All-Ireland U21 FC final: Dubs dig deep to repel Rossies

06 May 2012

Dublin's Emmet O Conghaile keeps tabs on Niall Daly of Roscommon during the Cadbury All-Ireland U21FC final at Tullamore ©INPHO/James Crombie
Dublin finished strongly at Tullamore to beat Roscommon by 2-12 to 0-11 in the Cadbury All-Ireland U21FC final.

The winners trailed by 0-11 to 1-6 with the match into its fourth quarter but stepped up a gear to claim their third national crown at this level with a run of six points and an injury-time goal.

The first-half was evenly-contested and Roscommon led by three points after 19 minutes. But 1-3 from Man of the Match Paul Hudson - including another injury-time goal - gave the red-hot favourites a narrow 1-5 to 0-6 interval lead.

Roscommon went straight on the offensive and Donie Smith slotted over an excellent left-footed free off the deck on 50 seconds following a foul on full forward Colin Compton. Cian Connolly and Ciaran Kilkenny then had a wide at either end.

Compton added a free from his hands after midfielder Niall Daly had bought a cheap free from the Dublin defence: 0-2 to 0-1 after nine minutes. Scott Oates was marginally off-target as the Connacht champions tried to increase their advantage and Kilkenny dropped his next effort tamely into the hands of Rossies 'keeper Tadgh Lowe.

Between the other sticks. John Brian Carthy did well to deal with a dangerously-dropping Smith shot before Hudson opened Dublin's account with a fine point from play on twelve minutes. Ninety seconds later, Connolly kicked over the underdogs' first score from play - a lovely finish off the left foot.

Dublin were struggling to get going and their full forward Philly Ryan sent a shot wide a minute after they had almost created a goal-scoring opportunity. But Roscommon were defending superbly. They were also showing greater composure in front of goal and Donie Smith had ample time and space to hook over their fourth point after stepping inside his man on 19 minutes.

Just when Jim Gavin's team needed some inspiration, up stepped Hudson with a brace of excellent points inside a minute to reduce the deficit to one point after 21 minutes: 0-4 to 0-3. And Dublin were level by the 24th minute as Kilkenny showed his class with an exocet-like finish that dropped over the black spot.

Four minutes from the break, Dublin No.14 Ryan pounced for a priceless point, staling possession before drop-kicking the ball over the bar with his left foot. Both Ryan and Rossies corner back David Murray picked up injuries in that passage of play but both players were okay to continue after receiving treatment.

The momentum was with the Leinster champions coming up to the short whistle but in the first of three minutes of first-half injury time Dublin-born Donal Keane slotted over the point of the match to level the scores.

However, the Rossies then lost their concentration and Hudson crept in behind their defence to fire an unstoppable left-footer to the roof of the net from close range.

Compton replied with a superb point and the Connacht champions remained very much in this contest at the interval, trailing by two points, 1-5 to 0-6.

Smith kicked a brilliant point on the turn with his left foot in the second minute of the second half and Dublin replied with a couple of poor wides. On 35 minutes, Smith - with his fourth - levelled the scores again with a beautifully-struck free off the ground from 50 metres after Dublin were penalised for some dragging off the ball.

And Roscommon were back in front when Connolly sliced over a brilliant curling shot off the outside of his left foot on the run. Compton - with another stunning finish - made it four points in seven minutes after the resumption and suddenly the Primrose & Blue led by two, 0-10 to 1-5.

Midfielder Cathal Shine made an inspirational catch in the danger area as Dublin sent in a dangerous free and Nigel Dineen's men nearly moved further clear only for Compton and Kilroy to both miss chances, the former's fisted effort dropping over Carthy to the net, which of course is an illegal score.

At the other end, Hudson's fourth minor had the Dubs back within a point again with 16 minutes to go. In the 46th minute, Keane kept his cool to thump over another fabulous point for the 4-1 outsiders, who were simply refusing to give up.

Substitute Gerry Seaver sent a '45' wide as the Dubs remained two adrift but Kilkenny clipped over an instant point after collecting possession from the hard-working Hudson - 0-11 to 1-7 with eleven minutes left. Centre back John Kelly levelled the scores again 30 seconds later after taking a pass from Kilkenny.

Another sub, Harry Dawson missed a golden opportunity to restore Dublin's advantage after good work from Jack McCaffrey but it was all Dublin now and the Sky Blues were attacking in waves. Lowe made a fine save to deny the influential Dawson.

Six minutes from time, substitute Seaver conjured the lead point after a pass from fellow replacement Paul Maguire. Dawson banged over the winners' fourth successive point. Kilkenny collected a centre from Dawson to make it 1-11 to 0-11 after 57 minutes.

Kilkenny stroked over a free with the game effectively over as a contest and sub Paul Mannion rolled the ball to the back of the net two minutes to put the icing on the cake into stoppage time.

To full back Kevin O'Brien went the honour of collecting the Clarke Cup in 2012.

Dublin: JB Carthy; M Concarr, K O'Brien, S George; L Fletcher, J Kelly (0-1), J McCaffrey; E O Conghaile, C Reddin; D Byrne, G Sweeney, M Schutte; C Kilkenny (0-4), P Ryan (0-1), P Hudson (1-4). Subs: P Maguire, G Seaver (0-1), H Dawson (0-1), P O'Higgins, P Mannion (1-0).

Roscommon: T Lowe: C Cafferkey, C Duignan, D Murray; C Daly, P Brogan, R Stack; C Shine, N Daly; S Oates, N Kilroy, D Keane (0-2); C Connolly (0-2), C Compton (0-3), D Smith (0-4). Subs: J McManus, F Cregg, C Murtagh, F Kelly.

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