Dublin Basq' in u21 victory
Highly fancied Lilywhites await in Leinster decider
AT that precise moment when Laois might have spied some feint hope of an upset in Parnell Park during Saturday's EirGrid Leinster U21 semi-final, Dessie Farrell sent in two very recent All-Ireland winners.
First, Ballyboden St Enda's Colm Basquel came in for the black-carded Mick Deegan and following shortly after, Shane Clayton made his way on for Killian Deeley, who had been issued the same sanction.
Basquel, in keeping with the theme of his week, kicked 1-3, the goal coming less than a minute after the sending off of Dublin's Tom Lahiff had afforded Laois a lifeline.
"We're very happy with how we finished," Farrell confirmed and it was easy to see why, given that his team led by just three points when Lahiff was sent off on a straight red card on the advice of an umpire, just two minutes earlier Laois midfielder Brian Daly was dismissed on the say-so of a linesman.
"Just after half-time, for about seven or eight minutes, Laois really went at us and upped the ante big time.
"There was a frenzied few minutes where there were a couple of sendings off and that could have unsettled us."
Basquel's goal started a run of 1-9 to just a Laois goal over the closing gallop, a run which probably reflected Dublin's superiority as a team.
The need for it reflected their inability to make it fully count in the first half.
Dublin moved with purpose, particularly on the counter-attack and their support play was always impressive.
"Some days that happens for you," Farrell pointed out. "Other days, you're struggling to put the bits and pieces together.
"But there were a lot of fellas looking for the opportunity to get on and support and drive on and when we're doing that, we're playing like we can play.
"Other times, it can be a bit more testy and we struggle to get out and break at pace."
Laois did their best to keep track of Con O'Callaghan, though the Cuala man ended with 0-5 (2f) and the introduction of Boden ace Basquel took some of the attention away from the former.
Evan O'Carroll buried Laois' goal midway through the first half after a mazy run to confirm his very dangerous threat but Chris Sallier's response after a strong run from O'Callaghan and Declan Monaghan helped ease Dublin to half-time with a four-point lead.
Farrell will be pleased by strong individual displays from Na Fianna wing-forward Glenn O'Reilly (0-3), Martin Cahilan (0-2) an Seán McMahon (0-1).
He also has the options of starting some or all of Basquel, Clayton and fit-again co-captain Eoin Murchan when they play a heavily fanced Kildare team in the Leinster decider on Wednesday March 30.
SCORERS - Dublin: C Basquel 1-3, C O'Callaghan 0-5 (2f), C Sallier 1-1, G O'Reilly 0-3, M Cahilan 0-2, S McMahon, M Deegan, L Molloy (f) 0-1 each. Laois: E O'Carroll 1-2 (0-1f), T Shiels 1-1, N Murphy, B Keogh 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: L Molloy; D Monaghan, S McMahon, E Smith; B Howard, C O'Shea, M Cahilan; A Foley, K Deeley; T Lahiff, C O'Callaghan, G O'Reilly; C Sallier, M Deegan, D Spillane. Subs: C Basquel for Deegan (36 black card), S Clayton for Deeley (45 black card), E Murchan for Spillane (48), P Small for Sallier (54), D McIlgorm for Foley (56), T O'Sullivan for O'Callaghan (64).
LAOIS: A Cooney; L Knowles, A Campion, E Buggie; T Collins, D O'Reilly, E Buggie; R Dowling, E O'Carroll; M Keogh, B Daly, D Hickey; E Lowry, N Murphy, S Moore. Subs: T Shiels for Moore (23 black card), A Dowling for Buggie (ht), C Dunne for Dowling (43), E Keane for Dunne (56 inj).
REF: F Smyth (Offaly).