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Defeat for our Minor Footballers after Extra time in the Leinster Final

Defeat for our Minor Footballers after Extra time in the Leinster Final

Mon, 20th May 2024

Pic Courtesy Paul Lundy

DUBLIN 1-10 


Dublin failed in their attempt to claim their third successive Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship title when falling to Longford by two points after extra-time at Glenisk O’Connor Park on Monday night.

A Senan Bolger goal in the 15th minute was the key moment of a cagey first-half, one that saw Dublin enter the break with a 1-4 to 0-3 advantage, a scoreline that didn’t adequately reflect their control during that period.

The second-half saw Longford assume control of matters and they deservedly forced extra-time on a 1-7 to 0-10 scoreline thanks to a captain’s free from Mark Cooney in the 63rd minute.

Dublin enjoyed a marginal lead after the first period of extra-time but two superb points from Cian O’Donnell after the break proved telling by the final whistle.

The heavy showers that fell in Tullamore earlier in the afternoon left the pitch in a damp condition and this mitigated against free-flowing football in what was an understandably nervous start by both teams.

It was Longford, seeking their first provincial title since 2010, that opened the scoring through late replacement Luke Donnelly in the 3rd minute before attacking wing-back Ryan Ennis levelled matters within a minute for the Dubs.

In the 5th minute, Rían Doherty found space down the left flank and while James Ross repelled his first effort, Doherty regathered possession to centre for Bolger, who palmed home from close range.

Far from building on that score, Dublin endured a scoreless period of ten minutes with both teams guilty of carelessness in possession and Longford made the most of the chances they created by trimming their arrears through successive scores from Alan Mimnagh and James Hagan.

The Dubs were in need of a settling score at this stage and it duly arrived through a Doherty free at the end of the first quarter and the Lucan Sarsfields player pushed his side three points clear when converting his second free of the half six minutes later.

Dublin could, and probably should, have added a second goal in the 22nd minute but Donach Magee fired narrowly wide of Ross’ right-hand upright after a strong run down the middle of the Longford defence.

Another goal chance arrived four minutes later as Bolger looked to return the favour to Doherty but his shot from six yards was placed too close to Ross, who parried away comfortably.

With Danny McGill operating effectively at sweeper, Dublin dealt well with sporadic moments of Longford pressure and they ensured a four-point interval lead when Doherty clipped over another free three minutes before the break.

Longford were an entirely different proposition in the early stages of the second-half as they placed far great pressure on their opponents and they were rewarded for their efforts through two early points from Hagan and Donnelly.

When substitute Karl O’Hara clipped over in the 38th minute, Dublin’s lead was down to the bare minimum and their frustrations were evident in some of their decision-making.

Bolger and substitute Finn Costello went close to adding a second Dublin goal within two minutes before Charlie Loughran finally opened their second-half account when popping over in the 44th minute.

Doherty and Hagan exchanged frees in the early stages of the final quarter but Dublin only had a point in hand by the 50th minute as Donnelly kicked an excellent point for Longford.

Whatever Donnelly could do at one end, Doherty more than matched that attempt with a cracking effort off his left foot soon after to double his team’s narrow lead.

Back came Longford with a fine Ben Blessington point and with fatigue kicking in on both sides, the error count increased in a frantic conclusion that saw Longford captain Mark Cooney ensure extra-time with a long-range free deep into added time.

Scores also proved at a premium in extra-time as a Doherty free and an instant reply from the reintroduced Cormac Flynn ensured the contest remained delicately poised.

However, Dublin handed themselves some much-needed breathing room with successive points from Finn Costello and Cillian McCabe but Liam Greene replied for Longford to leave the tie at 1-10 to 0-12 by the brief interval.

It was at this point that O’Donnell grabbed proceedings by the scruff of the neck with a brace of telling scores and O’Hagan added an insurance score to complete a famous win for the midlanders.

Scorers – Dublin: R Doherty 0-6 (5f); S Bolger 1-0; R Ennis, C Loughran, F Costello, C McCabe 0-1 apiece. Longford: J Hagan (2f), L Donnelly 0-3 each; K O’Hara, C O’Donnell 0-2 each; A Mimnagh, B Blessington, M Cooney (f), C Flynn, L Greene 0-1 apiece.

Dublin: F McDonnell; S Devane, D O’Sullivan, J O’Keeffe; J Kennedy, F McGinnis, R Ennis; C Gavin, K Costello; D McGill, S Bolger, D Magee; C Loughran, F Lydon, R Doherty. Subs: F Costello for Gavin (36), C McCabe for Lydon (39), E O’Donovan for Devane (51), Gavin for K Costello (67), J McNair for Ennis (71), H O’Neill for Doherty (71), S Devane for Kennedy (80).

Longford: J Ross; A Mimnagh, C McHugh, D Mulligan; C Doherty, M Cooney, B Blessington; S Fagan, P Farrell; C Flynn, C O’Donnell, J Shannon; L Donnelly, J Marsh, J Hagan. Subs: O Kane for Flynn (25), K O’Hara for O’Donnell (37), K Hudson for Shannon (47), M Glennon for Mimnagh (56), O’Donnell for Marsh (57), Flynn for Farrell (61), L Greene for Kane (66), Marsh for O’Hara (81).

Referee: Darragh Byrne (Wicklow).

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