Dublin made to work hard to claim fi­nal un­der 21 ti­tle

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - GAELIC GAMES - DON­N­CHADH BOYLE

AFTER 53 years of com­pe­ti­tion, the last All-Ire­land U21 fi­nal saved al­most all of its drama for the fi­nal ten min­utes be­fore Dessie Far­rell’s Dublin ran out de­served win­ners in Tul­lam­ore. A blis­ter­ing start to the sec­ond half, which saw them hit 1-3 in the five min­utes im­me­di­ately after the restart, put the Dubs seven points clear and saw them put one hand on the tro­phy.

Se­nior pan­el­list and club All-Ire­land hurl­ing win­ner Con O’Cal­laghan grabbed Dublin’s first goal. Brian Howard took a mark at mid­field and his de­liv­ery looked like it would be in­ter­cepted but when Gal­way missed their chance, Aaron Byrne took the right op­tion and passed to O’Cal­laghan who fisted to the net.

That pur­ple patch took the wind out of Gal­way and it wasn’t un­til near the death they gave them­selves a chance of win­ning the game.

Dublin’s lead stood at eight points go­ing into the fi­nal ten min­utes when Co­rofin’s Cil­lian McDaid grabbed a goal and a Kieran Mol­loy point gave Gal­way hope.

Ruairi Greene al­most put Gal­way within a point but his ef­fort hit the inside of the post and rolled across the line be­fore be­ing cleared. Gal­way then missed a sim­ple free and when Dublin broke away to goal through Aaron Byrne, they looked to have the job done for a sec­ond time in the hour.

Still, the four min­utes of in­jury time through up more ex­cite­ment. Gal­way sub Colm Bren­nan forced a goal which cut the gap to four again but a come­back looked un­likely.

O’Cal­laghan pointed a penalty in the last ac­tion of the day to give Dublin their fifth ti­tle at the grade and a fourth since 2010.

Gal­way could have lit­tle com­plaint with the re­sult as they never led at any stage in the match.

Dublin opened the scor­ing through Glenn O’Reilly and might have had a goal as early as the fourth minute. Aaron Byrne raced on to a break off Con O’Cal­laghan but his first time ef­fort was gob­bled up by Gal­way goal­keeper Ro­nan O Be­o­lain.

With the wind swirling and giv­ing no clear ad­van­tage to ei­ther side, it was Dublin who set­tled bet­ter. After the first quar­ter, they held a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with Micheal Daly land­ing Gal­way’s only score.

The amount of in­flu­ence O’Cal­laghan could ex­ert on the game was des­tined to have a big say on things and with Sean Andy O Ceal­laigh get­ting on top of the Cuala man, Gerry Fahy’s side grad­u­ally set­tled.

The never na­ture of the game con­tin­ued but they would outscore Dublin by 0-3 to 0-1 on the run in to half time with Eoin Fin­nerty and McDaid land­ing fine points to leave the Tribes­men trail­ing by the min­i­mum at the break (0-5 to 0-4).

How­ever, Dublin’s quick fire start to the sec­ond half saw them lay the ground to se­cure the last U21 All-Ire­land ti­tle be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion moves to U20 in 2018.

Scor­ers — Dublin: C O’Cal­laghan 1-3 (2f, 0-1 pen), G O’Reilly 0-3, A Byrne 1-0, D O’Brien, C Basquel 0-2 each, D Gavin, B Howard, S Smith 0-1 each. Gal­way: C McDaid 1-1, C Bren­nan 1-0, E Fin­nerty, P Man­nion, P Cooke (1f), K Mol­loy, C Brady, M Daly 0-1 each.

Dublin: E Comer­ford; D Byrne, S McMa­hon, D Mon­aghan; C O’Shea, E Mur­chan, C Mur­phy; A Foley, B Howard; D O’Brien, G O’Reilly, A Byrne; T Fox, C Basquel, C O’Cal­laghan. Subs:

D Gavin for Foley (13), D Spil­lane for Fox (39), C Sal­lier for O’Reilly (45), A McGowan for McMa­hon (60), P Small for Basquel (60), S Smith for Byrne (60).

Gal­way: R O Be­o­lain; SA O Ceal­laigh, L Kelly, R Greene; C McDaid, D McHugh, K Mol­loy; P Cooke, C D’arcy; P Man­nion, M Daly, S Kelly; R Fin­nerty, E Fin­nerty, D Con­neely. Subs: C Brady for R Fin­nerty (HT), C Bren­nan for D’arcy (37), M Boyle for Con­nelly (39), E Lee for Kelly (44), A O Laoi for Man­nion (54), P O Cur­raoin for Mol­loy (60).

Ref­eree: C Brana­gan (Down).

Cil­lian McDaid of Gal­way in ac­tion against Cil­lian O’Shea of Dublin

Dublin man­ager Dessie Far­rell

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