Dublin defeat Roscommon in predictable Super 8 clash

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Well, did we ever suspect otherwise?

This was every bit as easy and predictable as the scoreline suggests. Dublin opened the throttle for a bit early in the first-half and that was more than enough to kill any sense of occasion – like that was likely anyway at a half-empty HQ – or any semblance of a challenge from the Connacht champions.

All in all, another not-so-super Super 8 tie at Croke Park. That this was meant to be a neutral venue is preposterous, of course, but the venue had no material effect on a game that confirmed the passage of Dublin and Tyrone through to the All-Ireland semi-final stage for Group 2.

For Roscommon, this marks another exit from the championship at the Super 8 stage, although they still have to go through the motions of a dead rubber against Cork down by the Lee next week. Not ideal, to say the least.

They weren’t helped here by the loss of Conor Daly to a yellow and then a black card close to half-time but it wouldn’t have mattered if Anthony Cunningham’s side had played with 16 men rather than 14. Dublin, as they have been so often against so many, were in a different league.

The difference was 14 points when the sides met in a game that mattered nothing to either of them at this stage last year – Dublin were already through and Roscommon already out at that point – so the eighteen-point gap at the end here seemed about right for a game that was, technically, one with something to offer both sides.

Any illusion of competition that may have hung over it was shredded after just ten or so minutes. Roscommon looked eager to test themselves against the champions and traded equally in the collection of six points before the afterburners left them for dust.

It all happened in the blink of an eye. That’s what Dublin do. Points from Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock were the primers, one mined from a high ball in to the scorer and the other the result of a sublime team move.

When Rock goaled off another silky collective effort on 15 minutes the game was well and truly up. Conor Cox did his best to maintain some Roscommon momentum at the other end but it was an exercise in damage limitation.

Even then.

Roscommon had a couple of goal opportunities of their own in the minutes that followed but Dublin were in that zone where they could find the net whenever it really suited them and, for the most part, they were happy to rack up the points.

The score at half-time was 1-15 to 0-7 and the already thin crowd of 36,530 was now losing many more strands to the exits. Maybe word of Shane Lowry’s exploits in Portrush had done the rounds.

The second-half, well, what of it? Dublin tipped through it in second gear and Roscommon did little enough to bait them into anything more. The main interest was in the identity of the men Jim Gavin brought off the bench.

Yes, it was that bad.

Dublin defeat Roscommon in predictable Super 8 clash

Scorers for Dublin: D Rock (1-11, 0-10 frees); P Mannion and P Small (both 0-3); MD Macauley (1-0); C Kilkenny, B Fenton and C O’Callaghan (all 0-2); J McCaffrey, N Scully and K McManamon (all 0-1).

Scorers for Roscommon: C Cox (0-7, 0-4 frees); C Hussey (0-3); S Mullooly, N Daly, C Compton and D Murtagh (all 0-1).

Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, P McMahon, M Fitzsimons; J McCaffrey, J McCarthy, J Small; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully, C Kilkenny, B Howard; C O’Callaghan, P Mannion, D Rock.

Subs: K McManamon for Kilkenny and P Small for Mannion (both 39); R O’Carroll for Fitzsimons and E Lowndes for McCaffrey (both 47); P Andrews for O’Callaghan (52); D Byrne for Macauley (63).

Roscommon: D O’Malley; S Mullooly, D Murray, C Daly; R Daly, C Hussey, N Daly; E Smith, S Killoran; B Stack, C Cregg, N Kilroy; D Murtagh, C Cox, C Compton.

Subs: F Cregg for Killoran (HT); A Lyons for Compton (45); J McManus for C Cregg (47): C McKeon for D Murtagh (both 52); G Patterson for Murray (60); C McKeon for Kilroy (66).

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).

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