FOUR local players were present as Dublin retained the EirGrid Leinster Under-21 Leinster Football Championship last Thursday at Pairc Tailteann.
David Byrne of Naomh Olaf, Ballinteer St John’s Robbie Gaughan and Ballyboden St Enda’s duo Shane Clayton and Colm Basquel all played their part in 3-10 to 1-12 win over the Lilywhites.
Clayton started game at right corner-back with Byrne operating full-back. Basquel lined out as left corner-forward before being replaced by Aaron Byrne after 50 minutes, while Gaughan entered the field after 38 minutes, coming on for Gavin Burke at right half-forward.
The Dubs did not seem to miss injured talisman Killian O’Gara as Cormac Costello stepped up to fire two goals and two points for Boys in Blue. Basquel was key for the capital too, firing over five points during the contest.
The game started off as a close encounter, with the side’s level on 0-3 each in the opening quarter before Costello teed up Basquel for the opening goal after 20 minutes. Minutes later, the provider turned scorer as Costello shook the net following quality play from Conor McHugh.
Kildare hit back, however, thanks to some quality kicking from Neil Flynn and a goal by Mark Sherry which reduced the deficit to two points going into half-time. Indeed it was Kildare who began the second half better, hitting four points without reply before Costello struck again for the Dubs, firing in another goal.
The Dubs managed to maintain their lead going into the closing stages despite a spirited performance from Kildare and Flynn in particular. Before the referee ended proceedings Costello was brought down and was awarded a penalty, which McHugh stroked over to confirm a four-point win.
It was a four-point win which continued Dublin’s dominance in the province at this level, this marking their sixth Leinster win in eight years.
Dessie Farrell’s side now have an All-Ireland semi-final to look forward to against either Cork or Tipperary.