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Thursday 14 December 2017

Old heads on young shoulders a major boost for Dublin

reaction: leinster u21 fc SEMI-FINAL

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell has paid tribute to the influence of his younger panellists after his side confirmed their place in the EirGrid Leinster Under 21 Football Championship Final.

Last Wednesday's 2-15 to 3-7 success against Longford has ensured the Dubs remain well placed to repeat their provincial success of twelve months ago with Kildare their opponents in Páirc Tailteann, Navan on Thursday week.

"Our new players from last year's minor team have been able to exert a great influence on our two games so far and that is very pleasing from a management perspective," said Farrell.

"We have been able to include four starters from last year's minor team and they have all equipped themselves well with Aaron Byrne also making an impact when he came on as a substitute," he added.

Certainly, Eoin Murchan, Andrew Foley, Shane Clayton and Colm Basquel can feel justifiably pleased with the impact that they have made in those successive wins over Laois and Longford.

The fact that Basquel was the only player from that aforementioned quartet to be replaced against Longford, and that in the final minute after chipping in with 1-1, reflects positively on both the skill and application that they bring to the panel.

"It is great to see how well they have settled into the panel and how comfortable they seem at this level," said Farrell.

"It shows that we're not too reliant on our All-Ireland Minor winning team of 2012 and that is encouraging.

"The lads that have come into the panel this year have shown the talent to adapt and the composure needed in tight matches such as last Wednesdays.

"Killian O'Gara, who is relatively new to intercounty football, was another player who performed well for us.

"He has areas that he needs to improve on his game and it is uncharted territory for him but he can be pleased with how he has done so far.

"When the game needed to be won, they played a massive part in getting us over the line and that can only be a positive not only for us but in their playing careers from this point," added the 1995 All-Ireland winner.

That Dublin were pushed all the way by a talented Longford team was of little surprise to Farrell, given the tightness of previous encounters between the counties.

Another competitive and challenging tussle won't do Dublin any harm with Kildare awaiting them in nine days time and Farrell acknowledges the need for improvement if Dublin are to maintain their ambitions of replicating last year's glory.

"We said beforehand the game how much we respected the Longford challenge and that we expected a very difficult match.

"We knew that they are a decent side and although it was pleasing to get the win and qualify for the final, we still know that there are plenty of areas to improve on.

"We finished the game strongly, as we did against Laois but we will need to improve again if we're to be successful on Thursday week," added the Na Fianna clubman.

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