Frank Bass reporting from O’Moore Park, Portlaoise
Dublin’s Cubs last night completed the first ever Leinster four-in-a-row at U21 level, with Dessie Farrells side beating an Offaly team by twelve points
Although the scoreline suggests otherwise, Offaly were competitive in this game for long periods but it was their blunt edge in front of the posts that proved costly. Offaly started brightly and trailed 0-3 to 0-2 after ten minutes, their scores coming from Shane Tierney and Patrick Dunican. Dublin began to kick into gear after the 12th minute when Aaron Byrne, who would terrorize the Offaly rearguard throughout, scored the first of his four points.
Dublin finished the half strongly, scoring three of the last four points to lead 0-10 to 0-5 at the break.
Offaly trailed by five points, not an insurmountable task to overcome, but against a Dublin side as strong as this, it was always going to be difficult. Within minutes of the restart Dublin had rattled Offaly’s net, Tom Fox with the goal, that left the Faithful nine points down and reeling.
Offaly could only manage three frees in the second half as their resistance petered out. Con O’Callaghan, who was unusually quiet, kicked two points in the the final third of the game and when Stephen Smith burst through on the Offaly goal and buried it, the game was over as a contest.
Although happy to win, Dessie Farrell will be concerned with some of Dublin’s sloppy play. They seemed nervous at times on the ball which seems strange given their recent successes and experience. Dublin will have to address this, especially with Munster kingpins Kerry now a possible opponent after their clinical dismantling of Cork in the Munster U21 final.
From an Offaly point of view they will be deeply disappointed with their wayward shooting which did them no favours, but they can also take solace from the fact they battled hard against one of the great U21 sides and put it up to them for long periods. Offaly have long been a sleeping giant of sorts in Leinster but a re-awakening has been seen in recent times with Minor and U21 teams performing well in Leinster.
Scorers for Dublin: Aaron Byrne 0-4, (0-1 45), Con O’Callaghan 0-4 (0-2f), Stephen Smith 1-0, Tom Fox 1-2, Chris Sallier 0-1, Glenn O’Reilly 0-2, Eoin Murchan 0-1.
Scorers for Offaly: Shane Tierney 0-4 (0-1f), Jordan Hayes 0-3 (0-2f), Patrick Dunican 0-1.
1. Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams)
5. Declan Monaghan (Clontarf)
6. Sean McMahon (Raheny)
2. Darren Byrne (Raheny)
23. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)
3. Cillian O’Shea (Kilamcud Crokes)
10. Cian Murphy (Thomas Davis)
8. Andy Foley (Clontarf)
7. Brian Howard (Raheny)
11. Tom Fox (Kilamcud Crokes)
19. Dan O’Brien (Kilmacud Crokes)
12. Aaron Byrne (Na Fianna)
13. Chris Sallier (Thomas Davis)
14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)
17. Glenn O’Reilly (Na Fianna)
15. Stephen Smith for Sallier (40)
18. Sean Bugler for O’Brien (42)
9. Darren Gavin for Fox (42)
21. Aaron Elliot for O’Reilly (51)
20. Andrew McGowan for Monaghan (56)
1. Barry Rohan (Shannonbridge)
2. Clint Horan (Clodiagh Gaels)
3. David Dempsey (Ballycommon)
4. Colm Doyle (Clara)
5. Adam Mahon (Edenderry)
17. Jack Egan (Ferbane)
7. PJ Daly (Cappincur)
8. James Lalor (Raheen)
9. Jordan Hayes (Edenderry)
10. Ciarán Farrell (Edenderry)
11. Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks)
12. Jack Walsh (Gracefield)
13. Ronan McEvoy (Shannonbridge)
14. Ruairi McNamee (Rhode)
15. Shane Tierney (Daingean)
18. Kyle Higgins for Daly (41)
23. Jake Clancy for Dunican (49)
6. Carl Stewart for Egan (58)
Referee: David Hickey (Carlow)