Minor hurling: Dub cubs ease past the Faithful
Dublin overcame a tricky opening to confidently overcome Offaly by ten points in their Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship Round 2 encounter at Parnell Park last Saturday afternoon.
The hosts trailed by four points after just five minutes but they regrouped sufficiently well to lead at the break and their control all over the park was reflected in their final winning margin.
Central to Dublin's victory was the solidity offered down their defensive spine by full-back Ciaran Brady and centre-back Paddy Smyth with the former embellishing a strong performance with an inspirational point in the first-half.
Of equal significance was the influence that Dublin's substitutes exerted on affairs with Eoghan Conroy and Ciaran Dowling hugely impressive upon their respective introductions.
That their input was required reflected on a nervy opening by the hosts as they ceded possession far too easily in the initial stages with Offaly taking advantage through points from Liam Langton, Ciaran Cleary, Conor Molloy and JP Cleary.
A Mark Maguire score helped settle Dublin and although Molloy restored Offaly's four point lead in the 6th minute, the hosts respnded through Brady's superb score and a brace of points from the lively Fergal Whitely.
Dublin were yielding scant return from their inside-forward line in the opening half but a Gavin King sideline and two Matthew Oliver frees helped ensure a narrow 0-8 to 0-7 interval lead for Johnny McGuirk's charges.
Despite the excellent Langton levelling matters within five minutes of the resumption, Dublin were beginning to control matters around the middle third and they regained their lead following successive scores by Oliver and Whitely.
A Molloy free offered brief respite for Offaly but their opponents were beginning to gain reward for their supremacy as Eoghan Dunne and Carl Sammon pointed before Molloy's free in riposte.
Dowling and Oliver added further scores for Dublin before the contest was effectively settled eight minutes from time as Dunne turned sharply onto Whitely's pass before firing a rising shot beyond the helpless William Malone.
Matters deteriorated for the Faithful County when Ciaran Cleary was dismissed for a wild pull in the 57th minute as Offaly's discipline deserted them in the closing stages.
A second Dublin goal looked likely given their pressure and it duly arrived a minute later as King netted from close range before the Dubs tagged on points by Oliver and Dunne to conclude a satisfactory display by the Dubs.