Dubs face old foes for fi­nal spot

Fingal Independent - - SPORT - RORY KERR

AS Dublin be­gin the quest for a his­toric ‘drive for five’, there is the small mat­ter of the O’byrne Cup to be con­sid­ered and this Satur­day the Metropoli­tans host neigh­bours Meath in a semi-fi­nal clash at Par­nell Park (throw-in 7pm).

A five-point ex­tra-time win over Kil­dare in 2015 by a team in­spired by Dean Rock and Kevin Mc­mana­mon would see Dublin cap­ture the first of four ti­tles that sea­son, but the clean sweep has eluded Jim Gavin’s men since.

In re­cent years Gavin, per­haps in a bid to keep his squad fresh, has taken a back seat in this com­pe­ti­tion and handed over the reins to his 1995 All-ire­land play­ing col­league and cur­rent Dublin se­lec­tor Paul Clarke.

The White­hall Colm­cille man has had mixed suc­cess in the com­pe­ti­tion. In his first year in charge, 2017, they tri­umphed over Louth, with St Maur’s man Ciaran Red­din lift­ing the tro­phy fol­low­ing a nine-point win in the fi­nal.

The de­fence of their ti­tle came a crop­per last year, though, when Dublin, need­ing to win by 17 points to progress to the last four, suf­fered a late am­bush against Wex­ford in En­nis­cor­thy. That brought an early end to a cam­paign which had been light­ened up by some ter­rific shoot­ing from Clann Mhuire for­ward Adam Rogers.

The omens for this year’s cam­paign look good and with Fin­gal quar­tet Cor­mac How­ley (Round Tow­ers Lusk), Oisin Lynch (Fin­gal­lians), Jack Ha­z­ley (St Sylvester’s) and Stephen Smith of Sker­ries Harps in the shake-up, Dublin would seem to have a lot of op­tions up front.

All four fea­tured in last month’s Dub Stars chal­lenge in Naomh Bar­rog which saw Lynch reg­is­ter 2-3 out of Dublin’s 3-19 tally.

Pos­si­bly of more in­ter­est is how Dublin (who re­ceived a bye into the semi-fi­nals) will fare with the new rules which, should they get the green light at a Cen­tral Coun­cil meet­ing on Jan­uary 19th, will be in place for the Na­tional League cam­paign.

The most con­tentious rule change has been the re­duc­tion in the num­ber of hand-passes al­lowed and it may the one that many are keen to kick into touch.

While al­ready in oper­a­tion for al­most a month, it is a rule that con­tin­ues to con­fuse teams, with Meath hav­ing a goal dis­al­lowed against Wex­ford on Satur­day af­ter ex­ceed­ing the num­ber of passes al­lowed.

How­ever, a three-pointer from Sean Tobin would even­tu­ally see Meath pull away in the sec­ond half to pre­vail by a seven-point mar­gin.

For Meath boss Andy Mcen­tee, this will be his sec­ond sea­son in charge and he is joined on the line by Colm Nally who is no stranger to north County Dublin, hav­ing spend a few sea­sons in charge of Fin­gal Ravens.

While Dublin come into the com­pe­ti­tion a bit wet be­hind the ears, the home side should be ex­pected to progress to the de­cider which takes place a week later.

Mick Bo­han’s Dublin Ladies team take on their Dub­stars coun­ter­parts at DCU this Sun­day at 1.30pm, with the pre­ced­ing Ju­nior clash be­gin­ning at 11.30am.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.