Two first half goals from Paul Mannion helped Dublin book their place in the Cadbury’s Leinster U21 Football Final as they gained revenge for last year’s defeat by Longford.
Despite conceding the goals Longford never gave up but it was always going to be a tough battle against a very good Dublin side. Longford though didn’t make it easy on themselves and made mistakes which Dublin punished; mainly the third goal that Dessie Farrell’s charges scored ,five minutes from time.
Playing against a strong breeze Dublin registered the first score of the game in the 3rd minute when Cormac Costello pointed over. Eric Lowndes followed with a point minutes after.
Longford had half chances but with just two forwards in the forward line the Dubs were able to halt any attack. The Dubs’ first goal came in the 10th minute and one minute later Mannion was on target again to stretch their lead to 8 points.
Paddy Kiernan got Longford’s first point in the 14th minute but Dublin replied with points from Mannion and Costello. Just before the break Longford added three points to their score; two frees from the boot of Robbie Smyth and an excellent Barry McKeon point from play to leave them trailing by 6.
Dublin made a good start to the 2nd half with Conor McHugh flashing his shot just wide inside the opening minute. A free from Costello and a good McHugh effort put the Dubs ahead by 8 in the 36th minute.
Two more frees from the boot of Smyth cut the deficit to 6 once again but that was the closest Longford were to get to their opponents. The Abbeylara clubman had a chance to put 5 between them in the 48th minute but his free veered wide.
Whilst they had been poor in front of the posts the Dubs still held a commanding lead and in the 53rd minute Costello added another point. In the 55th minute Longford were awarded a free but instead of launching it downfield it was played across the backline and was intercepted with substitute Emmet O’Conghaile finished to the net.
It was tough on Longford and in the final minutes they tried to add scores to their tally but couldn’t find the target. So it’s no repeat of 2013s exploits for Longford but they can be proud of their achievements in getting to their third U21 semi-final in 4 years.
Dublin: Lorcan Molloy; Ross McGowan, David Byrne, Robert McDaid; Eric Lowndes (0-1), John Small, Jack McCaffrey; Patrick O’Higgins, Stephen Cunningham; Paul Mannion (2-1), Shane Carthy, Niall Scully; Conor McHugh (0-1), Michael Deegan, Cormac Costello (0-4,1f).
Subs: Shane O’Cunningham for Deegan (39), Emmet O’Conghaile(1-0) for Small (46), Niall Walsh for McHugh (59), Gavin Ivory for Costello (60)
Longford: Garreth Higgins; Cian Farrelly, Andrew Farrell, Barry O’Farrell; Shane Clarke, Stephen McLoughlin, Conor Shields; Barry McKeon (0-1), James McGivney; Emmet Noonan, Rory Connor, Patrick Kiernan (0-1); Andrew Dalton, Robbie Smyth (0-4,4f), Liam Connerton.
Subs: Mattie Gorman for Clarke (17), Daniel Mimnagh for Noonan (43), Ross McNerney for Connor (57)
Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath)