O’Callaghan fires Dubs past Louth

by Aaron Dunne
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Dublin 1-19

Louth 2-12

A 55th-minute goal by Con O’Callaghan helped Dublin complete an ultimately comfortable four-point victory over Louth in their Leinster Senior Football Championship final at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

In doing so, the Dubs secured a fourteenth successive provincial title but they were pushed all the way by a hugely committed and organised Louth team.
It was the underdogs that entered the break with a narrow 0-7 to 0-6 advantage and a 45th-minute goal by Ciarán Keenan added further momentum to their challenge.

However, O’Callaghan was on hand to settle Dublin nerves with a cracking goal ten minutes later, with the concession of a late goal to Craig Lennon a source of annoyance to the Dubs by the final whistle.
The Dubs played with the benefit of a strong breeze at their backs in the opening-half but failed to utilise it initially with their opponents opening the scoring in the sixth minute through a well-struck free by Sam Mulroy.

Brian Fenton replied for Dublin in an instant but with Louth enjoying their fair share of possession in the early stages, they countered well to restore their lead through Ciarán Downey in the 8th minute.

A Cormac Costello free restored parity three minutes later and Fenton once again found space behind a heavily-manned Louth defence to edge Dublin in front for the first time.

However, Louth refused to buckle at this point as Mulroy curled over a glorious point and hopes of an upset were further enhanced as Ciaran Keenan burst through before showing great composure in rounding Stephen Cluxton and slotting into the gaping goal.

In fairness to Dublin, their response to this body blow was impressive as they kicked two points in as many minutes through O’Callaghan and Costello with Louth refusing to bow to their seemingly inevitable fate thanks to further scores from Grimes and Mulroy.

The decisive moment arrived in the 55th minute as substitute Jack McCaffrey seized on a misplaced clearance, allowing O’Callaghan the time and space to crash and unerring finish across Niall McDonnell from eight yards.

O’Callaghan, Costello and Paddy Small put further distance between the teams but Louth gained reward for their efforts in injury time as Lennon palmed home at the back post, a positive ending to a brave showing from Ger Brennan’s side.


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