herald

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Dubs have the talent to confirm semi spot

Leinster MHC, Wexford v Dublin, Enniscorthy (Today, 2.00)

Luke Swan was influential against Offaly
Luke Swan was influential against Offaly

Dublin will look to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship when they meet Wexford in their Tier 1 clash at Bellefield, Enniscorthy this afternoon.

Both teams boast similar enough records as they have secured a win over Offaly while suffering a narrow loss to Kilkenny, with today's winner guaranteed of a berth in the last four.

The Dubs look to have a fair degree of momentum behind them following last week's relatively comfortable 1-23 to 1-10 win over Offaly, where they took control of matters after the break to pull away from their limited opponents.

The free-taking of Charlie Keher proved vital on that occasion, especially in the opening half where Dublin struggled for fluency in attack while Ben McSweeney assumed the free-taking duties in the final quarter to impeccable effect.

McSweeney enjoyed a hugely influential hour for Mike Connolly's charges, offering a valuable outlet from puck-outs from wing-forward in addition to landing three superb points from play. A similarly positive performance from the St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh man will be required this afternoon against a solid Wexford side.

The Model County showed all their famed battling qualities when pushing Kilkenny all the way seven days ago, overcoming the first-half dismissal of corner-back Dylan Whelan and a seemingly hopeless position at half-time to eventually succumb by 3-13 to 2-15 to their neighbours.

AJ Redmond scored seven points that day and will need close minding from a Dublin defence that has impressed through the contributions of both Davy Crowe and Tommy O'Brien in their full-back line.

Further up the field, Dublin's midfield has shown glimpses of their obvious potential, with the industrious Colm Walsh improving as the contest evolved last Saturday, but it was no coincidence that they managed to gain a stranglehold on matters around the middle third against Offaly once Luke Swan was redeployed from full-forward to a more withdrawn role.

Of course, that didn't prevent the Castleknock dual player from scoring Dublin's goal from a trademark burst from deep and if he can keep up his record of raising green flags in each start, then Dublin could be well set for victory.

Of equal importance is the contribution up front from Dara Purcell, who marked his return to the starting line-up following injury with five points from play, with his ability to find space and accuracy off either side pivotal to Dublin's chances.

A defeat today would not be a disaster for Dublin but if momentum is to be maintained for tougher challenges ahead, a win would prove most welcome and they possess the players to achieve that goal.

Verdict: Dublin

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