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Tuesday 17 October 2017

blue day after c roker collapse

HEARTBREAK: Boys in blue well beaten as Jimmy's men win semi-final in style

THE sight of a tearful Alan Brogan leaving the pitch with his son in his arms said it all.

It was just one of several heartbreaking scenes in Croke Park as the Dubs went down to Donegal in a brutal battle.

The Boys in Blue were the clear favourites and looked like they would live up to the hype from the outset.

But Jimmy was certainly 'winning matches' yesterday.

It was Dublin's game to lose and they did it in spectacular fashion in front of thousands of bitterly disappointed fans.

In testament to the unfortunate nature of Dublin's game yesterday, the side kicked 10 wides in the second half alone and were cruelly denied a second All Ireland Championship in a row.

devastated

A tearful Alan Brogan left the pitch with his son Jamie in floods of tears in his arms, both devastated by the cruel defeat.

And the reality is that it could have been so different.

In the opening moments of the match, the capital looked like the clear forerunners.

Dublin shot into an early lead to go five points clear - with points coming from Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connolly.

But it was a goal from Ryan McHugh in the 33rd minute that knocked Dublin back on their heels. The northerners went to the dressing rooms at half time with a 1-08 to 0-10 lead. All-Ireland winning coach Jim McGuinness clearly had some strong words for his side to keep their cool through the second half.

And Donegal pursued with vigour the sweet smell of victory, right until the dying moments.

The team ratcheted up scores that had the Dubs in Croke Park reeling and Donegal fans dancing in jubilation.

They out-scored Dublin by 3-10 to 0-8 over the final 50 minutes in a brutal display of counter-attacking talent.

For most of the game, Dublin looked shell-shocked, managing to scramble some composure to respond with points from the Brogan boys, Alan and Bernard.

The side will have many questions to answer - particularly when it came to their defending as they were easily out-witted.

Colm McFadden's goal in the 46th minute, followed by a point from a free, put Donegal ahead by eight points before Dublin had the opportunity to respond.

But there was a clear lack of leadership amongst Jim Gavin's side that stormed their way through the Leinster championship. With just 15 minutes to go, the boys in blue managed to claw back some points through Paddy Andrews and Diarmuid Connolly, while Bernard Brogan and defender Philly McMahon chipped in with scores, as well.

But they failed to do any damage to the clinical and united Donegal side.

Dublin came nailbitingly close to scoring two goals but were denied by a block by Neil McGee off a Bernard Brogan effort in the 12th minute and a save from Durcan off a Connolly drive in the 24th minute.

The win sets up a double header of Donegal v Kerry senior and minor All-Ireland finals.

Manager Jim McGuinness was understandably excited at the prospect of a "dream" final against the Kingdom.

journey

"It hasn't sunk in yet but it's going to be a lovely journey home.

"To have the minor and senior team in the final is special moment," he said.

"We know all about Kerry and their tradition and what they're going to bring and it's a dream final for us in many respects."

And his last words summed up the stamina of the side that ultimately outclassed Dublin.

"We're delighted, we came with a game plan and, in fairness to the lads, they executed it to the letter of the law.

"Everything you ask of them they give to you.

See Eamon Carr: page 15

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