Dublin boss Jim Gavin was happy with his side’s winning start as the Dubs got their bid for a seventh successive Leinster Championship up and running with a comfortable victory over Carlow.
The reigning All Ireland champions Dublin emerged 0-19 to 0-7 winners at O’Moore Park against a Barrowsiders side hampered by the 48th minute sending off of Brendan Murphy, to set up a semi-final clash with Offaly or Westmeath on 25 June.
Dean Rock (0-6f) and Ciarán Kilkenny (0-3) did the bulk of the damage for Dublin, but Gavin’s men were frustrated by the Barrowsiders for long periods, and only led by 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time.
“We’re just happy to come away tonight with the win in the opening round of the championship,” said Gavin.
“It’s the first step on our journey in 2017, we are not sure where it will take us but we are just glad to get out of the box. We played Carlow, a very well drilled side, they showed great effort there today.
“They set up probably the way we thought they would. Of the 14 outfield players they probably had at least 13 of them behind the ball on most of the occasions. I thought we controlled it quite well.
“In the first half I thought we were comfortable, probably missed as much as we scored and that obviously needs to be improved for future outings. In the second half as well I thought we looked very much in control and we are just happy to come away with the win.
“It’s good exposure for those players (young players). But we are used to it at this stage so really whatever way the opposition tend to set up, we can’t control that.
“We’ve come away with 19 points and we are happy with that.”
The second half sending off of midfielder Murphy was the pivotal moment for Barrowsiders boss Turlough O’Brien.
Carlow only trailed by four points when Murphy picked up a second yellow in the 48th minute for an off-the-ball challenge on Jonny Cooper spotted not by the referee but by linesman Ciaran Brannigan.
“Losing Brendan was a big blow. The numerical advantage really told against us,” said Brannigan.
“The lads worked their socks off. We had no issue with lads throwing in the towel or anything like that – I don’t think Dublin had a shot on goal in the whole game.
“We didn’t come up here to keep the scoreline down – we came up here to compete, to see where it would take us, how we’d measure up against Dublin. To see what potential there is in the team.
“One hundred per cent of pundits would have said Dublin are going to win this at a canter. It didn’t turn out that way. Maybe in the end they put a bit of daylight between us but that was the advantage of the extra man. I think Carlow showed there is plenty of football in them.
“I don’t think pundits should shed any crocodile tears for Carlow or any of the lower-ranked counties on a day like today. We don’t need condescension dripping from pens or keyboards. We’re very happy to be on that pitch with Dublin. We gave a very, very good account of ourselves.
“I think a lot of counties have fallen foul of the general consensus that it’s a foregone conclusion when you play Dublin – they’re beaten before they start.
“I hope today gives other Leinster counties, who would consider themselves to be higher ranked than Carlow, that they would rise to the challenge when they do meet Dublin.”