Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Dublin survived the dismissals of Diarmiud Connolly and Eoghan O'Gara to reach a record seventh successive All-Ireland semi-final, beating Donegal by 1-15 to 1-10 at Croke Park.
The 29-year-old helped Jim Gavin's side to a five-point lead at the break, knocking over a couple of outstanding points from long distance as Dublin's speed of thought and movement in the attacking third proved too much for Donegal to handle.
In truth, the game could have been ended as a contest by that stage as Connolly missed two good goalscoring opportunities.
However, a Ryan McHugh goal on 45 minutes and Connolly's sending-off minutes later for a second bookable offence turned the game on its head.
But try as they might, Rory Gallagher's men could never get closer to Dublin than three points behind and although O'Gara's sending-off gave them renewed hope, Paul Mannion's virtuoso goal deep in stoppage time booked a repeat of last year's final clash with Kerry later this month.
Dublin flew out of the blocks and had a goal chance after just 14 seconds but Connolly’s effort was well saved by Mark Anthony McGlinchey.
As expected the game was a feisty affair, with Connolly again getting involved in an off-the-ball incident, receiving an early yellow card from the referee for a tussle with Donegal’s McHugh.
Early points from a Dean Rock free and a lovely long-range strike from the boot of Philly McMahon gave the defending champions the advantage.
The 2012 Sam Maguire winners got off the mark on 12 minutes courtesy of a Michael Murphy deadball from straight in front of the posts.
Connolly had a golden chance to score a goal four minutes later when he burst clear of the Donegal defence but he steered his effort just wide of McGlinchey’s post.
Dublin then stepped on the gas and despite Murphy knocking over his third
score, stunning points from Connolly and Paddy Andrews helped them establish a
five-point lead, a margin they enjoyed at the break.
Kevin McManamon pointed with his fist after a driving run minutes after the restart to put Dublin six clear and when Rock knocked over another straightforward free on 39 minutes the writing was on the wall for Donegal.
However, a point from Paddy McBrearty was quickly followed by a McHugh goal – the Donegal man palming into an empty net – to cut the deficit to three points.
Rock responded with another score but Dublin were then reduced to 14 men when Connolly received a second yellow for a high tackle on Anthony Thompson.
A curling Murphy free made it a three-point game but McManamon steadied the Dubs’ ship with a classy point from a tight angle.
Substitute O’Gara knocked over a cracking point from range but was then harshly shown a red card for slapping Murphy in the midriff off the ball.
Dublin were wobbling slightly but Paul Mannion’s brilliant individual goal ensured they would not be beaten and their quest for a fourth All-Ireland title in six years remains very much on.