Kilkenny lights up the Dubs
DUBLIN teenager Ciaran Kilkenny is a young star with a busy schedule that just got a whole lot more hectic. Kilkenny kicked 11 points as the Dublin footballers heaped more misery on Kildare in this one-sided Leinster minor semi-final at Parnell Park on Wednesday night to chalk up another impressive victory.Much has been made of the famine for Dublin at senior level where the county is 16 years without Sam Maguire. But an equally depressing statistic for Dublin GAA is the fact that there hasn't been an All-Ireland minor football success since 1984.Less than a week after the drama of the senior team with Kildare at Croke Park, the Dessie Farrell managed Dub minors left no one in any doubt about the final result here as they powered their way to the provincial final. And it was the young Castleknock dual star Kilkenny - who will be in action for the Dublin minor hurlers against Kilkenny at Croke Park this Sunday - who secured a double date there for himself and colleagues Cormac Costello, Emmet O Conghaile and Eric Lowndes in a convincing win. It took four games to eventually separate these two last year with Kildare advancing.
But with the wind to their backs it was Dublin who attacked from the opening and their physical power and direct long ball approach made an instant impact with good scores coming from Scott Fulham, the impressive dual star Ciaran Kilkenny, Cormac Costello and Gavin Ivory. After 15 minutes Dublin were looking comfortable at 0-7 to 0-2 up. But when Daniel Flynn began to assert himself in the middle and they improved the speed and accuracy of their delivery forward, it was Kildare who seized the initiative. And they reeled off good scores from Barry Coffey Niall Kelly and Paddy Brophy. Sensing the danger, Dublin brought the towering Kilkenny out around the middle and he helped O'Higgins and Ivory win back control. After looking under pressure, Dublin impressively reeled off points from an Ivory '45', Costello and two from Kilkenny to go in 0-11 to 0-5 up at the break. A ruthless Dublin surged forward with four points in the first five minutes to move 10 points clear. Shane O'Hagan, Gavin Farrell and Niall Kelly continued to press for Kildare, but Jack McCaffrey, Ruterson Real and Eric Lowndes stood out at the back for the Dubs who looked comfortable. And the match was finished off in the 41st minute when a brilliant move started by Patrick O'Higgins at midfield was crashed to the net by Paul Mannion Kildare, managed by former Cork and Kildare senior player Brian Murphy, continued to look for openings, but a disciplined Dublin rearguard kept them at bay to cruise into the final on Sunday week.
It was a star studded Dublin backroom at the helm of these minors with Dessie Farrell assisted by former Dublin players Dr Noel McCaffrey and Alan 'Nipper' McNally. Farrell has been in charge of this group since they were at U14 level and this win represents a serious return on that investment.Dessie's Dubs are looking to become the first Dublin minor team since the Jim Stynes class of 1984 to win the All-Ireland. They face a Meath team in the final who had three points to spare over Louth in their semi-final. There is a danger heaping expectancy onto young shoulders. But it has to be said that this team have looked very impressive and against Westmeath and Kildare in particular, they were a massive handful. Ciaran Kilkenny will need to be given time and space to mature and develop. The last thing he needs is to be thrown in at the deep end before he is ready. But it is already as obvious as it is exciting, that Dublin GAA has a real gem on their hands in the gifted Castleknock youngster.
DUBLIN: R O'Hanlon; R Real, R McDaid, G Hannigan; J McCaffrey (0-1), J
Small, E Lowndes; E O Conghaile, P O'Higgins; C Costello (0-3), D
Campbell (0-2), G Ivory (0-5, 1 '45'); C Kilkenny (0-11,4f), P Mannion
(1-1), S Fulham (0-1). Subs: A O'Brien for Fulham53, C Meaney for
Costello 54, D O'Brien for Real 55, R Mullins for Kilkenny 58, M
MacDonncha for O'Higgins 60.
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