EirGrid Leinster U-21 Football Championship Final: Dublin 2-14, Offaly 0-8
The curtain came down on the Leinster U-21 Football Championship with a record-breaking fourth title in a row for a dominant Dublin side at O’Moore Park this evening.
A comprehensive victory over Offaly, having cruised past Westmeath and Longford in earlier rounds, sets Dublin up for an All-Ireland semi-final against the Ulster champions.
Dessie Farrell’s side haven’t conceded a single goal this season and restricted each of their opponents to a final tally of less than ten points.
True to form, they struck for another two goals against the Faithful County. Tom Fox hit the first early in the second half, killing off any slim hopes of a shock result.
Dublin had led by double scores at the break – 0-10 to 0-5 – and following Fox’s pile-driver, held a nine point advantage.
Though Offaly continued to battle gamely, there was little to report from then to the end. Substitute Stephen Smith emphasised Dublin’s strength in depth with a second goal in injury-time and, soon after, joint-captains Con O’Callaghan and Cillian O’Shea accepted the Flood Cup from Leinster GAA Chairman, Jim Bolger.
With the championship switching to U-20 next season, this game marked the end of action in the province at this grade, which has been running since 1964.
The man of the match award, presented by sponsors EirGrid, went to wing forward Aaron Byrne who floated over some excellent first half points as Dublin exerted their dominance.
Equally impressive at the other end in the opening period was lively attacker Shane Tierney, who contributed four excellent points as Offaly attempted to stay in touch.
But the only time they were level was at 0-1 apiece early on. Apart from Tierney, Offaly were limited up front and only once threatened to break through for a much needed goal.
Tom Fox, Chris Sallier, Eoin Murchan and Con O’Callaghan also scored for Dublin in the first half as they surged forward with pace. O’Callaghan helped to widen the gap as the second half progressed and there was an air of inevitability about the outcome from a long way out.
Dublin Scorers: Tom Fox 1-2, Aaron Byrne 0-4 (1 ‘45’), Con O’Callaghan 0-4 (2f), Stephen Smith 1-0, Glenn O’Reilly 0-2, Chris Sallier 0-1, Eoin Murchan 0-1.
Offaly Scorers: Shane Tierney 0-4 (1f), Jordan Hayes 0-3 (2f), Ronan McEoy 0-1.
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford; Declan Monaghan, Sean McMahon, Darren Byrne; Eoin Murchan, Cillian O’Shea, Cian Murphy; Andrew Foley, Brian Howard; Tom Fox, Dan O’Brien, Aaron Byrne; Chris Sallier, Con O’Callaghan, Glenn O’Reilly.
Subs: Stephen Smith for Sallier (41), Sean Bugler for O’Brien (42), Darren Gavin for Fox (48), Aaron Elliot for O’Reilly (51), Andrew McGowan for Monaghan (57).
OFFALY: Barry Rohan; Clint Horan, David Dempsey, Colm Doyle; Adam Mahon, PJ Daly, Jack Egan; James Lalor, Jordan Hayes; Ciaran Farrell, Ruairi McNamee, Jack Walsh; Ronan McEvoy, Patrick Dunican, Shane Tierney.
Subs: Kyle Higgins for Daly (41), Jake Clancy for Dunican (49), Carl Stewart for Egan (62).
Ref: David Hickey (Carlow).