Blue wave stuns Laois
DUBLIN U-21s 2-21, LAOIS U-21s 0-4
Suffice to say, Dublin will have tougher evenings! They've probably endured more taxing team meetings.
A 23-point mauling of Laois was the outcome of a most straight-forward night, one which leads to a Leinster semi-final with Westmeath in two weeks time (neutral venue) but what exactly manager Jim Gavin learned from last night's experience is open to question.
Dublin were good, no doubt. But Laois offered less than facile resistance.
The attitude from Dublin was impressive, though, even when the match was reduced to a glorified kick-about, a fact noted by Gavin afterwards.
"We just got off to a good start and unfortunately for Laois, they fell away," he offered.
"But the application from my guys was exemplary throughout.
"So in that sense, we're happy with the result."
A 14th-minute goal from Philly Ryan following a trademark burst of pace and short handpass from Gary Sweeney set up the rout and with Ciarán Kilkenny bagging 0-7 (3f), Sweeney (0-2) and substitutes, Paul Hudson (0-2) and Gerry Seaver (1-1) all getting in on the act, it was rampant stuff from the Dubs throughout.
For Laois, it was a nightmare in every regard. Not exactly overburdened by local expectation, they came to Parnell Park and got beaten in every facet of the contest.
Physically, mentally and most importantly, in cold footballing combat, they were light years behind Dublin.
Defensively, they were miles off their men and hadn't a hope of coping with the movement of Kilkenny, Ryan et al.
In midfield -- although Dublin didn't exactly lord the aerial exchanges -- they still managed to break the ball productively and had the numbers and the nous to snap up those breaks.
And in attack, Laois were largely redundant, though minor clemency will be granted in the post mortems due to the lack of decent ball arriving from deep.
For a county (Laois) in an All-Ireland Under-21 final as recently as five years ago (losing narrowly to Cork), it's an
alarming development, one which is likely to raise questions about whether the tap of promising talent has run temporarily dry, or if the evening was symptomatic of a more permanent problem.
Manager Pat Roe won't be around to find out anyway, resigning immediately after the romp.
Senior player Damien O'Connor got their only point of the first half 15 minutes in and at the break, they trailed by 1-11 to 0-1. After that, it just got worse.
For his part, Gavin's experience of this competition is sure to keep his team's expectation levels at comfortable levels.
"When you're into the (provincial) semi-final stage, you're automatically going to play a better standard of team," he noted.
"They're an ambitious group of men and they want to achieve. I think that was self-evident out there tonight. We still have areas to improve, no doubt about it.
"But this is group has really applied themselves since the start of January so I'm sure they will work very hard over the next 10 days," stressed Dubs boss Gavin.
SCORERS - Dublin: K Kilkenny 0-7 (0-3f), P Ryan 1-2 (0-1f), G Seaver 1-1, P Hudson 0-3 (1f), E Ó Conghaile, G Sweeney 0-2 each, J Smith, J McCaffrey, M Schutte, C Reddin 0-1 each. Laois: D O'Connor 0-2, J Farrell, J Finn (f) 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: JB Carthy; M Concarr, K O'Brien, J Smith; L Fletcher, J Kelly, J McCaffrey; E Ó Conghaile, C Walsh; M Schutte, G Sweeney, C Reddin; P Ryan, H Dawson, C Kilkenny. Subs: P Hudson for Dawson (11, inj), B Quinn for Ryan (40), G Seaver for Quinn (47, inj), A Carr for Concarr (51), E Keogh for Sweeney (52).
LAOIS: D Kelly; S Murphy Kerry, C Booth, S Murphy; D Seale, P McEvoy, A Ryan; S Nerney, J Finn; D O'Connor, K Delaney, B Kelly; R O'Connor, D Hayden, E Costello. Subs: J Farrell for Costello (22), D Aylsbury for Kelly (ht), D Dunne for Murphy Kerry (ht), K McGrath for O'Connor (42).
REF: Niall Ward (Westmeath)