Captain Con O’Callaghan leads by example for rampant Dublin minors

Three first-half goals break the challenge of reigning champions Kildare

Dublin captain Con O’Callaghan lifts the cup after his side’s victory over Kildare in the Leinster minor football final. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin captain Con O’Callaghan lifts the cup after his side’s victory over Kildare in the Leinster minor football final. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Dublin 3-16 Kildare 1-12

Three first-half goals lay the platform for Dublin as they overcame Kildare by ten points in their Electric Ireland Leinster minor football championship final at Croke Park yesterday afternoon.

Despite Colm Basquel opening the scoring with an excellent solo score in the third minute, Kildare enjoyed a greater degree of possession in the early stages and Sean Dempsey restored parity soon after with a close-in free.

Conor Hartley struck a superb score for Kildare in the fifth minute and with Dublin ceding possession all too regularly, the Lilies built on their lead as Dempsey slotted over a 45 two minutes later.

Kildare were enjoying ample freedom down the right side of their attack and Kelly was in oceans of space to land another impressive point after nine minutes.

Gradually, Dublin began to find their collective feet with Con O’Callaghan landing an 11th minute free prior to Jack Burke reducing his side’s arrears to a single point two minutes later.

A glut

A glut of scores ensued for the remainder of the half with dual player O’Callaghan handing his side pivotal momentum as he burst through to fire a clinical finish beyond goalkeeper Tadhg Foley from an acute angle in the 14th minute.

Kildare responded in kind two minutes later when a slip by Cian Murphy was seized upon by Michael Kelly, who transferred to Dempsey for a facile palmed finish beyond Eiven Whelan.

Another defensive error led to Dublin regaining the initiative as Chris Sallier dispossessed Mark Hyland close to goal with Basquel the beneficiary on this occasion.

O’Callaghan was proving a handful for the Kildare defence at this juncture and after he had added two sublime points from play, Aaron Byrne secured Dublin’s third goal with a glorious strike that nestled inside Foley’s left hand upright.

Initial period

The second half failed to match the excitement of the initial period with Dublin essentially putting the game to bed following early scores upon the resumption by Byrne, Warren Egan, Eoghan McHugh and Glenn O’Reilly.

Kildare responded through a brace of Dempsey frees but it never looked likely to prove sufficient as Dublin confirmed their victory through late scores by Byrne and the exceptional O’Callaghan who led by example throughout.

DUBLIN: E Whelan; C Murphy, J Mullins, E Murchan; A Fee, S Clayton, G O’Reilly (0-1); A Foley, E McHugh (0-1); W Egan (0-2), C Basquel (1-2), J Burke (0-1); A Byrne (1-2), C O’Callaghan (1-6, two frees), C Sallier (0-1). Subs: D Monahan for Murphy (ht), A Elliott for Egan (47 mins), D McIlgorm for Foley (51 mins), B Howard for Sallier (55 mins), A McGowan for Fee (58 mins), C Kavanagh for O’Reilly (59 mins).

KILDARE: T Foley; S Healy, M Hyland, A Scully; J Flynn, P Mescal, C Earley; E Boyle (0-2), C Kavanagh (0-1); E Flynn (0-1), C Hartley (0-1), S Lawlor; M Kelly (0-2), S Dempsey (1-5, three frees, one ‘45’), R Feely. Subs: S Ryan for Hyland (28 mins), B McCormack for Lawlor (ht), M Bursey for Feely (39 mins), J Corrigan for Kelly (41 mins), P Murray for Hartley (50 mins), J Healy for Earley (57 mins).

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).

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