O'Byrne Cup: Young Dubs dethrone Royals in penalty shootout

January 12, 2019

Dublin's Robert McDaid and Ben Brennan of Meath during the O'Byrne Cup semi-final at Parnell Park

Dublin 1-12

Meath 1-12

(Dublin win 3-1 on penalties)

A Dublin team full of rookies has qualified for the O'Byrne Cup final after beating holders Meath 3-1 in a dramatic penalty shootout.

Six days after Mayo and Leitrim took part in the first-ever penalty shootout at inter-county level, the same method was used to decide the outcome of tonight's semi-final at Parnell Park after the local rivals had finished level on 1-12 apiece at full-time. And it was the young Dubs who prevailed to set up a final meeting with Westmeath at the same venue next Friday thanks to successful spot kicks from Aaron Byrne, Oisin Lynch and Conor McHugh.

Sean Tobin was the only Meath player to find the net, with Mickey Newman and Barry Dardis firing their efforts over and Thomas O'Reilly having his shot saved by goalkeeper Andy Bunyan.

Bunyan was one of many unfamiliar names in what was essentially a third string Dublin team. Stand-in manager Paul Clarke decided not play any of last year's four-in-a-row All-Ireland winning squad after they had just returned from a  Caribbean cruise. In their absence, Ballyboden St Enda's Ryan Basquel caught the eye with four points from play, while Oisin Lynch from Fingallians grabbed two in the first half.

With over half of their 2018 championship team in action, Meath dominated the early exchanges and led by 1-4 to 0-2 after 10 minutes thanks to a goal from Graham Reilly who was introduced as a blood sub in the seventh minute before retiring in the 22nd minute. 

But with Basquel and Lynch in fine scoring form and Robert McDaid palming home a 33rd minute goal after being set up Sean Bugler, the hosts battled back to regain parity at the break, 1-7 each.

Both teams found scores harder to come by in a tense second half which culminated in Mickey Newman's free in the fifth minute of injury-time sending the game to a novel penalty shootout.

Dublin - A Bunyan; N Doran, S McMahon (0-1), C Smith; C O'Connor, C Mullally, R McDaid (1-0); D Gavin, C Howley; R Basquel (0-4), A Byrne (0-1), S Bugler (0-1); S Smith (0-2f), C Pearson, O Lynch (0-2). Subs: C McHugh (0-1) for S Smith, C Reddin for C Howley, S Boland for A Byrne, A McGowan for N Doran, G Seaver for C Basquel, J Hazley for S Bugler.

Meath - B Dardis; R Ryan, C McGill, S Lavin; J McEntee, D Keogan, N Kane; B Menton, A Flanagan; N Hickey, D Campion (0-3), D Quinn; B Brennan (0-1), M Newman (0-5, 4f, 1m), T O'Reilly. Subs: M Brennan for B Dardis, G Reilly (1-2) for N Hickey, G McCoy for D Quinn, S Tobin for B Brennan, J Conlon (0-1) for D Campion.

Referee - F Kelly.



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