AFL2 PROMOTIONAL FINAL v Round Towers (c) on Sunday 11am.
Please note that venue has changed to Monastery Road.
Raheny GAA Senior football play Round Towers Sun 11am Monastery Rd, Clondalkin in Playoff Final for Promotion to Div 1.
Please support well. Come on the parish!
Congratulations to AFL5 on winning the Conlon Cup Raheny 1-10 to 0-09 Ballyboden St Endas. Well done to all the lads involved and to the management team Paul McLoughlin & Brian Curtis.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT’S/ER 1-11 RAHENY 1-8
It’s said that a good start is half the battle and so it proved to be as Plunkett’s booked their spot in Round 4 of the Dublin SFC after being pushed all the way by Raheny at Parnell Park on Wednesday night.
Ciarán Whelan’s young side, missing 4/5 regular starting players,several of whom were attending the wedding of team mate Donal Ryan, put in a sterling second half but ultimately it was their slow start which left them with a bit too much to do if they were going to perform a giant-killing act.
Plunkett’s had 1-5 on the board inside the opening ten minutes and it was an advantage they never relinquished despite an heroic effort by their opponents.
Declan Lally scored Plunkett’s first half goal as the Navan Road men led 1-6 to 0-4 after a tactical change within their ranks allowed Raheny to get a foothold in the game and get back into it following the early onslaught.
Raheny pressed strongly in the second half with their goal coming from a David Henry penalty rebound – his initial effort being brilliantly saved by Philip Brogan, following a foul by Paul Brogan on Gavin Ivory who looked certain to find the net.
But when he was needed most Bernard Brogan popped up with an inspired late point to see his side to victory. Raheny must take their chances in Round 3.
SCORERS - St Oliver Plunkett’s/ER: D Lally 1-1, B Brogan 0-4 (2f), C Walsh 0-3, G Smith 0-2 (1f), A Brogan 0-1. Raheny: D Henry 1-4 (0-3f), G Ivory 0-2, E Keogh, E Delaney 0-1 each.
In his latest column in the Evening Herald former Dublin footballer, Ciaran Whelan, called for a radicial overhaul of the Gaelic football seasons as we know it. He argues that the Championship structure is not maximising the potential of Gaelic games and that for too long the format of the Championship structure has been restricted by the boundaries of history, tradition and geographical divide. Here http://www.hill16.ie posts Ciaran’s blueprint for change. If you wish to comment on the subject matter email email@example.com
The 2012 All-Ireland Football Championship is on the horizon and in fact for those of you who missed it, it commenced last Sunday with Sligo’s visit to the Big Apple to take on New York winning out with ease.
But, it’s on Sunday week when the real business will begin in earnest as all the contenders for Sam Maguire embark on the road to victory.
Since Liam O’Neill has taken over the reins of the GAA presidency he has publicly declared that the GAA faces a significant challenge this summer from other sporting codes and there are plans in place to invest heavily in the marketing of Gaelic games throughout this summer.
He also raised concerns about the standard of Gaelic football and labelled some aspects of the modern game as “boring” and has asked a committee chaired by Eugene McGee to carry out a detailed analysis of the game.
Yes, it hard to argue against the fact that there are aspects of the game that need to come under review but in my opinion it’s the structure of the Gaelic football championship rather than the quality of football that has become ” boring”.
The provincial championships have gone stale with repetitive fixtures every year that do not carry wider appeal for the GAA neutral anymore.
For too long we have been hostage to tradition, history and geographical divide.
The time has come for some innovative thinking to restructure the championship in order to to inject fresh impetus into it and as a powerful sporting and cultural association the GAA now needs a leader with a brave vision for change.
Hopefully Liam O’Neill and Ard Stiúrthóir Pádraic Duffy have the vision, bravery, determination and nous to drive such radical change.
Radical surgery is required - a new roadmap and a clear vision for the future.
Whilst it is widely accepted that any change comes with pros and cons, I am outlining my proposal for a restructured League and Championship.
Both the League and Championship should have more than just a symbiotic relationship - they should be directly linked to each other.
Such an interconnection would broaden the importance and appeal of early season games providing a ‘level playing field’ to all competing teams.
Firstly, abandon the National Leagues as they are curently constituted and replace them with Conference style Leagues (Eastern, Southern, Northern, Western Conferences based primarily but not totally on current provincial divides and run over an eight -week period (February/March).
However, this is no act of self-serving gerrymandering - it’s a redrawing of the traditional boundaries for the good of the game and to put it on a stronger footing in the very challenging sporting environment that we now live.
In order to split the teams into four groups of eight teams, a redrawing of the provincial boundaries is required.
London and Wexford will join the Southern Conference and Westmeath, Donegal and Longford will join the Western. Kilkenny may be included, if there is any ambition at county board level to develop football any time in the future.
After establishing these new groupings a league - sponsored by Allianz - would be contested under the control of the existing provincial councils and with the support and marketing backing of Croke Park.
For illustrative purposes the groupings would be as detailed below:
EASTERN CONFERENCE: Dublin (1), Kildare (1), Louth (2), Meath (2), Carlow (2), Wicklow, Laois, Offaly.
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE: Cork (1), Kerry (1), Waterford (2), Wexford (2), Limerick (2), Clare, Tipperary, London.
WESTERN CONFERENCE: Galway (1), Mayo (1), Longford (2), Sligo (2), Donegal (2), Leitrim, Roscommon, Westmeath.
NORTHERN CONFERENCE: Tyrone (1), Armagh (1), Fermanagh (2), Derry (2), Down (2), Monaghan, Cavan, Antrim.
NB: Teams above allocated/seeded (eg (1) and (2) in brackets) for reference and illustration only - explained below.
All Allianz Conference Leagues would be run on a round-robin basis over an eight-week period with counties playing four games on Saturdays or Sundays and three games (where possible) played midweek under floodlights.
Obviously this would require some counties to upgrade their county grounds to include modern floodlighting - a lot of counties have already undertaken such development.
This initiative will free up additional weekends early in the calendar for clubs games and the U21 Championship.
The top two counties in each Conference qualify for their Conference final to be played on the first weekend in April with the existing provincial cups awarded to the winners.
The top five teams in each league (20 counties) qualify seeded (1) or (2) depending on their finishing positions for the All-Ireland Championship Group Stages. Finalists from each Conference League would be seeded (1) with the three other qualifiers seeded (2).
The bottom three teams in each of the four Conferences (12 counties) proceed to an open draw All-Ireland ‘B’ Championship Group Stage.
ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIP: RACE FOR SAM
The 20 qualifying counties from the Conferences are entered into an open draw - Four groups with five teams in each group.
When doing the draw the top 8 (Seeded 1 ie first and second in each of February/March Conference Leagues) counties go into one pot with the other 12 counties (Seeded 2) into the other pot - there will be two seeded 1 counties in each group.
Again for illustrative purposes see below:
GROUP A: Kildare (1), Kerry (1), Sligo (2), Limerick (2), Fermanagh (2).
GROUP B: Dublin (1), Galway (1), Meath (2), Down (2), Waterford (2).
GROUP C: Cork (1), Tyrone (1), Derry (2), Louth (2), Longford (2).
GROUP D: Mayo (1), Armagh (1), Donegal (2), Wexford (2), Carlow (2).
Each county plays four matches on a round-robin basis commencing at the beginning of May with group games taking place every two weeks and on alternative weekends allowing for four championship matches every weekend played on Saturday and Sundays ie two matches in both Group A and B and two matches in both Group C and D on alternative weekends with one resting team in each group
The administrative body for this competition and these games would be Croke Park and the responsibility for marketing etc lies with central powers and the competition’s multi-sponsors.
This system allows for four championship games each weekend to be played over Saturdays and Sundays and every team will have four championship matches over a ten-week period from May to mid-July.
The top team in each group qualifies for the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. The teams in second and third place are drawn against each other to play for an All-Ireland quarter- final berth.
To assist with framing the developing picture of this Championship we will go with the following examples to fill out the counties to make it to the last-eight in the race for the Sam Maguire.
(Play-offs for teams finishing second and third in each Group)
Galway v Armagh; Winner: Galway.
Wexford v Cork; Winner: Cork.
Meath v Kildare; Winner: Kildare.
Sligo v Derry; Winner: Derry.
So these winners (Galway, Cork, Kildare, Derry) progress to the quarter-final where the group winners (Dublin, Kerry, Mayo, Tyrone) away on the opposite side of the draw.
We will continue with our ‘notional’ championship and the quarrter-final draw throws up the following pairings: Dublin v Galway; Kerry v Cork; Mayo v Kildare; Tyrone v Derry.
We’ve gone with Dublin, Cork, Kildare and Tyrone as the winners meaning the semi-finals will see Dublin v Cork; Kildare v Tyrone coming face-to-face.
To complete the picture the magic results predictor says Cork and Kildare will meet in the All-Ireland SFC final - you can ask Larry Tompkins, Shay Fahy or even Brian Murphy who captures Sam!
ALL-IRELAND ‘B’ CHAMPIONSHIP
This championship would consist of the 12 counites that finished in the bottom three positions in the four Conference League system.
The 12 counties would be split into two groups of six and play a round-robin system with five championship games each.
GROUP 1: Wicklow, London, Leitrim, Antrim, Tipperary, Cavan.
GROUP 2: Roscommon, Monaghan, Westmeath, Clare, Laois, Offaly.
The top county in each group qualifies for the All-Ireland semi-final. The teams in second and third place are drawn against each other to play for a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals.
As with earlier we will use notional results to illustrate.
Round of Qualifiers (second v third): Laois v Cavan; Roscommon v Tipperary.
All Ireland semi-finals: Monaghan v Laois; Wicklow v Roscommon.
All-Ireland Final: Roscommon v Laois.
The winners of the ‘B’ championship get a ‘team holiday’ to play New York in October.
REASONS FOR CHANGE
* A new format would revitalise the image of Gaelic Games making it more marketable and attractive to the general public.
* The new format would also expand the Gaelic football season with the every game in both competitions proving to be important to the eventual outcome.
This format will also keep the profile of the Gaelic games in the shop window for a longer period of time and help to compete with the profile of other sporting codes.
* The existing provincial competitions and powers of their councils would be retained, albeit in a new, more exciting format.
* All games in both championships (Race for Sam and ‘B’) would be better balanced competitively and the format should eradicate one-sided fixtures and demoralising defeats for some weaker counties.
* It avoids repetition of annual fixtures between the same counties, which since the introduction of the backdoor system have clearly lost the intensity of proper championship football.
* All fixtures would be more evenly spread over the summer months with an even amount of teams in action each weekend rather than the existing imbalance that exists at the present time where teams in Munster can be idle for very lengthy tracts of the summer.
* The general excitement and anticipation of an annual open draw for the group stages would keep the format fresh every year.
The GAA could go one step further and replicate the format from the Heineken Cup by offering bonus points for three goals scored or for the margin of victory. This may assist in negating overly defensive tactics and encourage a more attacking brand of football.
* There is a guarantee of two home championship games for all counties which will help boost local economies and individual county board coffers during the summer months.
* There would be a reduction in costs associated with travel during the Conference Leagues, as a lot of fixtures would be shorter in terms of mileage for the travelling counties.
* With recent changes to cultures and habits, the introduction of midweek games under lights during the Conference Leagues should attract bigger crowds and therefore an increase in revenue.
* The new format would allow for greater structure to the club season as Conference League and Championship fixtures could be set well in advance.
For the most part County Boards would no longer have to plan club fixtures around the fortunes of the county team awaiting to see if they remain in their provincial competitions or have to go travel the current backdoor route.
With no replays in group stages and a total of four games over ten weeks, some early rounds of club county championships could be played during the summer months helping to complete the club season within the calendar year.
ISSUES ARISING OUT OF NEW FORMAT
* The Conference Leagues would be weighted in favour of the stronger teams and chances of a breakthrough by a weaker team would be reduced.
Victories in recent years like Sligo and Leitrim in Connacht or Westmeath and Laois in Leinster cannot be underestimated in terms of their achievements and what it has done for these counties.
However, can the GAA afford to wait around once every generation, at best, for one of these momentous occasions?
* With the season commencing in February, all senior managers will require full access to their players for all conference and championship games.
This could impact the U21 championship in its current format and create difficulties for most counties.
Consideration may have to be given to amalgamating the Minor and U21 championships into one U19 All-Ireland competition to run concurrent with the Senior All-Ireland Championship.
* The Sigerson and the latter stages of the club championships would have to be moved back to the calendar year concluding in late November or early December.
* There would be the issue of financial loss to players who would require time off work to prepare for midweek confernce games and these costs would need to covered by the GAA in order to increase the profile of the games.
* There is some potential for one-sided outcomes in the Conference Leagues.
However, every county deserves the chance to compete for the top prize and achieving qualification to the All-Ireland Championship (Sam Maguire) will be an incentive and a measure of progress for the weaker counties
Radical change in any organisation can be slow and will always present its own problems.
The GAA has shown in it’s past that any change to core values and principles can sometimes take considerable time and heated debate.
However, change is achievable with the right individuals at the helm. Who would have ever envisaged the playing of soccer and rugby in Croke Park ten or 20 years ago.
As someone who played championship football for many years pre and post backdoor system, the intensity of the provincial championships are dead on their feet.
The GAA can no longer rely on a season that lasts from August to September only and the must begin to open the doors to change.
Here’s hoping .... let the debate begin!
DUBLIN 2-12 ROSCOMMON 0-11
The Dublin U21Footballers, with 3 Raheny players on the panel ( Eoin Keogh,David Shatwell and Paddy O'Higgins ) finished like a freight train to capture the Cadbury All-Ireland U21FC final at O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s victory was the Dubs third Clarke Cup success as Jim Gavin became the first Dublin manager to lead the county to two All-Ireland glories - having managed the team in 2010.
Dublin led 1-5 to 0-6 at the interval thanks in chief to the clinical accuracy of Paul Hudson. Indeed it was the Thomas Davis sniper whose goal in first half added time that proved to be the only goal of the first half after he skilfully jab-lifted the ball before rifling to the roof of the Roscommon net.
The goal arrived in the 32nd minute when John Kelly’s delivery was broken down by Ciaran Kilkenny and Hudson showed terrific guile to find the net.
The Dubs could really have held a stronger advantage failed to convert possession into scores and were guilty not combining to telling effect up front as the Rossies maximised on territory and possession for the first 30 minutes.
Roscommon threw caution to the wind on the restart and were rewarded with four points without reply as the lively Donie Smith (two), Cian Connolly and Colin Compton were all on target.
But when his side need his most Emmet O Conghaile regained a foothold for the Dubs at centrefield while the introduction of Paddy O’Higgins, like nearly all the substitutions with Gerry Seaver kicking one superb point, helped to turn the balance of power the way of Gavin’s men in a frenetic second half while at the back the likes of team captain, Kevin O’Brien, and Sean George kepth their opponents at bay with some heroic defending.
Now on the front foot Dublin began to open up Roscommon with some direct running from the likes of Gary Sweeney and sub Harry Dawson and over the concluding ten minutes Dublin hit 1-6 without reply as they turned on the turboes to finally shake off a very committed Roscommon side.
Ciaran Kilkenny put in an excellent last ten minutes while centre-back, John Kelly’s, points really summed up the ‘never say die’ attitude of the Dublin team as they stretched themselves to the limit to capture victory.
Deep in injury time, Paul Mannion, raised Dublin’s second green flag after being denied at the original attempt to add All-Ireland glory to their provincial success.
This is a second All Ireland medal at this grade for Eoin Keogh, who was also part of the successful 2010 panel.
SCORERS – Dublin: P Hudson 1-4, C Kilkenny 0-4 (0-1f), P Mannion 1-0, P Ryan, J Kelly, G Seaver, H Dawson 0-1 each. Roscommon: D Smith 0-4 (0-2f), C Compton 0-3 (0-1f), D Keane, C Connolly 0-2 each.
DUBLIN 3-11 CORK 0-14
Dublin booked their spot in the Cadbury All-Ireland U21FC final in impressive style when defeating Cork in Saturday afternoon’s semi-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Philly Ryan was the scorer-in-chief for the Dubs as his two first half goals paved the way for victory and a meeting with Roscommon (victors over Cavan) in two weeks’ time.
However, Dublin did not make the most electric of starts as they trailed 0-1 to 0-5 inside 12 minutes before points from Gary Sweeney and Danny Byrne inject greater life into their play.
Ryan’s first goal came from the penalty spot in the 15th minute and eight minutes from time Sweeney, Byrne and Ryan combined to telling effect for the St Brigid’s man to raise his second green flag as Dublin entered the break 2-5 to 0-7 to the good.
Two minutes into the second half a very economical Dublin side struck for their third goal when the pacey Jack McCaffrey showed his instinct for moving forward from wing-back at the right time as he cooly slotted home past Sean Mellet from close range following unselfish play from Sweeney and Ryan to leave the Rebels seven points in arrears (3-5 to 0-7).
By the 41st minute points from Paul Hudson and Ciaran Kilkenny had Dublin further in front with the likes of Ciaran Reddin contributing handsomely to the team effort.
Cork did enjoy periods of pressure but on every occasion the Dublin defence dealt very capably with the threat and successfully counter-attacked to maintain their lead until the conclusion.
SCORERS - Dublin: P Ryan 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1 ‘45’), J McCaffrey 1-0, P Hudson, E O Conghaile 0-2 each, D Byrne, G Sweeney, C Kilkenny, P Maguire 0-1 each. Cork: B Hurley 0-5 (0-4f), K Hallissey (0-2f), J O’Rourke, L Connolly (0-1 ‘45’) 0-2 each, D Og Hodnett, M Sugrue, D McEoin (0-1f) 0-1 each.
DUBLIN - JB Carthy; K O’Brien, S George, M Concarr; L Fletcher, J Kelly, J McCaffrey; E Ó Conghaile, C Reddin; M Schutte, D Byrne, G Sweeney; P Hudson, P Ryan, C Kilkenny. Subs: P Maguire for Byrne (37 mins), G Seaver for Schutte (45), P O’Higgins for Reddin (46), H Dawson for Hudson (55), E Keogh for Sweeney (56).
CORK - S Mellet; A Cronin, D Cahalane, D O’Donovan; J Wall, T Clancy, J Cronin; R Deane, E Healy; K Hallissey, M Sugrue, J O’Rourke; L Connolly, B Hurley, D Óg Hodnett. Subs: D McEoin for Hallissey (ht), C O’Sullivan for Wall (40), B O’Driscoll for Healy (51), A Cadogan for Sugrue (55).
REF - M Higgins (Fermanagh).
Match Report Sat 21/4/2012.
Saturday was another good day at the office for the U14's. Whilst parents were packing bags in Tesco's and Nolan's, raising much need funds for Feile, the team was putting in a confident performance against a determined Whitehall Colmchilles.
Raheny led from the start and, although Whitehall staged a late comeback, Raheny's superior class and skill ultimately proved too much for the hosts and Raheny emerged victorious by a margin of 6 points. 2-10 to 1-07
Every player performed admirably to ensure that, so far this year, the Raheny U14's remain unbeaten in their league.
Raheny 1-12 Na Fianna 0-10
This Good Friday challenge game proved to be a very useful exercise for the thus far unbeaten Senior Footballers. It was a chance to test themselves against a quality team, also unbeaten this year in division one.
Although the performance of the team proved impressive on the day for both management and the many supporters that turned up, it was the performance of some of the players who have so far been on the fringe of the team that will give Whelo and his management team most satisfaction. Players such as Ger Coady, Seán Byrne, Paddy O'Higgins and Davey Carroll all performed well and will give serious selection headaches for the management team ahead of their next Division two league game against Skerries out in Skerries on Sunday week. This healthy competition for places has been a key ingredient in the team's displays to date and will hopefully keep the marroon machine rolling in the right direction.
Another challenge game against St Judes next Monday evening at 6.45 in St Annes, also a tough division one team should provide further good preparation ahead of both the Skerries league game and the senior championship. Everyone involved with the team also greatly appreciates the supporters that have turned up to cheer on the team so far and will continue to welcome all further support for both home and away games throughout the year.
Ciaran Kilkenny tallied up 1-7 as Dublin claimed their third Cadbury Leinster Under-21 Football Championship title in four years at Pairc Tailteann tonight.
Dublin registered 15 wides over the course of the provincial decider, but impressed when it mattered most while leading right from the off.
Dublin burst out of the blocks early on, putting the ball in the Louth net on two occasions inside the opening two-and-a-half minutes.
After a minute Luke Fletcher sent a high ball from a sideline kick in on top of the Dublin full-forward line, with the talented Kilkenny gathering to slot home the first goal.
Philly Ryan had a palmed goal effort disallowed 45 seconds later by match referee Fergal Kelly following an infringement.
Louth bounced back with three of the next four points as William Woods, Cathal Bellew and Ben Rogan all found the target.
Dublin kicked four unanswered points before the interval, with Kilkenny (0-2), Jack McCaffrey and Paul Hudson splitting the posts during a spell of dominance.
Indeed, the Metropolitans could have been further ahead, but for some excellent marshalling defending by the Louth rearguard.
A 26th minute move saw McCaffrey feed the inrushing Hudson, but the Thomas Davis clubman was denied by a fine block from Louth goalkeeper Joe Flanagan.
In the scramble for possession that ensued McCaffrey claimed the ball and quickly fired over the bar to give the Metropolitans a 1-6 to 0-4 lead.
At the opposite end a Barry Hamilton effort finished safely in the hands of Dublin goalkeeper John Brian Carthy, but Louth's scoring opportunities were rare at this stage.
The Wee County defence continued to come under pressure, Although the Philip Ryan was put through one on one with Flanagan in the 30th minute, again the O'Raghallaighs net minder pulled off a superb save.
Hudson rounded off the half with his second point to ensure a 1-7 to 0-4 interval lead for the Dubs.
Louth cut the deficit to five points on the resumption, outscoring their opponents by two points to one with Rogan and Barry Hamilton taking scores.
However, wind-assisted Dublin opened up the Louth defence over the remainder of the third quarter. Kilkenny knocked over three points, including two from play, to move the scoreline out to 1-11 to 0-6.
Dublin continued to force the issue in the closing stages, and Kilkenny, Mark Schutte and substitutes Gerry Seaver and Harry Dawson all contributed scores.
Rogan notched a consolation score, his fourth point ending a 20-minute scoreless spell for Louth.
But Dublin were firmly on course for their ninth Leinster title with a 62nd minute strike from Seaver sealing am 11-point win. Afterwards, Dublin captain Kevin O'Brien accepted the cup from Leinster GAA Chairman Martin Skelly.
Scorers - Dublin: C Kilkenny 1-7 (0-1f), M Schutte, P Hudson, G Seaver 0-2 each, J McCaffrey, G Sweeney, H Dawson 0-1 each
Louth: B Rogan 0-4 (0-4f), C Bellew, R Moore, W Woods, B Hamilton 0-1 each
DUBLIN: JB Carty; S George, K O'Brien, M Concarr; J Kelly, L Fletcher, J McCaffrey; E Ó Conghaile, C Reddin; M Schutte, G Sweeney, D Byrne; P Hudson, C Kilkenny, P Ryan.
Subs used: H Dawson for Ryan, G Seaver for Byrne (both half-time), J Small for Concarr (46 mins), P Maguire for Hudson (50), E Keogh for Ó Conghaile (57);
LOUTH: J Flanagan; D Campbell, T Hand, C Murray; P Reilly, A Williams, M McKeown; S O'Hanlon, E O'Connor; C Bellew, R Moore, P Kirwan; B Rogan, W Woods, B Hamilton.
Subs used: B Berrill for Bellew (38 mins), E Duffy for Kirwan (43), S McMahon for Reilly (50), S Donnelly for Hamilton (57)
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).
Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/kilkenny-stars-in-dubs-leinster-u-21-success-546283.html#ixzz1rA0V4wCA
Dublin’s under-21 footballers progress to the Cadbury Leinster U21FC final in two weeks’ time after eventually running out convincing winners in this semi-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Wednesday night.
The final scoreline, however, hides the real story as Dublin led 2-2 to 0-0 after just six minutes yet with half-time approaching Westmeath had come with a storming run to draw level, 2-3 to 1-6, as the Dubs were letting water on board all over the park.
The loss of midfielder Emmet O Conghaile in the 17th minute saw Dublin lose their control at midfield and the midlanders took full advantage.
Crucially Dublin scored the concluding two points of the opening half with Ciaran Kilkenny displaying his impressive kicking technique to launch to fine points which settled Dublin’s nerves before the interval.
If Jim Gavin’s side ended the half on the up they began it in even better fashion. Inside the opening minute Mark Schutte bustled his way in along the endline before finishing low to the net and three minutes later wing-back Jack McCaffrey went on an unbelieveable run from 65 metres which culminated in his also raising a green flag when sliding the ball home from close range.
However, in between Westmeath found their rhythm and were swarming all over Dublin to great effect - their 18th minute goal a real fillip when Kelvin Reilly was in the right place at the right time to apply the finish after Ryan O’Flaherty had fumbled a point attempt from Ger Egan.
The opening to the second half was again nip and tuck with points from Reilly and John Heslin (both frees) either side of a Kilkenny point - leaving it 2-6 to 1-8 in Dublin’s favour by the 37th minute.
Then Dublin’s second surge of arrived by the battalion as they hit 2-8 without reply to emphatically crush Westmeath’s resistance.
If it was pace and running at Westmeath that created the goal chances in the early minutes of the game is was route one that did the trick in the second half as the Westmeath full-back line collapsed under aerial bombardment - if Ciaran Kilkenny did not win it himself Paul Hudson did or benefitted greatly from breaking ball.
Hudson showed good finisher’s instinct to find the net in the 39th minute after a high delivery from Ciaran Reddin broke in past the Westmeath full-back line. Four minutes later Kilkenny applied a stunning finish to a ball over the top from Philly Ryan when he half-volleyed to the net from 12 metres for Dublin to lead 4-7 to 1-8.
After their massive effort to get back in contention in the second half Westmeath were wilting and the Dubs took full advantage - holding their opponents scoreless for 22 minutes of the second period while tagging on the points to move out of sight.
Dublin face Louth in the provincial decider in two weeks’ time (Wednesday, April 4) in Navan.
SCORERS – Dublin: C Kilkenny 1-6 (0-1f), P Hudson 1-4 (0-1f), M Schutte, J McCaffrey 1-0 each, E O Conghaile, G Sweeney, C Reddin, G Seaver, P Maguire 0-1 each. Westmeath: K Reilly 1-1, J Heslin 0-3 (0-3f), C McCormack 0-2, S Daly, A Stone, D Gavin 0-1 each.