Dublin set up a date with Lilies

Minors ease to facile victory against 12-man Longford

Ronan Mac Lochlainn

A strong opening half set Dublin on the way to a comfortable 12-point win over Longford in their Electric Ireland Leinster MFC quarter-final at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.

Dublin 2-14 Longford 1-5

That Dublin deserved to progress to a semi-final meeting against Kildare in July is beyond discussion but the visitors can feel aggrieved having had three players shown the line in the second half by referee Garreth Whelan for seemingly innocuous challenges.

Liam O'Sullivan's dismissal in the 40th minute was especially harsh and effectively put paid to any ambitions of Longford launching a second-half comeback after trailing by nine points at the interval. That they had such a mountain to climb was in part due to their own limitations, especially in centrefield where Dublin's Shane Carthy delivered an encouraging display, winning plenty of aerial duels in addition to kicking two fine points.

That platform provided by Carthy and Stephen Cunningham allowed Dublin to dominate from the opening exchanges with David Campbell availing of the latest 'square-ball' legislation to punch a point in the third minute.


Shane Cunningham doubled that lead within two minutes before Dublin struck for the game's opening goal through Conor McHugh in the eighth minute with the dual player sidestepping a phalanx of defenders to slot home following positive approach play by Carthy and Niall Scully.

Larry Moran converted a close-in free a minute later but it proved a brief cessation to Dublin's supremacy as Shane Cunningham and Campbell added points to push Dublin 1-4 to 0-1 ahead by the end of the first quarter.

Carthy was running through the Longford defence with ease and scored two points within five minutes to add to a Campbell effort as the visitors' struggles in midfield were reflected in the 20th-minute substitution of Timmy Jackson.

Robbie Gaughan chipped over a tidy point in the 23rd minute to extend Dublin's lead but a brace of points from full-forward Rory O'Connor allowed Longford some respite as they trailed by 1-9 to 0-3 at the interval.

Facing a stiff breeze, Dublin resumed with Niall Walsh kicking a fine score from the left flank and although Aidan McElliott replied for Longford, their chances were diluted through O'Sullivan's sending-off for a challenge on Matias Mac Donncha.

Walsh and Ciarán Mallon traded points as the half progressed and after substitute Cormac Costello fired over a classy point, Dublin's concentration levels wavered sufficiently for Moran to intercept a misplaced Stephen Cunningham pass and fire low past Lorcan Molloy in the 49th minute.

It proved his last positive contribution, however, as he was shown a second yellow card for a swipe at McHugh five minutes later and Dublin rubbed salt into their opponents' wounds as Gaughan fired home a spectacular goal 20 seconds later.

Dublin saw out the remainder with David Byrne and Conor Mulally excelling in the central defensive roles and Cian Farrelly's 58th-minute dismissal was a depressing footnote to this patchy encounter.