Dublin make it a four-in-a-row of Leinster U21 titles

Sky Blues prove too strong for Offaly in Portloaise

Dublin 2-14 Offaly 0-8

Tom Fox and Stephen Smith hit the crucial goals at O'Moore Park as Dublin secured their fourth consecutive EirGrid Leinster Under-21 football title, a new record.

Fox finished with 1-2 in Portlaoise while Smith’s late, late goal glossed the scoreline as the Sky Blues secured a 14th provincial win.

Man of the match Aaron Byrne fired four points from play too, the same tally as boy wonder Con O'Callaghan.


Dublin’s reward is an April 15th All-Ireland semi-final clash with the Ulster winners. Both Ulster semi-finals were postponed on Wednesday night due to ground conditions.

Boss Dessie Farrell will demand an improvement from Dublin because they played in patches in what has been the theme of their campaign despite a series of comfortable wins.

They were still red-hot favourites to progress after victories over Westmeath and Longford and it was no surprise that Dublin forged clear with a 0-6 to 0-2 lead by the end of the opening quarter.

The scores simply came easier to Dublin who linked up well and consistently found Byrne, their two-goal hero against Westmeath.

He hit three early points in a row and there were scores from Fox, Glenn O’Reilly and Chris Sallier.

Offaly took over for the 10 minutes approaching half-time and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession.

Shane Tierney was Offaly's principal attacker and kicked his third point from play to leave them 0-7 to 0-4 down.

They were tentative in attack generally, though, and were left to rue eight first-half wides in all.

Dublin took full advantage by finishing the half with back to back to points from Eoin Murchan and O'Callaghan.

That left Dublin with a double scores 0-10 to 0-5 lead that they ruthlessly built upon with 1-2 after the restart.

O’Callaghan played Fox in for the 34th minute goal and Dublin led 1-12 to 0-5 before Offaly finally broke their own scoring deadlock.

Dublin took their foot off the gas for a period and went 16 minutes without a point before O’Callaghan booted two.

Offaly, chasing a first title since 1995, fought back with three points in a row at one stage but needed a goal that never arrived.

Smith added Dublin’s second goal in injury-time when he finished off a neat passing move with a low left footed finish from close range.

DUBLIN: E Comerford; D Monaghan, S McMahon, D Byrne; E Murchan (0-1), C O'Shea, C Murphy; A Foley, B Howard; T Fox (1-2), D O'Brien, A Byrne (0-4, one 45); C Sallier (0-1), C O'Callaghan (0-4, two frees), G O'Reilly (0-2).

Subs: S Smith (1-0) for Sallier (41 mins), Seán Bugler for O'Brien (42 mins), D Gavin for Fox (48 mins), A Elliott for O'Reilly (51 mins), A McGowan for Monaghan (57 mins).

OFFALY: B Rohan; C Horan, D Dempsey, C Doyle; A Mahon, PJ Daly, J Egan; J Lalor, J Hayes (0-3, two frees); C Farrell, R McNamee, J Walsh; R McEvoy (0-1), P Dunican, S Tierney (0-4, one free).

Subs: K Higgins for Mahon (41 mins), J Clancy for Dunican (49 mins), C Stewart for Egan (62 mins).

Referee: D Hickey (Carlow).