Philly McMahon's second half goal maintains Dublin's winning run

Michael Murphy and James McCarthy were both shown red cards during the second period

Philly McMahon's second half goal maintains Dublin's winning run

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Philly McMahon's second half goal ensured Dublin continued theIr imperious league form as they beat Donegal tonight at Croke Park.

In a game marred by two red cars, one for Donegal's Michael Murphy and the other for Dublin's James McCarthy, the capital once again showed their composure in the final quarter of the game and struck late on to kill off any challenge from the Ulster side.

Both sides started brightly with goal chances were aplenty in the opening five minutes.

Eoin McHugh almost got Donegal off to the perfect start after collecting a long ball and poking past the on-rushing Michael Savage, only for the Dublin goalkeeper to scramble backwards to claw it off the line.

The sides exchanged points in the opening period, Cormac Costello and Kevin McManamon prolific for the capital, while Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty were on target for the Ulstermen.

Ciaran Kilkenny attempts to tackle Paddy McBrearty during tonight's game 

Rory Gallagher's side went in trailing by a point at the break but looked just as dangerous as the hosts.

It would be Donegal once again who were fastest out of the blocks at the start of the second period, two points in quick succession gave them a slender lead.

The turning point came in the 51st minute when Michael Murphy came in somewhat late on a challenge to win the ball, something which James McCarthy had clearly taken offence to.

After some pushing and shoving, Murphy was dismissed for a second bookable offence, as was McCarthy. Replays suggested that McCarthy had attempted to gouge the eye of an opponent.

With both men sent off it was Dublin who gathered momentum and turned their dominance into an insurmountable lead four minutes from time.

Paul Flynn and Kevin McManamon linked up and it was the latter who fed McMahon who finished low under the body of Mark Anthony McGinley. 

The win leaves Dublin on course another league title, but eyebrows will be raised over this incident of gouging.