All Ireland Senior Football Semi-Final
Dublin 2-17 Tyrone 0-11
It’s going to be a repeat of the 2016 All-Ireland final as Dublin joined Mayo after cruising to 2-17 to 0-11 win over Ulster champions Tyrone in front of a capacity crowd at Croke Park.
Dublin never looked in trouble throughout the game and once Con O’Callaghan got their first goal in the fifth minute, it was, at times, like a training session for the champions.
From their own kick-out, Tyrone lost the ball on the half-way line and Philly McMahon found O’Callaghan in acres of space. He waltzed past his man before blasting it beyond Niall Morgan in the Tyrone goal.
The game was level at a point apiece after Sean Cavanagh had opened the scoring but that was about the best it got for Mickey Harte’s side.
Cavanagh never got into the game and came off in the 54th minute. If it is his last game for Tyrone, it is a sad end for a player who has helped Tyrone win three All-Ireland titles in his 15 years as a senior player.
In a touch of class at the final whistle, the Dublin players all went over to the 34-year-old to shake his hand and wish him well.
Dublin came close to a second goal in the 13th minute when Paul Mannion burst through but his effort was blocked by Niall Morgan for a 45.
Dean Rock was as reliable as ever with his frees and Dublin were 1-05 to 0-3 up after only 15 minutes.
Tyrone never got into the game and apart from Colm Cavanagh, the Tyrone players looked like they were running on empty for most of the game.
Dublin’s possession and patience in playing the ball into the corner before recycling it back and across to the other side of the field is an art they have perfected and it is energy sapping for the opposition trying to defend against it.
O’Callaghan was having a brilliant game and finished the first half with 1-02 to his name.
Four of Dublin’s six forwards had scored by half-time, with a tally of 1-08, compared to only Sean Cavanagh getting his free in the first minute for the Tyrone forwards.
Leading by seven points at half-time 1-09 to 0-05, Dublin never allowed Tyrone back into the game. They were patient and calm with their build-up and emptied their bench as well, with Paul Flynn and Eoghan O’Gara scoring 1-04 between them.
The biggest cheer of the day was for the return of Diarmuid Connolly in injury time after his 12-week ban for pushing a linesman in a game against Carlow in early June.
Mickey Harte put Rory Brennan on for Kieran McGeary at half-time and Peter Harte got the first score of the second half but Dublin responded with points from Mannion and Jack McCaffrey.
David Mulgrew has a bright future ahead of him for Tyrone but it wasn’t working for him today and he was taken off seven minutes into the second half.
McManamon blasted a shot off the crossbar too as Dublin attacked at will. McCaffrey also hit a terrible wide when he was put through by Brian Fenton with only the keeper to beat.
Tyrone were 0-08 to 1-13 down when Sean Cavanagh was brought ashore but they did reduce the defect to six points after Colm Cavanagh and Niall Sludden pointed within a minute of each other but Dublin never let them get any closer.
Substitute Paul Flynn came on and hit 0-03, including a super point from about 40 yards to make it 1-14 to 0-10.
With three minutes to go, Dublin transferred their dominance on the pitch to the scoreboard when Eoghan O’Gara found the net.
The occasion was summed up for Tyrone when Stephen Cluxton saved a Peter Harte penalty in front of the Hill in injury time.
Mayo will present a much bigger challenge for Dublin on the 17th of September as the Boys in Blue look to win three All-Ireland’s in-a-row.
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton, Philip McMahon, Cian O’Sullivan, Michael Fitzsimons, Jonny Cooper, John Small, , Jack McCaffrey (0-01), Brian Fenton (0-01), James McCarthy, Ciaran Kilkenny (0-01), Con O’Callaghan (1-02), Niall Scully, Paul Mannion (0-01), Paddy Andrews (0-02), Dean Rock (0-05, 0-04f).
Subs: Paul Flynn (0-03) for Niall Scully 44 mins; Kevin McManamon for Andrews 44 mins, Darren Daly for Small 52 mins, Eoghan O’Gara (1-01) for Rock 63 mins, Eric Lowndes for Paul Mannion 64 mins, Diarmuid Connolly for O’Callaghan 69 mins.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan, Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron, Tiernan McCann (0-01), Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte (0-04, 0-03f), Colm Cavanagh (0-02), Conall McCann, David Mulgrew, Niall Sudden (0-02), Kieran McGeary, Mark Bradley, Sean Cavanagh (0-01, 0-01f), Matthew Donnelly.
Subs: Declan McClure (0-01) for Conall McCann 29 mins, Rory Brennan for McGeary HT, Darren McCurry for Mulgrew 42 mins; Ronan O’Neill for Bradley 49 mins, Conor Meyler for Sean Cavanagh 54 mins, Padraig McNulty for McNamee 59 mins.
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)