U21s claim Leinster glory with strong finish
DUBLIN 2-15 WEXFORD 0-15
A brilliantly taken Daire Plunkett goal nine minutes from time inspired Dublin to victory in Wednesday night’s Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U21HC final at Parnell Park.
The Dubs had been second best for most of the night until Plunkett’s goal shot them into the lead for the first time in the night – it was a lead they never relinquished in this well-contested duel.
Wexford held a 0-13 to 0-11 advantage inside the concluding ten minutes before a clever David Treacy ball down the standside touchline found Plunkett who showed jet heels to round his marker before taking on the Slaneysiders full-back line close to the endline at the church end and kicked the sliotar emphatically to the net.
A minute later the St Brigid’s man added a point when again taking on the Wexford defence with pace.
In the final minute of normal time Dublin’s second goal from sub David Quinn sealed victory when he was in the right place at the right time to drive the sliotar to the net after fellow sub Ciarán Brennan fired a pass across the face of the Wexford goal.
In the opening half the Slaneysiders hit a purple patch before the midpoint when scoring four unanswered points in-a-row to open up a 0-6 to 0-2 lead by the 14th minute. The energy and movement of their half-forward line had Dublin firmly on the back foot with Shane Tomkins and Liam Og McGovern particularly to the fore while at the heart of their defence the towering Andrew Shore was having a huge influence proceedings.
Two Shane Stapleton frees eased the pressure on Dublin and by the interval the home side had closed the gap to the minimum, 0-8 to 0-7. However, Dublin were guilty of some wayward shooting towards the close of the half and spurned four good chances to get on level terms.
The opening to the second half following a similiar pattern. On two occasions Dublin got on level terms but both times Wexford got the next score to edge back in front. Five minutes into the second half Plunkett drew Dublin level but Harry Kehoe responded and eight minutes later the Dubs tied it up, 0-11 each, with a Niall McMorrow point but against the Slaneysiders shot back into the lead – this time with two Tomkins frees.
But then came the crucial match-turning goal when Plunkett used his pace to telling effect before keeping a cool head and showing his football skills to rattle Mark Fanning’s net. Dublin did not look to secure the county’s first U21 Leinster double. Dublin face Galway in the All-Ireland U21HC semi-final on August 21.
SCORERS – Dublin: D Plunkett 1-3, S Stapleton (0-3f), D Treacy (0-2f), N McMorrow 0-3 each, D Quinn 1-0, L Rushe, D Whelan, P Kelly (f) 0-1 each. Wexford: S Tompkins 0-6 (4f), L Óg McGovern 0-4, E Kent 0-2, E Moore (f), H Kehoe, J Leacy 0-1 each.
DUBLIN – F McGarry; R Walsh, D Kelly, O Gough; P Kelly, M Quilty, R O’Loughlin; C Clinton, P Buckeridge; S Stapleton, L Rushe, D Plunkett; B O’Rorke, D Treacy, N McMorrow. Subs: D Quinn for Stapleton (39), A Mc Enerney for Clinton (46), D Whelan for O’Loughlin (49), C Brennan for McMorrow (57).
WEXFORD – M Fanning; B McCormack, Matthew O’Hanlon, E Doyle; S Murphy, A Shore, Michael O’Hanlon; E Moore, M O’Regan; H Kehoe, S Tompkins, L Óg McGovern; E Kent, J Gahan, J Reck. Subs: P Morris for Murphy (16, inj), J Leacy for Reck (33), P Donnelly for Michael O’Hanlon (53), T O’Leary for Kent (60).
REF – D Connolly (Kilkenny).
– Pic courtesy of Chris Lynam (http://www.sports-in-focus.com)