Thursday 20 June 2019

Only one winner in banana skin tie

The Championship 2019: Dublin 2-22 Carlow 1-13

Championship ambushes rarely materialise when they're talked up in advance - and so it was at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday afternoon.

Some of the pre-match debate had touted the doomsday scenario for 1/8 favourites Dublin: slip carelessly on a Carlow banana skin and they could find themselves skidding through the Leinster SHC relegation trap-door.

Forewarned is forearmed? Perhaps. In truth, though, the chasm in class between Mattie Kenny's well-oiled machine and Colm Bonnar's top-tier newcomers was evident from the first whistle.

From the moment Eamonn Dillon buried the first of his two goals in the 13th minute, the points were only heading one way - back to Parnell Park, where Dublin will now host Galway in a fascinating round-robin finale on Saturday week.

Whereas the Dubs still harbour genuine hope of a top-three Leinster finish, their vanquished rivals could be making a rapid-fire return to the Joe McDonagh Cup. They must look to topple Wexford on enemy turf this Saturday and then hope other results go their way.

The hosts started with the benefits of a gusting diagonal breeze that made life difficult for both sides at times - but they made scant use of it, trailing by 2-10 to 0-8 at the break.

Once Dublin opened their second-half account with a hat-trick of points from their leading attacking triumvirate of Paul Ryan (free), Dillon and Conal Keaney, it was game, set and 12-point mismatch.

By then, the visitors had already been reduced to 14 men, Shane Barrett walking for a high foul that floored Jack Kavanagh in the 35th minute. It was one of the few discordant notes for Dublin on a day when their defence kept Carlow danger men Martin Kavanagh and Chris Nolan on a tight leash for the most part, while at the other end Dillon (2-2), Ryan (0-9, four from play) and Keaney (0-4) shared 2-15 between them.

Based on Kenny's post-match comments, Dublin will definitely contest Barrett's red if the video evidence offers them any window of appeal.

'We're definitely going to have a look at it, a close look at it,' the Dublin boss said.

'My understanding of the rule is that it [a red card] is striking with intent. I think a guy broke through and Shane's reaction was put up his hand and his hurl - there was no striking action. Unless there's a deliberate striking action, it shouldn't be a red card.'

Disciplinary caveats aside, Dublin had reason to be satisfied with a routine job well done.

The frugal mood of their defence was encapsulated by the excellence of Eoghan O'Donnell and Paddy Smyth in the full-back line.

Up front, Cian Boland set the early agenda, skipping through an early tackle for Dublin's second point and arrowing two sweet diagonal assists for Ronan Hayes and Ryan. The latter had 0-3 from play by the 20th minute, at which point Dublin led by six. It would have been even more if a Ryan piledriver had found the net instead of the crossbar.

When Keaney and Ryan combined to release the rampaging Dillon for his second goal in the 29th minute, the margin was out to eight and once Dublin stretched their lead to double digits on the resumption, the contest became cloaked in inevitability and the quality level dropped.

Carlow almost took advantage, Kavanagh for once skipping in behind O'Donnell, only to crash an angled shot against the upright.

They were 14 adrift when James Doyle pounced for their only goal in the 50th minute, capitalising as two Dublin defenders ended up on the turf, and a follow-up Nolan brace trimmed the deficit to nine.

SCORERS: Dublin - P Ryan 0-9 (5f), E Dillon 2-2, C Keaney 0-4, R Hayes, F Whitely 0-2 each, C Boland, T Connolly, E O'Donnell 0-1 each; Carlow - M Kavanagh (2f), C Nolan (2f) 0-4 each, J Doyle 1-0, S Whelan 0-2, E Byrne, JM Nolan, J Kavanagh 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O'Donnell, C Hendricken; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; T Connolly, S Treacy; C Boland, D Sutcliffe, E Dillon; C Keaney, R Hayes, P Ryan. Subs: D O'Connell for Connolly (33), J Malone for Boland (49), J Madden for Hendricken (49), J Hetherton for Keaney (54), F Whitely for Ryan (60).

CARLOW: B Treacy; A Corcoran, P Doyle, M Doyle; K McDonald, D English, R Coady; J Kavanagh, S Whelan; JM Nolan, E Byrne, S Murphy; J Doyle, C Nolan, M Kavanagh. Subs: E Nolan for R Coady (24), G Coady for Corcoran (35), R Smithers for Murphy (44), T Joyce for Kavanagh (51), D Murphy for J Doyle (65).

REF: J Keenan (Wicklow)

Fingal Independent