Friday 24 November 2017

Na Fianna 'cud have the edge

Na Fianna will hope to retain their Dublin U21 'A' Football Championship title when they face Kilmacud Crokes in their eagerly anticipated rematch at Chanel College tomorrow (12.30).

The Glasnevin men, inspired by Dublin minor Conor McHugh, narrowly prevailed in last year's decider against Kilmacud and arguably look a stronger proposition on this occasion with greater depth added to their panel over the intervening 12 months.

Given their workload over the year, McHugh and fellow All-Ireland winner Emile Mullan have been used sporadically by team manager Pillar Caffrey with the former reflecting his influence in the semi-final when kicking 0-5 following his second-half introduction against Ballyboden St Enda's.

That 0-15 to 2-8 victory over Boden was far more comfortable than the final scoreline would suggest with Na Fianna dominating first-phase possession through a strong midfield pairing of JJ Martin and Carl O'Connor.


Niall McGovern has also been central to his side's progression with some starring displays from centre-back while Fergal Breathnach continues to forage intelligently in attack, creating a bounty of chances for a talented inside-forward line of Neil Flannery, Adam Caffrey and Eoghan Neville.

Whether Breathnach is allowed to influence the game will depend largely on how well Mark O'Dwyer can shackle his direct opponent with his fellow half-backs Michael Durcan and Jack Doughan impressing in Crokes' 0-10 to 0-5 semi-final win over Clontarf last weekend.

Given that possession may be limited to a degree, Kilmacud will require a high return from their forward line with the scoring prowess of Shane Horan, Alex Mulvey and Paul Mannion central to their chances.

Dillon Mulligan will look to replicate Breathnach's role for Kilmacud and if the dual player can maintain his excellent form to date, then the Stillorgan men could atone for last year's disappointment.

However, the form of Na Fianna appears more compelling and they possess the greater depth and experience to record their second successive title with three to four points to spare.

Verdict: Na FIANNA

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