Offaly end Leinster U20 drought as they prove too strong for Dublin

Offaly win first title at the grade since 1995 in Portlaoise decider

Offaly celebrate their win over Dublin in the EirGrid Leinster  under-20 final at  MW Hire O’Moore Park in Portlaoise. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Offaly celebrate their win over Dublin in the EirGrid Leinster under-20 final at MW Hire O’Moore Park in Portlaoise. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Offaly 0-15 Dublin 3-3

There were rare scenes of emotion and joy in Portlaoise as Offaly finally returned to the winner’s enclosure with a sensational win over Dublin in the Leinster under-20 football final.

It was Offaly’s first win in this grade since 1995 and a hugely important breakthrough for a county who have begun to turn the corner in recent years. It was fully deserved by Offaly who controlled the game with a superb second half of composed, highly efficient football.

The two teams were very evenly matched in the first half and this was reflected in the half-time scoreline of 2-3 to 0-8 in Dublin’s favour. Offaly set up defensively and this worked well as they kept Dublin at bay for long periods but they still conceded two goals.

The first of these came in the 10th minute when Dublin centre forward Lorcan O’Dell raced through and blasted to the net. Offaly had started brightly with the first two points and that gave Dublin a 1-1 to 0-2 lead.

There was next to nothing between the sides after this in the first half. Dublin led by 1-3 to 0-3 after 14 minutes but Offaly played some of their best football after this. They got four on the trot through Jack Bryant, Aaron Kellaghan, Cormac Egan and Morgan Tynan to lead by 0-7 to 1-3 with the interval approaching. Dublin’s second goal came just in injury time when Fionn Murray found the net and it was all to play for at the break.

Offaly were clear masters in the second half. They led by 0-11 to 2-3 when Dublin got their third goal from Mark Lavin in the 42nd minute. Amazingly that was Dublin’s final score and Offaly were unrelenting as the half wore on. They got the final four points points for the win while some shocking wides did not help Dublin.

OFFALY: S O’Toole; F Dempsey, K Dolan, L Pearson; R Egan, J Furlong , A Brazil; E Cullen, M Tynan (0-4, two frees, one 45 ); C Flynn (0-1), O Keenan-Martin, C Donoghue; Cormac Egan (0-2), J Bryant (0-6, four frees), A Kellaghan (0-1).

Subs: K O’Neill (0-1, free) for Cullen (41 mins), C Delaney for Kellaghan (52), Ciarán Egan for Keenan-Martin (61).

DUBLIN: J Turley; C Tyrrell, A Rafter, B Millist; R Dwyer, A Waddick, M L’Estrange; S Forker, A Fearon (0-1); M Lavin (1-0), L O’Dell (1-1), L Murphy-Guinane; F Murray (1-1), L Swan, L Ward.

Subs: D O’Dowd for Murphy-Guinane( 3 mins, inj), C Chawke for Ward (45), S Murphy for Forker (54), S Guiden for Murray (61).

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).

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