Under-20 footballers back in holding pattern

by Stephen Findlater

Dublin Under-20 manager Tom Gray. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Patience is proving to be a vital component for Tom Gray’s Dublin Under-20 footballers.

Having waited seven months to play their All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone, they now are back in a holding cell waiting for the final against Galway to get the go-ahead.

It was initially due to be played next weekend but the elevation to Level 5 brought with it plenty of adjustments and clarifications to the guidance of what can and can’t go ahead with the Under-20 championships falling out of favour.

“Following clarification from the Department of Sport around the staging of inter-county fixtures, the GAA can confirm that as of midnight this evening, all minor and U20 inter-county competitions are paused until further notice,” read a statement on Wednesday morning from the GAA.

“Accordingly, Saturday’s scheduled EirGrid GAA U20 football final meeting of Dublin and Galway will not take place.”

It was initially believed the competition would be completed this week with “intercounty” listed as one of the few sporting levels to receive the go-ahead. .

But the addition of the word “senior” into government documents on Monday evening opened up the discussion once again and, by Wednesday, it was back to the holding pattern.

Saturday’s semi-final against Tyrone ended in a 1-14 to 1-12 success with a late string of points at Kingspan Breffni Park earning the laurels.

Tyrone led 1-12 to 1-10 as the game moved into the concluding ten minutes but Dublin lifted their game all over the park to slot four decisive points in-a-row.

Ciarán Archer’s 51st minute point, following good work by Mark O’Leary, ignited Dublin’s winning scoring surge.

Lorcan O’Dell brought the sides level in the 54th minute after being released by the impressive Lee Gannon.

It was a move from defence to attack, resulting in a crucial score, that typified Dublin’s mettle late on with sub Rory Dwyer doing well in defence to blunt Tyrone as they made in-roads on goal.

Ciarán Archer’s 56th minute score from wide on the right edged Dublin in front (1-13 to 1-12) for the first time since midway through the opening half with Lee Gannon making sure with a point two minutes from the end of normal time.

In the opening the early exchanges were evenly balanced with Tyrone looking dangerous on occasion with good accurate early ball into Darragh Canavan.

Dublin replied with the opening goal in the 12th minute when Brian O’Leary was alert to the space in front of the Tyrone goal.

He accelerated through to take a well-weighted handpass from Luke Swan before placing his finish to the net along the ground.

Six minutes later Tyrone got a goal of their own when Tiarnan Quinn put a rebound to the net after Rory Donnelly had originally been foiled by keeper Josh O’Neill.

Dublin were under sustained pressure at this stage with Tyrone building a 1-7 to 1-3 lead.

But Archer’s free and an excellent point from play on the turn off his left closed the gap to 1-7 to 1-5 before the interval.

The Maur’s man scored his third in a row on the restart but Tyrone kept plugging away to stay a few points clear before Dublin provided their late flourish.

Related Articles