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Rushe sparkles for dominant Dublin

Defending champions Dublin could afford to hit 21 wides yet sail to a comfortable four-goal win over Carlow at Dr Cullen Park last evening.

Daryl Roberts opened the scoring for Carlow with a point from play on two minutes as Dublin, playing with the aid of the strong wind, dominated outfield play but struck seven wides before midfielder Barry Mulligan levelled matters on 13 minutes.

With the score level on 0-3 apiece on 19 minutes, a long free from full-forward Sean McGrath was not dealt with by the Carlow defence and Dublin senior star Liam Rushe scrambled the first goal.

At half-time Dublin led 1-6 to 0-4, with an ugly 14 wides recorded.

Carlow's hopes of victory were scotched when a 37th-minute goal from Kevin O'Loughlin (2-9 to 0-6) was followed immediately by a close-range free to the home side that was blocked on the line by the Dublin defence.

On the balance of play it was a stroll for the holders as they brought on five substitutes, with one of those, Ciaran Brennan, grabbing a brace of goals to wrap up victory.

Dublin, a class above their opponents, now move on to meet Offaly in the provincial semi-final and -- the big wides tally apart -- look a formidable side.

Rushe was outstanding while Martin Quilty, Danny Sutcliffe, O'Loughlin, Eamon Dillon and half-time substitute Mark Schutte were also impressive.

Carlow's major fault line was mainly in attack, with only three points coming from play -- midfielder Paul Coady notched 0-8 from placed balls.

Scorers -- Dublin: K O'Loughlin 1-2, C Brennan 2-0, L Rushe 1-1, D Dillon 0-3, S McGrath 0-2 (2f), B Mulligan, M Schutte, R Mahon 0-1 each. Carlow: P Coady 0-8 (8f), D Roberts, P Kehoe, E Byrne 0-1 each.

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Dublin -- G McManus; B O'Carroll, J Doughan, C Gough; D Curran, M Quilty, S O'Connor; D Sutcliffe, B Mulligan; D Plunkett, L Rushe, R Mahon; K O'Loughlin, S McGrath, E Dillon. Subs: M Schutte for Mulligan (h-t); D Kelly for O'Connor (41); C Brennan for McGrath (44); F Clabby for O'Carroll (55); T Connolly for Dillon (58).

Carlow -- N Roberts; S Kelly, G Kelly, T Nolan; D English, J Corcoran, James Doyle; P Coady, P McElligot; John Doyle, E Byrne, D Murphy; D Roberts, C Lawlor, P Kehoe. Subs: G Bennett for McElligot (h-t); A McDonald for John Doyle (37); John Hughes for Kelly (55).

Ref -- S Whelan (Wexford).