Friday 15 December 2017

Blues get ready for Royals clash with victory over Westmeath

Gerry Reilly U-16 Football

DUBLIN'S U-16 footballers maintained their impressive form from last weekend as they overcame Westmeath by 4-16 to 0-8 in their Gerry Reilly Tournament encounter in Oldcastle last Saturday evening.

The win follows on from last Sunday week's comprehensive victory over Louth with the Dubs hoping to make it three wins on the bounce when they face tournament hosts Meath next weekend.

The Dubs struggled initially to make their mark and they deservedly trailed by 0-3 to 0-1 inside the opening eight minutes.

However, a goal from Ciarán Dowling helped settle Dublin as the Lucan Sarsfields boy raced through the middle before firing a low shot to the corner of the net.

Westmeath restored parity through a free from Cathal Mannion but the Dubs assumed control for the final 10 minutes of the half as they struck 1-5 without reply.

With Cormac Howley and Seán Gibbons especially influential, Dublin created numerous attack and they received their benefit with Dowling adding points from either foot while Michael Courtney also chipped in with a brace of scores.

Eric Rowan could have added to Dublin's goal tally during this period with is fisted attempt superbly repelled by Westmeath netminder Matthew Rowden.


However, the Thomas Davis player gained reward for his efforts with a fine point and Courtney's goal following a 
superb run from Jeff Rafter helped ensure a 2-6 to 0-4 
interval advantage for Dublin.

The Sky Blues were determined to build on that lead upon the resumption and they stretched clear as they kicked unanswered points through Rafter, substitute Conor Lennon, Courtney and Howley.

Westmeath responded admirably and exerted their most concentrated period of pressure on the Dublin defence with Dylan Carroll and Mannion sharing three points from placed balls.

It proved a false dawn for the Lake County, however, because Dublin's defence dealt solidly with their attacks as Rob Shaw, Darragh McKenna and James Holland impressed in the Blues rearguard.

Their efforts ensured that Dublin led by 2-10 to 0-7 at the end of the third quarter, but in keeping with the closing stages of the first-half, the Sky Blues clicked through the gears to finish strongly.


A Lennon point helped puncture some of that Westmeath momentum before Man of the Match Aaron Bradshaw from Ballinteer St John's kicked his first score of the game.

It proved a procession from that point as Bradshaw instigated a move in the middle third that culminated in a wonderful finish to the roof of the Westmeath net from 20 metres.

Dublin's interplay began to overrun their opponents and some excellent approach work by Howley saw substitute Mark Donnelly add to Dublin's tally.

Rafter added another point for Dublin and played an integral role in their final goal as he combined to release Donnelly for a clinical finish before Donnelly and Howley added late points to copper-fasten an 18-point victory.

Dublin SCORERS (v Westmeath): Michael Courtney 1-3; Ciarán Dowling 1-2, Mark Donnelly 1-2 each; Aaron Bradshaw 1-1; Jeff Rafter 0-3; Conor Lennon, Cormac Howley 0-2; Eric Rowan 0-1.

Dublin: Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams); Malachy Tighe (St Brigid's), Rob Shaw (Castleknock), Darragh McKenna (St Brigid's); Aaron Carey (St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh), James Holland (Ballyboden St Enda's), Dan O'Brien (Kilmacud Crokes); Aaron Bradshaw (Ballinteer St John's), Seán Gibbons (Castleknock); Cormac Howley (Round Tower, Lusk), Ciarán Dowling (Lucan Sarsfields), Jeff Rafter (Na Fianna); Tom Downes (O'Dwyer's), Michael Courtney (St Brigid's), Eric Rowan (Thomas Davis).

Subs: Conor Lennon (St Finian's, Swords) for 
Rowan (half-time), Hugh Keller (Ballyboden 
St Enda's) for Carey (38), Mark Donnelly 
(St Brigid's) for Downes (42), Tom Keane 
(Nh Olaf) for Dowling (47), Ciarán Smith 
(Lucan Sarsfields) for Tighe (48), David Maloney 
(St Sylvester's) for O'Brien (50).

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