this time from a penalty after Ted Furman had been fouled in the area.
Those goals provided the Dubs with a cushion that they would ultimately never surrender and while they were undoubtedly deserved winners over the course of the 60 minutes, they will be the first to admit that they are far from the finished article.
Roscommon had the better of the remainder of the first half as Dublin failed to score from the fifth minute until the last kick of the half, but the Rossies wayward shooting would prove to be their undoing as Jim Gavin's side took a 2-3 to 0-4 lead in at the break.
As he walked off the field, Down referee Ciaran Branagan was confronted by angry Roscommon selector Shane Curran and booed off the field by the considerable Rossies support, who felt Dublin should have been reduced to 14 men when Ciaran Dorney might have picked up a second yellow card.
The expected Roscommon onslaught didn't materialise after the break as Dublin's defence, led by senior star Rory O'Carroll from full-back, made their physical superiority pay over the Connacht side's lightweight forward line, shorn of the physical presence of Donal Shine, who had been switched from full-forward to centre-field.
The goal they needed never came as Alan O'Hara spurned their best chance eight minutes after the restart.
Indeed, it was only after the Dubs were numerically disadvantaged when Furman picked up his second yellow that the losers began to make any inroads. Sub Robert McCarthy landed three points, while Gary Sweeney flourished in the wide-open spaces.
Mullins gradually got to grips with Shine, who had been in charge of the midfield sector, and Dublin ran in the scores almost at will as the fight drained out of the Connacht side.
As news filtered through that Donegal had grinded Tipperary into submission in the other semi-final, Dublin boss Gavin stressed that his side have much to work on.
"The goals gave us a cushion, but if Roscommon had taken some of their chances in the first-half, the game could have taken a completely different complexion -- not just at half-time but at the end of the game. That scoreline certainly doesn't really do justice to a very good Roscommon team."
Roscommon boss Jimmy Gacquin was in philosophical mood as he rued Dublin's excellent opening to the match. "I suppose it was the start really of the game that laid the foundations for Dublin," Gacquin said, who last came to attention when he guided the Longford minor side to the 2002 Leinster title.
"They got two goals in a couple of minutes, so we were always going to be on an uphill struggle from there on. We planned coming into the game that if we held Dublin for the first 20, 25 minutes and were in it at half-time, well then we'd be there or thereabouts at the end. It didn't work out that way.
"It's very hard to recover from two goals. It's a psychological blow to concede one goal in the first minute of the game, but to concede two in the first three or four minutes is very difficult to recover from.
"Granted our lads showed great character and desire right through the whole game really, and we have no complaints. They gave it their best, they did what they could and it just wasn't good enough."
Scorers -- Dublin: D Rock 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), D Quinn 1-0, R McCarthy 0-3, N Devereux, G Sweeney, B O'Rourke, C Mullins, C Dorney 0-1 each. Roscommon: D Shine 0-4 (0-4f), N Carty, K Higgins, N Kilroy, D McDermott 0-1 each
Dublin -- V Whelan; E Culligan, R O'Carroll, D Nelson; J Cooper, S Murray, N Devereux; J McCarthy, C Mullins; C Dorney, D Rock, G Sweeney; B O'Rourke, D Quinn, T Furman. Subs: J McDermott for J McCarthy (h-t), M Coughlan for C Dorney (h-t), R McCarthy for B O'Rorke (33), C Reddin for D Quinn (57), N Brogan for N Devereux (59).
Roscommon -- D O'Malley; P O'Grady, N Collins, M Higgins; J McKeague, N Daly, E Bannon; N Carty, K Higgins ; P Garvey, C Shine, B Murtagh; N Kilroy, D Shine , D McDermott. Subs: A O'Hara for C Shine (20), E Kenny for B Murtagh (44), R Gleeson for N Collins (52), L O'Connor for P Garvey (57).
Ref -- C Branagan (Down).