Con O’Callaghan’s brace leads Dublin to Leinster final
The Cuala man was at the heart of Dublin under-21 footballers win over Longford
Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan scores his second goal during Dublin’s under-21 Leinster Football Championship semi final win over Longford. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Dublin 2-10 Longford 0-9
Two goals early in the second half from dual star Con O’Callaghan paved the way for Dublin to ease their way to a seven-point win over Longford in difficult conditions for football at Lakepoint Park in Mullingar on Wednesday, thereby setting up a Leinster U21 football final clash with Offaly next Wednesday in Portlaoise.
Scores were at a premium in the first half with defences on top and both sides struggling to find the range, particularly in the opening quarter. A point exchange from frees between O’Callaghan in the 14th minute and Rian Brady two minutes later had the sides tied at 0-1 each.
Dublin’s remaining scores in the opening half came from open play via Chris Sallier (two) and Callaghan (one), while the lively Smith and midfielder David McGivney (with an outstanding long-range effort) found the target for wind-assisted Longford. O’Callaghan came close to scoring a goal for Dublin in the last few seconds of injury-time, but his side still led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break.
Dublin got off to the best possible start in the second half when a poor Longford kick-out saw Sallier and O’Callaghan combine for the latter to rifle the ball into an unguarded net after just 80 seconds. The Cuala man added a brace of points (the first from a free) and Brian Howard kicked another before O’Callaghan availed of a Longford defensive error to pounce for his second goal in the 39th minute.
Dessie Farrell’s troops now led by 10 points (2-7 to 0-3) and there was no way back for the underdogs. However, they plugged away manfully with McGivney leading the way from midfield, and they had the small consolation of kicking the last four points of the contest, albeit the outcome had long since been decided.
DUBLIN: E Comerford; E Murchan, C O’Shea, D Byrne; D Monaghan, S McMahon, C Murphy; A Foley, G O’Reilly; B Howard (0-1), A Byrne, D O’Brien; C Sallier (0-3), C O’Callaghan (2-5, three frees), T Fox. Subs: D McIllgorm for O’Reilly (45 mins), S Smith (0-1) for Sallier (48 mins), S Bugler for Byrne (52 mins), D Spillane for O’Brien (59 mins), B Shovlin for Foley (60 + 3 mins).
LONGFORD: C Gallagher; K Sorohan, C Farrell, J Mooney; C Brady, D Reynolds (0-1), Russell Brady; D McGivney (0-4, three frees), S Kenny; J Kelly, N Rabbitte, P Lynn; Rian Brady (0-2, one free), D Carrigy, A McElligott (0-1). Subs: C Lee for Lynn (25 mins), C Berry for Kenny (h-t), J Matthews for Carrigy (h-t), D Doherty (0-1) for Kelly (40 mins), R Sweeney for Russell Brady (40 mins), S Kelly for Mooney (52 mins).
Referee: N Ward (Westmeath).