Dublin rampant destroy Kildare in Leinster Senior Football Championship decider at Croke Park

DESSIE FARRELL says Dublin remains a ‘work in progress’ despite crushing Kildare to win their 12th Leinster SFC title on the trot.

Five first-half goals meant Dublin’s 61st provincial title was in the bag at half-time.

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Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan in action against Kildare’s Kevin Flynn
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell ahead of the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship Final

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Dublin manager Dessie Farrell ahead of the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship Final

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Cormac Costello hit two of those majors and finished with 2-1 while man of the match Con O’Callaghan helped himself to 1-5.

Ciarán Kilkenny and John Small also scored while Brian Fenton again dominated in midfield, netting three points.

Kildare somehow needs to get back up for an All-Ireland Round 2 qualifier, but Dublin go through to the quarter-finals in good health.

Farrell was delighted with Dublin’s ‘efficiency’ but feels they are far from finishing the story with a new squad including ex-Under-20 stars Lee Gannon and Lorcan O’Dell.

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The Dubs leader said: “I thought our efficiency was good but it’s about trying now to be even more efficient.

“It’s a certain element and there are other teams we are working on, some are doing quite well, others maybe not so well.
“It’s still a work in progress, I can guarantee you that.

“Even though it looks like a big winning margin, we’re going to look at it and separate it out and find areas we can work on.”

Dublin looked like a team on the slide when they dropped to NFL Division 2 in the spring.

But so far it’s been a fun summer with three big wins in Leinster SFC, against Wexford, Meath and now Kildare.

That 14-point beating saw them cross the province with 50 points to lose in total. Farrell beamed: “There was definitely an efficiency there, especially in the first half, that we were happy with.

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“What was probably the nicest thing was that we had consistent performances in a row over three games.

“I’ve spoken before about the disappointment of our league campaign and how humbling it has been and it was very upsetting throughout, top to bottom in terms of consistency of performance.”

Despite Kildare’s talented range of forwards, they never looked like winning a first Leinster title since 2000.

They actually scored the game’s first point as Paul Cribbin punched the air in celebration.

But there wasn’t much for Cribbin and Co to get excited about after that.
Remarkably, by the 27th minute, Dublin had scored five goals, once again reducing a major league game to a question of “how much will they win?”

Two seasons ago Dublin smashed Meath 3-21 to 0-9 and it was another dose of capital punishment.

Westmeath, Laois and Meath have all suffered the same kind of final defeats at Leinster over the past decade.

Kildare captain Mick O’Grady collected O’Callaghan but was immediately under pressure, conceding a free kick for Dublin’s first point. O’Callaghan then broke free from O’Grady to play Kilkenny for Dublin’s first goal in the fifth minute.

Two minutes later, a point attempt from Dean Rock hit the post and fell well for Costello to collect and slam into the net.

Costello was back in the 16th minute, this time accepting a pass from Seán Bugler and selling a few defenders a lavish dummy before passing the ball past Mark Donnellan.

Bugler was a constant concern for the shocked Kildare defense and he fed Small for Dublin’s fourth goal in the 20th minute, the defender making quite a good impression on his younger brother, ace striker Paddy.

The Lilywhites looked porous against Westmeath in the semi-finals, losing 2-15 that day, and Dublin clearly felt they were in for the catch as they went for the jugular all evening.

O’Callaghan scored the team’s fifth goal in the 27th minute.

It was another smooth move that rocked Kildare as Eoin Murchan moved on to Costello who rotated his man and played in the Cuala colossus.

Whitehall Colmcilles man Gannon, a relative novice in the Blues defence, even took the opportunity to explode forward for a few scores in the first half, helping Dublin reach the interval with a giant lead from 5-7 to 0-6.

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Oddly, they lost the second half 0-10 to 1-9 – the same margin they lost in the second half against Meath.

Still, they had done enough in both games to cut gas and go home.

Farrell unloaded his bench this time and Niall Scully and Aaron Byrne scored goals.

Ben McCormack and Jimmy Hyland were Kildare’s brightest strikers. McCormack scored five points and Hyland scored a consolation goal in the 50th minute.

Kildare boss Glenn Ryan looked to qualifying and said: “We have an opportunity to redeem today and that’s important because I don’t believe what we saw in the first 35 minutes, or even throughout the match, reflects this group of players.

“They have an opportunity to show people that today was a big hurdle on the road and hopefully we can learn from that. I’m sure these guys will.

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DUBLIN: E Comerford; E Murchan, M Fitzsimons, L Gannon 0-2; J McCarthy, J Small 1-0, B Howard; B Fenton 0-3, T Lahiff; S Clarion, L O’Dell, C Kilkenny 1-0; C Costello 2-1, D Rock 0-4, 4f, C O’Callaghan 1-5, 1m. Subs: N Scully 0-1 for O’Dell 45 minutes; C Murphy for Murchan 51; An 0-1 Byrne for Rock 59; J Cooper for Lahiff 65; B O’Leary for Costello 70.

KILDARE: Mr. Donnellan; M O’Grady, S Ryan, R Houlihan; K Flynn 0-1, J Murray, T Archbold; K Feely 0-1, K O’Callaghan; A Beirne, B McCormack 0-5, 1m, P Cribbin 0-1; D Kirwan 0-1, D Flynn 0-1, 1m, J Hyland 1-4, 3f. Replacements: D Hyland for Murray ht; P Woodgate 0-1, 1f for Kirwan ht; P McDermott for Cribbin 49 mins; D Malone for Archbold 60; F Conway for Beirne 68.

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