DUBLIN 2-16 LOUTH 0-7
Dublin completed their second successive win in Group 2 of the Eirgrid Leinster Under 20 Football Championship when accounting for Louth by fifteen points at Parnell Park on Wednesday night.
The hosts took their time to settle in the first quarter, requiring a fair degree of patience to punch holes in the heavily-manned Louth defence, but they gradually seized control in what was an efficient and dominant display.
The visitors impressed defensively when conceding just six scores in their opening round draw with Offaly a week previously and they set the tone early on by denying their opponents any space in which to cut loose.
A 2nd minute ‘45’ from Harry Butterly opened the scoring for Louth with Dublin drawing level within two minutes as they showed great patience in retaining possession before Luke Breathnach popped over off his left foot.
Despite their defensive set-up, Louth looked threatening on the counter-attack and should have netted in the 6th minute but after rounding Andrew Smyth in the Dublin goal, Tom Matthews low shot was cleared off the line by the retreating Alex Gavin.
The early momentum changed at that point as the Dubs began to gained the upper hand around centerfield and after Tom Brennan had handed them the lead in the 12th minute, Breathnach kicked a glorious point at the end of the first quarter to leave his side 0-3 to 0-1 to the good.
Louth were struggling with the pace of the home attack at this stage as Dublin added to their tally through a Joe Quigley free and Breathnach’s third point from play and their clever used of the mark resulted in scores for both Darragh Dempsey and Breathnach as the half progressed.
Kyle McElroy entered the fray for the visitors and kicked two frees approaching the break but Dempsey added a brace of his own to leave Dublin well placed at 0-9 to 0-3 by half-time.
Dara McDonnell offered hopes of a comeback in the opening minute of the second-half when kicking his side’s first score from play but that effort proved a false dawn as normal service was resumed at the opposite end.
An excellent team move resulted in captain Conor Dolan opening his account while Brennan kicked two superb scores soon after to stretch his team’s advantage.
The contest was effectively settled in the 41st minute when Dempsey was fouled inside the large square and Quigley’s resultant penalty left Josh Finlay in the Louth goal helpless, nestling in the bottom right corner.
The hosts were content to see out the final quarter in relative comfort, conceding a couple of frees to Kieran McArdle but they remained a threat at the opposite end with Breathnach and substitute Séamus Smith on target.
Greg McEneaney kicked a booming point late on to reward an influential display in the middle third and the gloss was added by another substitute Caelum Moriarty, who fired home in the 2nd minute of injury time to complete an encouraging performance from Jim Lehane’s side.
Dublin will look to confirm top spot in the group when they travel to O’Connor Park next Tuesday night to face Offaly.
Scorers – Dublin: L Breathnach 0-6 (2 marks, 1f), J Quigley 1-1 (1-0pen, 0-1f), D Dempsey (1f, 1 mark), T Brennan 0-3 each, C Moriarty 1-0, C Dolan, G McEneaney, S Smith 0-1 apiece. Louth: K McElroy (2f), K McArdle (2f) 0-2 each, H Butterly (‘45’), D McDonnell, C Maher 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: A Smyth; E O’Connor Flanagan, T Clancy, E Nugent; A Gavin, J Cotter, D O’Leary; E Dunne, G McEneaney; T Brennan, L Ward, C Dolan; D Dempsey, L Breathnach, J Quigley. Subs: M McDonald for Dunne (44), S Smith for Ward (47), C Moriarty for Brennan (52), K O’Brien for Breathnach (54), D McGrath for Cotter (57).
LOUTH: J Finlay; F Tipping, B Corrigan, M Holohan; C Maher, S Reynolds, T McDonnell; D McDonnell, S Callaghan; J Rogers, K McArdle, L Flynn; H Butterly, T Matthews, D Dorian. Subs: C Taaffe for Dorian (24), K McElroy for Flynn (24), D Reilly for Butterly (47), B Gartlan for Maher (54) .
Referee: Keith O’Brien (Westmeath).
Photo Credit: Paul Lundy