GAA Saturday

So it will be a Donegal v Dublin semi-final after two very different matches at Croke Park

Malachy Clerkin Sat, Aug 9
 
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  • Six teams left, two to say goodbye before the night's through. Welcome to the Irish Times liveblog from Croke Park
  • Malachy Clerkin here until the sun goes down
  • Donegal v Armagh up first. Armagh show one change from the named side - Finian Moriarty is in for James Morgan at corner-back. Donegal play as named
  • Donegal: Paul Durcan; Eamon McGee, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn; Anthony Thompson, Karl Lacey, Paddy McGrath; Neil Gallagher, Odhran MacNiallais; Christy Toye, Leo McLoone, Ryan McHugh; Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Colm McFadden

    Armagh: Philip McEvoy; Finian Moriarty, Charlie Vernon, Andy Mallon; Mark Shields, Brendan Donaghy, Aaron Kernan; Stephen Harold, Aaron Findon; Stefan Campbell, Tony Kernan, Aidan Forker; Kevin Dyas, Kyle Carragher, Jamie Clarke
  • Nice little Cruyff turn there from Jamie Clarke. And Cruyff never had a blanket defence to worry about
  • Michael Murphy gets us off the mark with a hand free. Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-0, three minutes gone
  • Tony Kernan pots a long one, three-quarters of the Donegal team between him and the posts. All square at 0-1 apiece, eight minutes gone
  • This could get out of hand, lots of pushing and dragging at two ends of the pitch - players, mentors, even Paul Grimley involved jawing at Michael Murphy. About a two-minute hold up
  • It started with Karl Lacey and two Armagh players skelping off the ball and went on from there. Aaron Findon knocked a Donegal mentor on his ass, to yahooing. Got the crowd riled up anyway
  • Aaron Kernan free.  Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-2, 13 minutes gone
  • Colm McFadden drops a free short. Hasn't been his year so far
  • The shooting has been desperate so far. McFadden scuttled one along the ground at one end, Stefan Campbell made a hames down the other
  • Aidan Forker ends the messing and nails a lovely point from the left with his left. Fine finish,  Donegal 0-1 Armagh 0-3. 20 minutes gone
  • But then Forker follows up with a wide trying to repeat the dose. Armagh have five wides kicked. They're probably the better side so far and deserve their lead
  • GOAL! Odhrán Mac Niallais stole in between the lines and onto a Ryan McHugh pass before beating Philip McEvoy at his near post. Great finish,  Donegal 1-1 Armagh 0-3
  • Armagh strike back, indecently good looking point curled in by Campbell on the run,  Donegal 1-1 Armagh 0-4, 25 minutes gone
  • And now Armagh have the lead again - Andy Mallon lopes forward to clip one into the Davin Stand,  Donegal 1-1 Armagh 0-5. 25 minutes gone
  • Michael Murphy draws them level again with a free drawn in from the left.  Donegal 1-2 Armagh 0-5
  • Donegal have moved Michael Murphy in to full-forward. Great catch sets up McFadden who's fouled, Murphy ices the free.  Donegal go into the lead, 1-3 to 0-5
  • Neil McGee rattles the point of the day, or at the very least gets the biggest cheer after clipping one from the right.  Donegal 1-4 Armagh 0-5. Donegal are started to put on the squeeze here
  • Armagh stick at it though. Kyle Carragher gets into the game, staitching a point after good work from Kevin Dyas.  Donegal 1-4 Armagh 0-6, two minutes to half-time
  • McFadden free, Leo McLoone fouled. Looked soft enough.  Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-6
  • Half-time.  Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-6
  • This is pretty much Donegal 101. They haven't played overly well but they've got the goal and that's why they lead. Armagh played very decent stuff but didn't take their chances
  • A bench is removed from the pitch before the game after Paul Grimley seemingly extended his media ban to the pre-match team photograph.  
    A bench is removed from the pitch before the game after Paul Grimley seemingly extended his media ban to the pre-match team photograph.  
  • Three wides already in the second half but Tony Kernan puts an end to it with a 20-metre free. Donegal 1-5 Armagh 0-7, 40 minutes gone
  • Goal chance for Donegal but only for a second. Point attempt from Odhrán MacNiallais drops short, Colm McFadden gets on the break 12 yards out but he settles for fisting a point. Donegal 1-6 Armagh 0-7
  • Best score of the day from Tony Kernan. From the left with his left.  Donegal 1-6 Armagh 0-8
  • Patriack McBrearty replies at the other end with a really well-taken effort of his own.  Donegal 1-7 Armagh 0-8
  • Colm McFadden is hanging in there, even though his form is elsewhere. He chips a free to put Donegal three ahead, their biggest lead of the day.  Donegal 1-8 Armagh 0-8
  • A few subs to catch up with Rory Kavanagh is on for Donegal, Brian Mallon and Ethan Rafferty on for Armagh
  • Great score from Aaron Kernan, exactly when Armagh needed it. He's had a storming game and that left-footed point from the wrong side was gorgeous.  Donegal 1-8 Armagh 0-9
  • Donegal have kicked six wides in the first 16 minutes of the second half. They should be disappearing off into the distance but Armagh are hanging in there
  • Make that seven wides. MacNiallais this time
  • Murphy ends the fecklessness with a free from 50 metres.  Donegal 1-9 Armagh 0-9
  • Martin McIlhinney on for Donegal, Rory Grugan on for Armagh. 15 minutes to go, Armagh are losing their grip on this
  • But as long as Donegal keep kicking wides, it's still a going concern for Armagh. McIlhinney joins in the fun
  • Armagh are giving away too many frees. This one calls for Hawkeye - it decides Murphy has added another wide to the total. Nine now for Donegal since half-time
  • That's the problem. Armagh haven't had a kick at goal for over 10 minutes but now Tony Kernan finds a yard of grass and Armagh are back within two.  Donegal 1-9 Armagh 0-10
  • GOAL for Armagh!
  • Brian Mallon got in on the endline, squared to Stefan Campbell who flicked it goalwards. The ball hit the post and bounced into the net off Paul Durcan.  Donegal 1-9 Armagh 1-10
  • MacNiallais hits back for Donegal. All square at 1-10 apiece with nine minutes to go. Croke Park is rocking
  • This is about cool heads now. Donegal will be raging with themselves that they didn't kill it off
  • Michael Murray puts Armagh ahead, getting on the end of a sumptuous pass from Aaron Kernan. Armagh 1-11 Donegal 1-10, seven minutes left
  • Another Donegal wide, Murphy this time. That's 15 so far in the game
  • Five minutes to go, Armagh a point up
  • Nervy, nervy play all over the field. The ball is slippy, the players are jittery.  
  • Michael Murphy takes responsibility and draws the game, put in by Frank McGlynn.  Donegal 1-11 Armagh 1-11
  • And MCBrearty puts them ahead! Ryan McHugh and Darach O'Connor worked the chance, McBrearty landed it from out left.  Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11
  • Armagh need to keep calm and work a chance. Brian Mallon does precisely the opposite and tries one from distance. Poor wide
  • Two minutes of injury time called
  • Armagh have a free on the 45. Maybe a few yards outside it. Down to Tony Kernan now...
  • He tried to force it, poor, poor kicking action sent it to the right and wide. That's probably that
  • Or is it? One last free for Kernan, on the 45 to the left...
  • It's short! Neill Gallagher catches in front of goal and Donegal are through
  • Final score: Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11
  • Well that was a rollicking old time altogether. Donegal shouldn't have needed Michael Murphy to pull them out of the mire but he did it. That level of waste is going to kill them in the semi-final though
  • As for Armagh, that was a phenomanal year's work. In Breffni Park last May, you wouldn't have found the daftest soul who'd have them within a kick of a ball of an All ireland semi-final in 2014. The Kernans were immense today, Charlie Vernon is worth an All Star in anyone's language. A tip of the hat to them as their year ends
  • And now for game two, Dublin v Monaghan

  • Here, read the Seán Moran's preview of the game. I'm away to get a cuppa.  
    http://www.irishtimes.com/s...
  • Dublin team shows no changes, Monaghan show four
  • Early free for Dublin in front of the posts, Kieran Duffy pinged for an off-the-ball jersey pull on Bernard Brogan. Bernard pops the free and Dublin are off the mark. Dublin 0-1 Monaghan 0-0
  • Yellow card for Eoghan O'Gara for a body check on Colin Walshe after the ball was gone. No black. Somewhere, Richie Feeney is punching a wall
  • Kieran Hughes lands a huge free from the right sideline.  Dublin 0-1 Monaghan 0-1
  • Very similar to the first game, this - both teams retreating into their own half when they don't have the ball
  • Bernard Brogan clips a free after a foul on Micheal Darragh MacAuley.  Dublin 0-2 Monaghan 0-1
  • Monaghan are doing reasonably well here. Getting a hand in when they have to, frustrating Dublin. The All Ireland champions aren't showing a lot, it must be said
  • Another very good Kieran Hughes free draws the sides level.  Dublin 0-2 Monaghan 0-2
  • Connolly free puts Dublin one ahead,  Dublin 0-3 Monaghan 0-2. No score from play so far, 16 minutes gone
  • Brilliant score from Conor McManus, on the run out by the right sideline. He'd had a couple of sighters - one that dropped short - but this went over the black spot.  Dublin 0-3 Monaghan 0-3
  • Eoghan O'Gara handpasses a goal and for some reason half the stadium erupts. Have they not watched football before? No goal, still all square, 22 minutes gone
  • Gorgeous, gorgeous goal from Diarmuid Connolly. One pass, one run, skinned Kieran Duffy, bent a lovely finish round Rory Beggan.  Dublin 1-3 Monaghan 0-3
  • Connolly is some player. The Monaghan players were mouthing at him in the minutes before that goal while Colin Walshe was down injured. What an answer
  • Bernard Brogan free.  Dublin 1-4 Monaghan 0-3, 27 minutes gone
  • Goal! Bernard Brogan latches onto a James McCarthy pass and his finish goes in the same corner as Connolly's. Dublin seven clear in an eyeblink.  Dublin 2-4 Monaghan 0-3
  • This was a game and now it's not a game. Dublin just have the class Monaghan lack. Alan Brogan knifes a point from 35 metres and there's eight in it all of a sudden.  Dublin 2-5 Monaghan 0-3, 30 minutes gone
  • Dublin are pressing really high up the pitch and destroying the Monaghan kick-out. Cian O'Sullivan picks one off, feeds Jonny Cooper and Cooper does the needful.  Dublin 2-6 Monaghan 0-3, three minutes to half-time
  • Massive kick from Dick Clerkin on the run, over the bar.  Dublin 2-6 Monaghan 0-4
  • Diarmuid Connolly replies with ease.  Dublin 2-7 Monaghan 0-4
  • And Eoghan O'Gara knocks over his first of the day.  Dublin 2-8 Monaghan 0-4
  • Rory Beggan trots up for a 45 and that's half-time.  Dublin 2-8 Monaghan 0-5
  • This got out of hand for Monaghan in the space of just eight minutes. The two goals from Connolly and Brogan were just examples of the clubs in Dublin's bag that Monaghan don't have in theirs

  • What's interesting now is how Dublin are set up. They obviously have Donegal in mind here, with no players popping up all over the pitch and nobody giving a second though to position. The rest of this is a dry run for August 31
  • Attendance: 72,404. Biggest crowd of the summer so far
  • The 4 Of Us banging out choons at half-time. Monaghan need the four of them, the 10 of them, however many of them they can get away with
  • Paul Finlay on for Monaghan
  • Kevin McManamon keep the foot to the floor for Dublin.  Dublin 2-9 Monaghan 0-5
  • Paul Flynn pours it on. Eleven points in it now.  Dublin 2-10 Monaghan 0-5
  • Conor McManus free. Marty Duffy doesn't book Rory O'Carroll for pulling McManus back  there. Just a ticking.  Dublin 2-10 Monaghan 0-6
  • Alan Brogan wipes it out within seconds.  Dublin 2-11 Monaghan 0-6
  • O'Gara point, Monaghan desolate now.  Dublin 2-12 Monaghan 0-6
  • Alan Brogan with another. Hard to keep up.  Dublin 2-13 Monaghan 0-6
  • This might be Dick Clerkin's last game in a Monaghan jersey. That might be his last yellow card - caught Jonny Cooper round the shoulder
  • McManus free. Marty Duffy ticks O'Carroll for a second time. Dublin 2-13 Monaghan 0-7, 43 minutes gone
  • Cormac Costello on for Dublin
  • Costello draws a free, Bernard pops it over,  Dublin 2-14 Monaghan 0-7
  • Monaghan are doing their damndest. Dick Clerkin scores his second point, set up by McManus.  Dublin 2-14 Monaghan 0-8
  • The fish are swimming carefree around the barrel here, waiting to catch a bullet. Costello and Connolly miss goal chances
  • McManus free, gap back to 11.  Dublin 2-14 Monaghan 0-9
  • The subs are hungry, the subs are deadly. Dean Rock kicks a cracker from out on the right.  Dublin 2-15 Monaghan 0-9
  • Bernard Brogan free.  Dublin 2-16 Monaghan 0-9, 52 minutes gone
  • Conor McManus gives Haykeye a second run-out of the day - MISS
  • Philly McMahon just talked himself into a yellow card. McManus free makes it  Dublin 2-16 Monaghan 0-10. 15 minutes left.
  • Dublin Arsenaled that one up. The Brogans walked it in for Connolly to finish but he gets too cute with the finish and Beggan gets a hand to it. Stephen Cluxton plants the 45.  Dublin 2-17 Monaghan 0-10
  • Bernard Brogan free,  Dublin 2-18 Monaghan 0-10
  • Owen Duffy on for Dick Clerkin
  • Dean Rock point,  Dublin 2-19 Monaghan 0-10
  • Conor McManus knocks over his sixth of the day, second from play.  Dublin 2-19 Monaghan 0-11
  • Costello gets the point he's been knocking on the door of since he came on.  Dublin 2-20 Monaghan 0-11
  • Blow it up ref. Paul 'Flynner' Flynn piles it on.  Dublin 2-21 Monaghan 0-11
  • Bernard yawns another.  Dublin 2-22 Monaghan 0-11. Injury time.
  • Full-time:  Dublin 2-22 Monaghan 0-11
  • Dublin are exceptional. Not the first time anyone will say it, not the last. But they just turned the screw midway through the first half pulled the curtains on the game.  
  • For Monaghan, it's a second decent season in a row. They beat Tyrone, they won a game in Croke Park. Division One football next spring as well. This was ugly but good teams will get hidings from Dublin along the way.

  • So Dublin v Donegal on August 31. Find a hatch and batten it down.