Dessies’s Dubs Book wee decider

by Aaron Dunne
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Dublin 3-22

Offaly 0-11

DUBLIN booked their place in a 14th successive Leinster Senior Football Championship decider when overcoming Offaly by twenty points in their last-four encounter at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Dubs will now face Louth in the provincial decider in a fortnight’s time in what will be a repeat of last year’s final and they’ll look for a more clinical display after failing to fire on all cylinders throughout the admittedly one-sided tie.

A Con O’Callaghan goal in the 18th minute showed Dublin at their most fluent as they built up a nine-point interval advantage and they were never truly troubled upon the resumption with goals at either end of the second-half by Niall Scully and Colm Basquel sealing their comfortable success.

While far from their attacking best, Dublin took little time in building up an advantage as Paul Mannion’s excellent point in the 3rd minute was augmented by a tidy effort from O’Callaghan two minutes later.

Both players looked particularly sharp and they doubled their personal tallies in the ensuing seven minutes to leave Dublin four points ahead by the 13th minute.

Their opponents were in need of some inspiration at this stage and it duly arrived through full-forward Keith O’Neill, who jinked and shimmied his way clear before splitting the posts with the outside of his boot.

Costello and O’Neill exchanged points towards the end of the first quarter before Mannion and O’Callaghan combined for the latter to fire home clinically across Ian Duffy from eight yards.

Dublin could and should have added to their goal tally as the half progressed as they were presented with a number of counter-attacking opportunities with Colm Basquel firing straight at Duffy when well placed in the 31st minute.

By that stage however, their margin was already eight points as Basquel, Costello and John Small all popped over routine scores and further scores from Ciaran Kilkenny and a raiding Cian Murphy pushed the Dubs 1-10 to 0-4 clear by half-time.

Despite Dylan Hyland opening the scoring in the second-half, Dublin looked intent on putting the game to bed as early as possible as Niall Scully ghosted through the middle in the 37th minute to receive a Basquel pass and slot home beyond the helpless Duffy.

The Dubs were bursting through with monotonous regularity at this point as Small and Costello added points to the tally but there was a stubbornness to Offaly’s play that ensured they wouldn’t be overrun.

The midlanders chipped away at the opposite end through fine scores by Lee Pearson, Dylan Hyland and Cathal Flynn but they rarely threatened to unduly inconvenience Stephen Cluxton in the Dublin goal.

Dublin chipped away with substitute Lorcan O’Dell clipping over two points upon his introduction and Basquel was on hand to put further gloss on the scoreline when firing home inside Duffy’s right-hand upright.

Colm Basquel of Dublin in action against Jack McEvoy of Offaly during the Leinster semi-final at Croke Park. Pic: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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