LEINSTER MFC SEMI-FINAL
DUBLIN 0-18 WESTMEATH 1-11
Dublin minor footballers advance to the Leinster MFC final after showing great mettle in Saturday's Electric Ireland Leinster MFC semi-final at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.
A Ben McGauran goal for the midlanders saw the Dubs trail by five points in the 36th minute but they rallied strongly to run out victors and now meet Kildare, semi-final winners over Laois, in the provincial decider.
Westmeath started by far the sharper and points from Devin Hill, Fionn O'Hara and Ben McGauran had the home side 0-3 to 0-0 up inside just four minutes.
However, Dublin eventually settled with Alex Rogers opening Dublin's scoring account in the 11th minute.
Dublin added five more points without reply when Robbie Bolger, Fionn Murray (free), and Rogers was on target on three occasions, one free, to lead 0-6 to 0-3 after 18 minutes.
But back came Westmeath and they held the upperhand until the break when they held a 0-9 to 0-7 advantage.
McGuaran grabbed two of Westmeath's points as they hit six in succession with O'Hara, Shane Reid, Luke Buckley ('45') and Dan Leech all raising white flags.
Before the break Dublin broke Westmeath's chain of scores with a Conor Archer point as they trailed by two at the interval.
Half-time sub Ross Keogh, a nephew of former Dublin senior Shay Keogh, cut the deficit to the minimum with a point three minutes into the second period.
Dublin though were rocked back by a Dan Leech point and Ben McGauran goal to see the midlanders open up a 1-10 to 0-8 lead by the 36th minute.
Crucially Dublin replied in impressive fashion to score the next nine points of the game to lead 0-17 to 1-10 as the game moved into injury-time.
The Dubs got good impact off the bench with Keogh adding two of the points following the Westmeath goal while Fionn Murray, Luke Murphy-Guinane and Senan Forker all slotted important points.
McGauran stopped Dublin's scoring dominance with a point before Alex Rogers kicked the last point of the contest.
SCORERS – Dublin: F Murray 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 ‘45’), A Rogers 0-4, R Keogh 0-3, S Forker, C Archer, R O’Dwyer (0-1f), R Bolger, L Murphy-Guinane 0-1 each. Westmeath: B McGauran 1-4, F O’Hara, D Leech 0-2 each, L Buckley (‘45’), D Hill, S Reid 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: H O’Sullivan; C Tyrell, B Millist, K Conroy; B Harding, D O’Dowd, C Archer; S Forker, H Colclough; R O’Dwyer, S Kinsella, F Murray; A Rogers, L Swan, R Bolger. Subs: R Keogh for Kinsella (ht), L Murphy-Guinane for Colclough (ht), D Fagan for O’Dwyer (34), A Watson for Archer (40), L Curran for Bolger (47).
WESTMEATH: J Mulkearns; A Treanor, D Fagan, C Daly; D Seery, E Martin, J Gahan; C Gibney, F O’Hara; C Lawlor, L Buckley, D Hill; B McGauran, S Reid, D Leech. Subs: D Mnguni for Lawlor (42), J Corcoran for Gahan (47), S Williams for Leech (54), R Hanley for Reid (58), Lawlor for Buckley (61), C Murray for Hill (63).
REF: D Hickey (Carlow)