Dublin get a Cleere advantage


All-Ireland MFC Quarter-finals/Dublin 0-15 Fermanagh 0-5: Such is the depth of talent in their squad the Dublin minors had little trouble in overcoming Fermanagh in their quarter-final on Saturday at Pearse Park, Longford. Gavin Cummiskey reports.

After a litany of wides early on it looked like they could be in for a rough ride if the Ulster side could generate a period of sustained pressure. But Fermanagh failed to take into account the Cleere factor.

The deficit would have been far less had the best minor full back in the country not been prowling the Dublin square.

The positioning, fielding and general determination of Kian Cleere was a sight to behold.

Fermanagh rearranged their full-forward line three times but never managed to get any change out of the Dublin captain.

Such was their dominance, the game merely became an exercise for the Dublin forwards in transferring their lofty local reputations onto the national scene.

Mark Vaughan curled over an audacious 50-yard free after 22 minutes while his attacking comrades Kevin Leahy, Aidan Relihan and Barry Kennedy piled on the scores to leave them leading 0-8 to 0-3 at the break.

Just when Fermanagh thought they had identified the main attacking threats, John O'Hara weighed in with two more points, early in the second half, to further dampen their spirits.

When Ian Ward came up from wing back to land their 11th point the curtain began to descend on the northerners' season.

Midfielder Shane O'Neill was identified as the main threat to the Dublin defence but after some early jousting Brendan Phelan put the shackles on him, eventually forcing a move into the forwards.

All Dublin needed to round off the rout was a goal. Vaughan looked to have appeased the meagre support when John O'Brien sent him through on goal, but his attempted lob over Fergal Murphy was expertly tipped over for a point by the Fermanagh goalkeeper.

Leahy completed the scoring with his third point from play to leave Dublin looking forward to a semi-final against Cork, where they will undoubtedly receive a sterner test.

DUBLIN: K Walsh; Downes, K Cleere, W Lowry; D Reilly, G Brennan, I Ward (0-1); B Phelan, G O'Mara; K Leahy (0-3), B Kennedy (0-2), M Vaughan (0-3, two frees); A Relihan (0-3, one free) F Fitzgerald, J O'Hara (0-2). Subs: J O'Brien (0-1) for F Fitzgerald (37 mins), D O'Reilly for B Kennedy (49 mins), C Noone for A Relihan (55 mins), C Murtagh for W Lowry (57 mins), W Moore for M Vaughan (58 mins).

FERMANAGH: F Murphy; D McAlynn, P Johnston, S Flynn; P Gormley, C Foy, R Dolan; S O'Brien (0-2, 2f), N Tinney; T O'Flanagan (0-1, one free) N McGrath (0-1), P O'Brien (0-1); M Kerr, J McGurn, R McCaffrey. Subs: R Rafferty for R McCaffrey, A Gallagher for T O'Flanagan (both half-time), K Ferguson for R Rafferty (47 mins).

Referee: M Daly (Mayo).