Dubs crush Lilies to reach Leinster final
DUBLIN's minor footballers followed in the footsteps of their hurling counterparts when clinching a provincial final berth as they totally outclassed a disappointing Kildare in their Leinster semi-final at Parnell Park last night.
In doing so, the Dubs issued a serious statement of intent ahead of Sunday week's provincial decider against Meath in Croke Park.
The caveat is that they are unlikely to meet such accommodating opponents as Kildare, as the Lilywhites produced a display totally bereft of the qualities generally associated with them
The tight encounters between these counties over the past couple of years were a distant memory as the Dubs took control from the opening whistle.
A first-minute free by Ciarán Kilkenny proved ominous for the Lilies with the Castleknock dual player going on to hit 0-11 in total, eight from open play, with his numerous markers unable to contain his potent mix of power, pace and scoring ability off either foot.
Scott Fulham added a glorious point within a minute and Kilkenny's first from play two minutes later reflected Dublin's early dominance, with Paddy O'Higgins and Emmet Ó Conghaile allaying doubts in the midfield sector over the previously impressive Gavin Farrell and Daniel Flynn.
Despite their early pressure, Dublin conceded the next two scores to David Duke and Paddy Brophy but any momentum those scores may have generated was stalled following a lengthy delay caused by a nasty collision of heads between Duke and Dublin's powerful centre-back John Small.
The hosts regained their supremacy through an excellent David Campbell score in the 11th minute and when Kilkenny may have passed to the unmarked Fulham before electing to shoot, his rising shot flew inches over the bar to regain Dublin's three-point advantage a minute later.
That lead soon turned to five after points from Cormac Costello and Gavin Ivory prior to Kildare finally showing glimpses of their potential as they hit three unanswered scores through two Barry Coffey frees and a tidy effort from play by Niall Kelly in the 24th minute.
Crucially, Dublin ended the half on the front foot with Kilkenny kicking two scores from play while Costello's second of the evening and a brilliantly struck Ivory '45' ensured the Dubs a deserved six-point (0-11 to 0-5) interval lead.
A Kildare goal upon the restart may have offered hope of an unlikely comeback but it never materialised as Dublin refused to cede the initiative and kicked five successive points in the opening 10 minutes to turn the supposed contest into a procession.
Paul Mannion's opening minute point confirmed all six Dublin forwards' names on the scoresheet with Ivory, Campbell, Kilkenny and an inspirational score from the outstanding Jack McCaffrey helping Dublin to an unassailable 11-point lead.
Within that early scoring spree, Kilkenny registered Dublin's first wide of the evening on 32 minutes with a wides tally of just four indicative of the hosts' economy.
Kildare responded gamely through points by Fergal Conway and Tony Gibbons but their campaign was effectively curtailed in the 41st minute when Ivory raced clear to feed Mannion and the Kilmacud Crokes boy calmly slotted home from eight metres.
McCaffrey, alongside Eric Lowndes, in particular gave Dublin the platform to keep their opponents pinned back.
Kildare gained an element of respectability with some late points as Dublin concentrated on the non-concession of goals and Ivory put away his fifth score of the night.
SCORERS - Dublin: C Kilkenny 0-11 (3f), G Ivory 0-5 (1 '45'), P Mannion 1-1, C Costello 0-3, D Campbell 0-2, S Fulham, J McCaffrey 0-1 each. Kildare: N Kelly 0-3 (2f), B Coffey 0-2 (2f), D Duke, P Brophy, T Gibbons, F Conway, D King, D Hyland 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: R O'Hanlon; G Hannigan, R McDaid, R Real; J McCaffrey, J Small, E Lowndes; P O'Higgins, E Ó Conghaile; G Ivory, D Campbell, C Costello; P Mannion, C Kilkenny, S Fulham. Subs: D Byrne for Small (b-s 9-16), A O'Brien for Fulham (53), C Meaney for Costello (54), D Byrne for Real (56), R Mullins for Kilkenny (58), M Mac Donncha for Ó Conghaile (59).
KILDARE: S McNamara; B Egan, S O'Hagan, S Higgins; D Duke, J Murray, D Hyland; G Farrell, D Flynn; P Brophy, F Conway, B Coffey; T Gibbons, N Kelly, D King. Subs: T O'Connell for Duke (b-s 9-15), C Brady for Coffey (35), T O'Connell for Flynn (43), S Christianson for Farrell (46), G Keegan for King (49), E Ralph for Murray (54).
REF: D Maher (Westmeath).