Eirgrid Leinster U-21 Football Final
The final scoreline in this game did not do justice to a valiant and battling performance by Offaly against a much vaunted Dublin side.
Ultimately the difference between the sides came in front of goals. Up to the final quarter, Dublin were able to make space to convert almost all their scoring chances including a well taken goal from Liam Fox just after half-time. That goal proved to be the decisive score of the game as it left Offaly too big a mountain to climb.
Offaly had almost as many opportunities to score as Dublin throughout the game but they were unable to convert the majority of the chances that came their way as they were often closed down by the Dublin defence.
While the Leinster title eluded them, the Offaly players could not be faulted for the effort they put in on Wednesday evening in O'Moore Park. They went toe to toe with Dublin, worked and played hard for 60 minutes but unfortunately, it wasn't their night.
Dublin made the stronger start and were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after ten minutes with Shane Tierney and Ronan McEvoy getting Offaly's early points.
Offaly were getting plenty of possession but they struggling to break down the Dublin defence. Dublin were making better use of the ball when they had it and they went 0-5 to 0-2 up after 14 minutes and came close to a goal soon after but the ball ended up in the side netting thanks to pressure being applied by goalkeeper Barry Rohan. Dublin did point the resulting '45 through Aaron Byrne but Shane Tierney replied with a spectacular point that sailed over the bar in O'Moore Park.
Dublin continued to score almost every time they crossed halfway with Tom Fox hitting the target. At the other end Offaly were wasting attacking opportunities hitting four wides either side of another fine Shane Tierney point to leave the score at Offaly 0-4 Dublin 0-7 after 24 minutes.
Offaly were battling for every ball and putting Dublin under pressure at every opportunity but Dublin continued to turn chances into scores and they moved 0-8 to 0-4 ahead after 25 minutes.
Offaly were pressing high up the field and were winning more than their fair share of the ball in midfield. From once such attack, Jordan Hayes fired over a point to reduce the gap to three.
On the half hour mark, Eoin Murchan extended the lead to four for Dublin and Con O'Callaghan, who had been the focal point for most of Dublin's attacks, made the lead five a minute later to leave Dublin with a 0-10 to 0-5 lead at the break.
O'Callaghan opened the scoring for the second-half with another free and that was followed soon after by a goal from Tom Fox with O'Callaghan playing a key part.
Offaly were struggling to get out of their half as Dublin pressed high up the field and they extended their lead to 1-12 to 0-5 after 38 minutes.
Shane Tierney hit Offaly's first point of the second-half from a free after 42 minutes their next three attacks came to nothing as the Dublin defence proved very difficult to break down.
Two further frees from Jordan Hayes made it Dublin 1-12 Offaly 0-8 after 49 minutes as the Faithful county made a determined effort to get back into the game.
Unfortunately for Offaly, they couldn't keep the scores coming and Con O Callaghan eventually put Dublin nine ahead with two points in quick succession.
To add insult to injury, Dublin rounded off the game with a second goal with Stephen Smith finding the net with almost the last kick of the game.
Scorers: Aaron Byrne 0-4, Con O’Callaghan 0-4 (0-2f), Stephen Smith 1-0, Tom Fox 1-2, Chris Sallier 0-1, Glenn O’Reilly 0-2, Eoin Murchan 0-1.
Team: Evan Comerford; Declan Monaghan, Sean McMahon, Darren Byrne; Eoin Murchan, Cillian O’Shea, Cian Murphy; Andy Foley, Brian Howard; Tom Fox, Dan O’Brien, Aaron Byrne; Chris Sallier, Con O’Callaghan, Glenn O’Reilly. Subs: Stephen Smith for Sallier (40mins), Sean Bugler for O’Brien (43mins), Darren Gavin for Fox (43mins), Aaron Elliot for O’Reilly (51mins), Andrew McGowan for Monaghan (56mins)
Scorers: Shane Tierney 0-4 (0-1f), Jordan Hayes 0-3 (0-2f), Patrick Dunican 0-1
Team: Barry Rohan (Shannonbridge); Clint Horan (Clodiagh Gaels), David Dempsey (Ballycommon), Colm Doyle (Clara); Adam Mahon (Edenderry), Carl Stewart (Clara), PJ Daly (Cappincur); James Lalor (Raheen), Jordan Hayes (Edenderry); Ciarán Farrell (Edenderry), Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks), Jack Walsh (Gracefield); Ronan McEvoy (Shannonbridge); Ruairi McNamee (Rhode); Shane Tierney (Daingean). Subs: Kyle Higgins for Daly (41mins); Jake Clancy for Dunican (48mins); Carl Stewart for Daly (58mins)
Referee: David Hickey (Carlow)
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