Dublin 5-21
Louth 0-10

Kevin O’Brien reports from O’Moore Park 

DUBLIN’S DRIVE FOR Five bid began in convincing fashion in Portlaoise this evening.

The four-in-a-row winners put five goals past a hapless Louth side on the way to a 26-point victory to seal a Leinster semi-final place against either Kildare or Longford.

This was a clinical display from Dublin. Goals from Con O’Callaghan, Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh Macauley, Cormac Costello and Philly McMahon handed them the perfect start to this historic summer. 

Jim Gavin’s side played from the 26th minute with a man less after Paul Mannion’s straight red card, but it meant little for Louth’s challenge. They mustered just two points over the next 20 minutes as Dublin completely controlled the exchanges.

James McCarthy was a colossus at wing-back for the victors, while Paddy Small really impressed after his second-half cameo. The younger brother of John, he set-up 2-1, had a goal of his own disallowed and scored a point.

But the big talking point here was Costello’s performance. This was just his third championship start, effectively into the Dublin attack in place of the injured Dean Rock.

His striking from placed balls was of the highest quality. By half-time the Whitehall Colmcilles man had nine points on the board and he finished with an impressive tally of 1-12.

His league form indicated he’d go close to making the championship XV and Rock’s injury opened up a spot in the attack. The Ballymun ace will have a fight on his hands to force his way back onto the team. 

Brian Howard makes a spectacular catch in the first-half.

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The biggest cheer from the crowd of 14,380 arrived when Rory O’Carroll made his eagerly awaited comeback. He replaced Jack McCaffrey – who had one of his quieter games in a Dublin jersey – in the 42nd minute to make his first appearance for the county since the 2015 All-Ireland final. 

Darren Gavin was Dublin’s only championship newcomer from the start, pairing up with Footballer of the Year Brian Fenton in centre-field. 

Dublin threatened with three early goal chances while racing into a 0-7 to 0-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Louth played quite offensively for a Division 3 side playing Dublin, employing a three-man full-forward line with Jim McEneaney as the runner in front of inside pair Declan Byrne and Ryan Burns.

Burns, a late replacement for Sam Mulroy to the starting team, curled over two fine scores but at the far end constant fouling hurt Louth.

Costello had no problem running up his tally from frees and then provided the pass Con O’Callaghan’s 24th-minute goal. Three minutes later, the champions were down to 14 men after Paul Mannion caught Conal McKeever with a careless challenge to the head. 

Mannion had two points on the board inside the first 20 minutes but his early exit didn’t prevent Dublin from opening up an 11-point lead by the half.

Con O’Callaghan scores a goal.

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Gavin rolled in some subs during the third quarter, introducing veterans Macauley, McMahon and O’Carroll for some valuable game-time. Fenton finished a flowing Dublin move into the net and ten minutes later Paddy Small’s jinking run set-up Macauley for an easy finish.

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Small then started an attack that saw Costello cap off a fine evening with a goal of his own, while McMahon got in on the act with a low finish to the bottom corner for Dublin’s fifth green flag.

Small had a goal disallowed for a square ball late on before Mick Fitzsimons got himself in on the scoring with a spin and point to round off a forgettable night for Louth.

Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 1-12 (0-10f, 0-1 45), Brian Fenton 1-1, Con O’Callaghan, Philly McMahon, Michael Darragh Macauley 1-0 each, Paul Mannion and Niall Scully 0-2 each, Michael Fitzsimons, Kevin McManamon (0-1f) and Paddy Small 0-1 each.

Scorers for Louth: Ryan Burns 0-4 (0-2f), Jim McEneaney 0-2, Ciaran Downey, Andy McDonnell, Conal McKeever and Eoghan Callaghan 0-1 each. 


1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)

6. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
2. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)

4. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf)
7. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny)
9. Darren Gavin (Lucan Sarsfields)

15. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)
12. Ciarán Kilkenny (Castleknock)
11. Brian Howard (Raheny)

10. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille)
13. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)


19. Michael Darragh Macauley (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for Gavin (40)
22. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams) for O’Sullivan (41)
24. Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes) for McCaffrey (47)
26. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams) for O’Callaghan (47)
23. Kevin McManamon (St Judes) for Scully (54)


1. Fergal Sheeky (Eire Og)

3. Emmet Carolan (Newtown Blues)
4. James Craven (Geraldines)
2. Fergal Donohoe (Newtown Blues)

5. Anthony Williams (Dreadnots)
6. Bevan Duffy (St Fechins)
7. John Clutterbuck (Naomh Mairtín)

8. Tommy Durnin (Na Hiartharaigh)
9. James Califf (Dreadnots)

10. Ciarán Downey (Newtown Blues)
12. Conal McKeever (Clan na Gael)
13. Andy McDonnell (Newtown Blues)

11. Jim McEneaney (Geraldines) 

14. Sam Mulroy (Naomh Mairtín)
15. Declan Byrne (St Mochtas)


17. Dan Corcoran (Na Gearaltaigh) for Donohoe (ht)
14. Sam Mulroy (Naomh Mairtin) for Byrne (ht)
21. Conor Early (Oliver Plunketts) for Califf (42)
18. Derek Maguire (Eire Og) for Clutterbuck (46)
20. Eoghan Callaghan (St Martins) for Craven (black card, 54)
23. Eoghan Duffy (Naomh Feichin) for McEneaney (60)

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

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