Rebels await in final as Dublin pass Tribe test
AI Under 20 FC
Dublin will hope to put the finishing touches to a hugely impressive campaign to date when they meet Cork in their Eirgrid All-Ireland Under-20 Football Championship final in Portlaoise next Saturday afternoon (4.00).
The Dubs arrive at the final in rude health following their 2-14 to 1-10 semi-final victory over Galway in Longford last Saturday as they seized control from the outset thanks to a brace of Ciaran Archer goals inside the opening six minutes.
To their credit, Galway fought back impressively in the third quarter, restoring parity thanks to a sequence of five unanswered points. But Dublin's greater composure proved telling in the final quarter as they eased home with a fair degree of comfort.
"I thought that it was generally a very solid performance from the lads," said Dublin manager Tom Gray.
"We got a fantastic start, which allowed us to settle and it's something that we've been able to do in all of our games so far.
"We weren't too concerned with how the start of the second-half went as in an All-Ireland semi-final, there are always going to be periods when you come under pressure and I thought that the lads coped well when Galway got on top during that period.
"We were able to ride that storm out and I was very pleased with how the players managed that final 20 minutes," added the Na Fianna clubman.
One factor that has helped Gray to date in terms of team selection has been the lack of injuries collected by his team.
With the games coming thick and fast, Dublin have been able to call upon the same starting line-up in their wins over Longford, Wexford, Laois and Galway, giving the team a greater level of cohesion as a result.
They will be given a huge test next weekend, however, against a Cork team that fought back superbly to edge Tyrone by 2-16 to 1-17 in Tullamore on Sunday with Gray expecting a massive challenge for his team in four days' time.
"We have been very lucky on the injuries front and in fairness, we have an excellent back-room team who have done great work in that regard.
"We know that we will have our work cut out as Cork are a formidable outfit who have been racking up massive scores on the way to the final.
"It's a fairly tight schedule and in an ideal world, you'd like a bit more time between games to work on things.
"We played them during the development league and I was very impressed with them, but it's great to be in the final and it's a match that we are all really looking for ward to," said Gray.