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Leinster U21 Championship SF Dublin 4-15 Westmeath 1-09

posted Mar 22, 2012, 6:10 AM by RahenyGAA Juvenile

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.
DUBLIN - R O’Flaherty; M Concarr, K O’Brien, J Smith; J Kelly, L Fletcher, J McCaffrey; E O Conghaile, C Walsh; M Schutte, G Sweeney, C Reddin; P Ryan, C Kilkenny, P Hudson. Subs: P O’Higgins for O Conghaile (inj 17), S George for Concarr (23), Concarr for Smith (ht), G Seaver for Walsh (inj ht), P Maguire for Ryan (inj 45).
WESTMEATH - E Carbery; K Sheridan, D Gavin, S Gilmore; K Maguire, B Moran, D Malynn; T English, J Heslin; G Egan, K Reilly, J Gonoud; S Daly, A Stone, C McCormack. Subs: C Boyle for Gonoud (42), E Boland for Malynn (54), E Gorman for Stone (54), P Fennell for Reilly (54).
REF - J Hickey (Carlow).
ATT: 1,000 (estimated).


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