13 man Dublin made a mockery of the Donegal blanket defence and made it look like a well worn threadbare sheet as they easily won by five points in this evenings All Ireland quarter final in Croke Park.
Dublin almost had the perfect start as Diarmuid Connolly found himself one on one with the Donegal keeper who pulled off a good save.
Connolly had a second goal opportunity for the opening goal later in the first half but just pulled his shot inches wide of the post with the keeper well beaten.
Dublin were patient and recycled the ball brilliantly as Donegal pulled fifteen players inside their own half and the Dubs picked off some sublime long range points from Connolly, Kilkenny and McManamon.
Paddy Andrews scored a brilliant point out on the right wing from an acute angle and just before the half time whistle Donegal looked out on their feet.
Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly was not surprisingly targeted early on in the game and as usual the referee picked the easy option and yellow carded both players after a tussle, it was to prove costly for Connolly later in the game.
Dublin came out for the second half and continued to dictate the game and it became to easy as Donegal refused to push any players up, with Dublin six points up and cruising a loose pass from Cian O’Sullivan was pounced upon by Donegal and for once they committed enough players forward and carved out a goal to half the deficit.
Minutes later and they got another fill up when Connolly was shown a second yellow card and was shown the line. To be honest it made no difference as Donegal stuck to plan A and Dublin with Ciaran Kilkenny pulling the strings controlled proceedings.
Jim Havin introduced Paul Mannion and Eoghan O’Gara to inject some fresh legs into the game, but O’Gara’s evening ended very early, an incident off the ball a few minutes after his introduction with Magee seen the Templeogue Synge Street player shown a straight red for an apparent strike.
Even though Donegal had two extra players and were behind on the scoreboard their safety first defensive approach only changed slightly as they positioned Murphy on the edge of the square.
But Dublin made light of the so called weakness in their backline to the highball as they cleaned up anything played in long. And to add the icing on the cake Paul Mannion cut through the Donegal defence like a knife through soft butter and buried the ball to the back of the net to put Donegal out of their misery.
The injury to McCarthy was obviously more serious than Gavin revealed as the Ballymun Kickhams man wasn’t used, but from the warmup he did along the sideline during the game, should see him available to face Kerry in the semi-final in three weeks time.
Dean Rock 0-05
Paul Mannion 1-01
Kevin McManamon 0-03
Diarmuid Connolly 0-02
Philly McMahon 0-01
Ciaran Kilkenny 0-01
Paddy Andrews 0-01
Jonny Cooper 0-01
Michael Murphy 0-06
Patrick McBrearty 0-03
Ryan McHugh 1-00
Anthony Thomson 0-01