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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Currie sizzles as Dubs set up rebel battle

Dublin 2-20 Antrim 0-11

Seán Currie was in superb form for Dublin against Antrim on Saturday
Seán Currie was in superb form for Dublin against Antrim on Saturday

Dublin turned on the style in the final quarter to pull away from a limited Antrim in their disappointing Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship quarter-final at Páirc Esler on Saturday.

The Dubs now face Cork in the semi-final next month and will look for a more convincing display from a forward line that generally failed to impress - with the honourable exception of Sean Currie.

The Na Fianna player excelled over the 60 minutes with his personal tally of 2-13 reflecting his influence. Only five of those points came from placed balls, with his two second-half goals effectively settling the contest in Dublin's favour.

While it was encouraging to see such a sublime performance, a greater return from the rest of the forwards will be required should Dublin harbour genuine ambitions of achieving national honours.

It was Antrim that made the livelier start with Tiarnan Murphy opening the scoring through a 2nd minute free after full-forward Deaghlan Smith had gained possession close to goal.

Delay

After a lengthy delay following a serious-looking ankle injury to Antrim centre-forward Callum Scullion, Dublin finally began to gain a degree of fluency with Currie levelling matters from a Liam Murphy pass in the 8th minute.

Currie could well have returned the compliment a minute later but elected to shoot on goal with Paul McMullan in the Antrim goal producing a routine stop to deny Dublin's increasingly influential full-forward.

However, Dublin were beginning to control matters and after Ben Coffey handed them the lead in the 9th minute, Currie added three frees as the half progressed to reflect his team's superiority on the scoreboard.

With Lee Gannon and Whitehall Colmcille clubmate Enda O'Donnell impressing in the half-back line, Dublin enjoyed a wealth of possession.

But they struggled at times to translate that supremacy into scores, with Murphy firing over in the 22nd minute after a strong run down the middle by captain David Keogh.

Antrim's sole score from play of the half arrived through the lively Seán Elliott and their struggles out the field allowed their opponents to push 0-10 to 0-3 clear by half-time, with Emmet Allen, Mark Grogan and Currie all adding points from play.

The early stages of the second-half saw a renewed vigour and confidence in Antrim's play with a brace of frees from Murphy and another by Elliott trimming their deficit to just five points by the 38th minute.

However, Currie's uncanny ability to find pockets of space was beginning to take its toll on a flagging Antrim defence as he added two points from play before plundering Dublin's first goal in the 43rd minute.

There appeared little danger as a lengthy Conor O'Donoghue free landed twenty metres from goal but a costly error from Antrim full-back Scott Walsh was seized upon by Currie, who fired low across McMullan from ten yards.

Hanging on

Having been hanging on to a degree up until that point, Antrim's heads dropped from that point with Currie tagging on three further points from play to complement Grogan's second of the night.

The Ulster champions did respond through scores by Deaghlan Smith and Elli ott but Currie put them out of their misery in the 55th minute with another precise finish that gave McMullan no chance.

The contest ended in a low-key manner as Allen and substitute Cian Derwin added a greater gloss to the final scoreline as the Dubs reached the last four stage for the third successive season.

Scorers - Dublin: S Currie 2-13 (0-5f), E Allen, M Grogan 0-2 each, B Coffey, L Murphy, C Derwin 0-1 each. Antrim: S Elliott 0-5 (0-3f), T Murphy 0-4 (0-4f), D Smith, A McGrath 0-1 each.

Dublin: C O'Donoghue; A Dunphy, B McHugh, K Burke; E O'Donnell, L Walsh, L Gannon; D Keogh, B Coffey; M Grogan, E Allen, E O'Neill; L Murphy, S Currie, L McDwyer. Subs: S Lambe for McDwyer (49), C Derwin for Grogan (50), B Smith for Dunphy and J Byrne for Murphy (55), J Rooney for O'Donoghue (58).

Antrim: P McMullan; O McAuley, S Walsh, P Lennon; S Magill, C Boyd, R McGarry; M McGreevy, C McHugh; E McQuillan, C Scullion, N McCormack; T Murphy, D Smith, S Elliott. Subs: A McGrath for Scullion (7), E McMenamin for McGrath (52), F McCurry for McAuley and M Smith for Lennon (58).

Referee: John Keane (Galway)

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