Dubs attack to kill off Models
Blues boss Gavin has artillery to topple Wexford
JIM GAVIN has sampled every conceivable outcome to an under-21 championship in his four years in charge of Dublin at this grade but there is more than a small reason to be optimistic about his 2012 prospects ahead of tonight's Leinster opener in Wexford.
On paper at least, Dublin's strength is in attack. Gary Sweeney was one of the main men up front in the All-Ireland win of 2010 and he now has a Sigerson medal too after coming on as a substitute last week in DCU's dismissal of NUI Maynooth in Galway.
Alongside him, Gerry Seaver was another tipped for a senior career after an impressive minor showing in defence while the inside forward line should provide scores aplenty.
Ciarán Kilkenny is an obvious and menacing target man but if Wexford devote too energy to curtailing the Castleknock prospect, both Harry Dawson and Philly Ryan are capable of putting up big scores.
Ryan, in particular, was in fine form during St Brigid's Dublin SFC win last year and possesses a handy inclination to make and take goal chances.
Further back, Dublin's half-back line contains plent of potency too. Jack McCaffrey's pace and clever use of possession added an extra dimension to the minors' attack last while John Small's abilities were regarded so highly that he was the only member of that promising team to receive an immediate invitation to the senior ranks by Pat Gilroy.
The Model County will justly feel they have more than a slight chance of causing an upset, however.
Wexford will look to Matthew O'Hanlon and Aiden Cash to control the airways around the middle third while Michael O'Regan may move out from full-forward to bolster their ball-winning options and even in Dublin's 2010 pomp (albeit almost totally a different group), slow starts were commonplace early on in Leinster.
Quality-wise, though, this team isn't far off Gavin's last successful side and the experience of the manager himself through four years of under-21 will stand to Dublin. A win tonight should provide some momentum ahead of a home quarter-final clash with Laois in a week's time.
DUBLIN: JB Carty; J Smith, K O'Brien, M Concarr; J Small, L Fletcher, J McCaffrey; E ó Conghaile, D Byrne; G Seaver, G Sweeney, M Schutte; C Kilkenny, H Dawson, P Ryan. Subs: A Downey, A Carr, S George, J Kelly, P O'Higgins, E Keogh, M Gibbs, B Quinn, A Caffrey, P Mannion, C Reddin.
WEXFORD: B Redmond; W Devereux, D Gardiner, M Furlong; L Chin, JLeacy, S Sinnott; M O'Hanlon, A Cash; B O'Gorman, G Cullen, L óg McGovern; D Murphy, M O'Regan, K Rowe.
ODDS: Wexford 7/2, Draw 9/1, Dublin 2/9