Cormac Costello on fire as Dubs cut loose
Dublin 3-24 IT Carlow 2-8
It was unfamiliar territory for Dublin but the result was all too familiar as Cormac Costello fired 2-6 to help Dublin to a comprehensive first win of the season on the all-weather surface at the St Brigid's club in Blanchardstown.
It was far removed from the slog of last Sunday's draw with Wexford in Enniscorthy with Jim Gavin's side making full use of conditions to play a free-flowing style which the Carlow students couldn't handle in the opening half.
Gavin used the full complement of 21 players and he will have learned much about fringe players like Costello, Michael Deegan, Shane Carthy, Niall Scully and Tomás Brady, who all put their hands up for more game time with accomplished displays.
The All-Ireland champions now face a direct shootout with DCU to see who tops Group A and qualifies for the semi-finals of a competition they won last year en route to League and Championship glory.
Paddy Andrews got Dublin off the mark within 30 seconds and it was a sign of things to come as Dublin raced into a five-point lead inside ten minutes with Costello, Carthy, Deegan and Conor McGuire pointing.
IT Carlow attempted to play a sweeper system in the early stages but it was a futile exercise and they didn't register their first score until the 15th minute when Mark Sherry scrambled the ball over the line.
The game proceeded as normal thereafter, however, with a brace from Andrews and efforts from Carthy and Scully as the Dubs completely overran a Carlow side who suffered their second heavy defeat in three days, having earlier fallen to DCU.
The lively Chris Healy, who finished with 1-3, got his side's first point in the 24th minute but Costello responded immediately before a speculative effort from Andrews raised a huge cheer among the 1,000 spectators when going all the way to the visitors' net.
Further scores from Deegan, Philly McMahon, McGuire and Brady finished out the half with Carlow registering just one point through an excellent effort from Kevin Ryan to leave Dublin 17 points ahead at the break, 2-16 to 1-2.
A raft of changes ensured the second 35 was a much more even affair with Dublin prevailing by just two points, 1-8 to 1-6, as Carlow offered far more resistance to their illustrious opponents.
Costello coolly slotted an early penalty to the net after Adam Caffrey was fouled and it was a sign of things to come from the Whitehall Colmcille man as he delivered a tour de force after his partner in crime Andrews was taken off.
Healy was in similar form at the other end, however, and he hit his side's second goal of the game after being put through by his Two Mile House club-mate Sherry to palm to the net.
It was a damp squib thereafter but the Carlow fightback was admirable as they refused to buckle under intense pressure but it was the Dubs who easily won out with an experimental outfit highlighting their incredible strength in depth.
Scorers - Dublin - C Costello 2-6 (1-0pen, 0-4fs), P Andrews 1-3, M Deegan 0-5, C McGuire, Shane Carthy, T Brady, J Whelan 0-2 each, N Scully, P McMahon 0-1 each. IT Carlow: C Healy (1-3), M Sherry (1-0), C Conroy (2f), K Ryan (0-2 each), N Kane (0-1).
Dublin - M Savage; E Culligan, J Curley, O Manning; N Scully, P McMahon, J Small; C Reddin, T Brady; J Whelan, M Deegan, S Carthy; C Costello, P Andrews, C McGuire. Subs: N Walsh for Carthy, J McCarthy for Brady, A Caffrey for Andrews, M Concarr for Small and G Hannigan for Curley (all ht), J Cooper for Reddin (45)
Carlow IT - R Sansom; I Ilunga, T Featherston, T O'Connell; A Dever, D Dunne, D Smyth; W Young, M Russell; C Conroy, K Ryan, E Buggie; Healy, M Sherry, M Hurley. Subs: J Mitchell for Dunne, N Kane for O'Connell (h-t), S McGraynor for Young (53), D Aston for Russell (66), A O'Brien for Hurley (68).
Ref - N Hand (Louth)