Pic courtesy Paul Lundy
Dublin advanced to the final of the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship when overcoming Offaly by twenty-two points in their one-sided last four encounter at Glenisk O’Connor Park on Wednesday evening.
It was Dublin’s ability to plunder goals in the first-half that set the tone with four goals in that opening period laying the most solid of platforms as they eased into the provincial decider.
The Dubs could not have wished for a better start as they found the net within forty seconds as Paddy Curry raced down the left flank and while he appeared to lose control heading towards the posts, the Ballyboden St Enda’s player remedied matters with an instinctive low shot beyond Donncha Keoghan in the home goal.
A second goal arrived within a minute with a patient build-up eventually finding Luke O’Boyle, who released Harry Curley for a precise finish to the right of Keoghan’s outstretched hand.
The hosts settled themselves as they enjoyed a period of possession but were unable to threaten the scoreboard until the 10th minute when Cian Bracken was left unmarked at the far post to rattle the Dublin net.
The first point of the match eventually arrived two minutes later although Dublin could well have netted their third goal but for Keoghan’s fine stop from Jack O’Sullivan, with Joshua Young popping over the crossbar from the rebound.
The contest gradually settled from that juncture, for the time being at least, with Lenny Cahill kicking two excellent points at the start of the second quarter while Robert Carney replied for the hosts in the 23rd minute.
However, Offaly’s shakiness at the back returned before the break with Noah Byrne taking advantage of a misplaced pass from Keoghan to race through to plant an unstoppable finish to the net in the 27th minute.
Matters deteriorated even further for the hosts two minutes later as another ill-judged pass in defence was seized upon by the alert Curry, who rolled the ball home past the helpless Keoghan.
The half ended with Offaly’s Finn Bracken (free) and Senan Ryan trading points as the visitors entered the break with a healthy 4-4 to 1-2 advantage.
The second-half resumed in a similar vein of Dublin dominance and after Ryan had added another fine points, the visitors pounced for their fifth goal through another smart finish from Curley.
By that point, Offaly were denied by Cillian Murray’s superb save from a penalty and after substitute Shane Mullarkey and Cahill had added to their lead, they fired home a sixth goal through O’Boyle in the 40th minute.
The contest petered put from that point with Dublin looking threatening on the counter-attack as Cahill kicked another brace of points from play while Mullarkey added another two points in a lively cameo.
The visitors could even afford to see Cahill’s penalty following a foul on Andrew O’Reilly, turned to safety by Keoghan but it proved a minor inconvenience on a night in which they booked a final date with neighbours Kildare, who edged Meath by 0-13 to 0-12.
Scorers – Dublin: H Curley 2-1, P Curry 2-0, L Cahill 0-6 (2f), N Byrne, L O’Boyle 1-0 each, S Mullarkey 0-3, S Ryan 0-2, J Young, A O’Reilly (’45’), C McAweeney 0-1 apiece. Offaly: C Bracken 1-0, R Carney (1f), B Carroll 0-2 each, F Carney (f), C Egan, A Molloy, N Flannery 0-1 apiece.
Dublin: C Murray; S Keogh, C Emmet, J O’Sullivan; J Young, E Costello, R Mitchell; S Ryan, A Carolan; P Coleman, L O’Boyle, N Byrne; L Cahill, H Curley, P Curry. Subs: S Mullarkey for Curry (32), N O’Brien for O’Boyle (43), A O’Reilly for Carolan (46), B Kennedy for Coleman (49), C McAweeney for Byrne (51).
Offaly: D Keoghan; N Flannery, P Kenna, H Goulding; R Grehan, C McKeon, B Carroll; C Bourke, C Kelly; C Egan, C Bracken, F Carney; R Carney, K Bryan, C Foran. Subs: A Molloy for Bryan (39), D bates for Kelly (43), A Rattigan for Foran (46), C Weldon for Egan (50).
Referee: Stephen Fagan (Wicklow).