Darragh Doherty pictured in action for Longford against Dublin defender Darragh Conlon in the O'Byrne Cup Photo: Syl Healy
Fielding a mixture of experienced regulars and emerging newcomers, Dublin cruised to a comprehensive win over Longford to clinch their place in the O’Byrne Cup final.
Dublin . . . 0-16 Longford . . . 0-5
Played in perfect conditions in front of a big attendance at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday, Longford found the going very tough against their physically stronger opponents who led by 0-8 to 0-1 at the break.
The classy Ciaran Kilkenny, leading the charge for Dublin at centre-half-forward, fired over a couple of glorious long range points while the solitary score for the home county in the first half was a terrific strike from Darragh Doherty in the 9th minute.
Longford were fortunate not to be further behind at half-time with Paddy Collum producing a brace of fine point-blank saves to deny James Doran when goals were there for the taking.
The midlanders, to their credit, tried hard to put a more respectable look on the scoreboard in the second half with midfielder Darren Gallagher landing a couple of cracking points.
And Longford (whose most notable absentee was the unavailable Michael Quinn) almost grabbed a consolation goal in the 59th minute when a flick from substitute Ross McNerney was kept out of the net by the alert opposing keeper Michael Shiel.
Darragh Doherty and substitute Dylan Farrell (free) were also on target for Billy O'Loughlin's side on the changeover but Dublin kept going until the final whistle with substitute Lorcan O’Dell twice denied goals thanks to an excellent save by replacement Longford keeper Shane Fitzpatrick with O’Dell’s second attempt hitting the crossbar.
Longford must now focus their attention on the crucial opening round fixture in Division 3 of the National League away to Limerick on Saturday January 29 and the mentors will hopefully be in a position to field their strongest possible side.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels); Patrick Fox (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Ryan Moffett (Killoe Emmet Og), Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond); James Moran (Killoe Emmet Og), Andrew Farrell (Cashel), Iarla O’Sullivan (Rathcline); Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s Granard, 0-2), Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s); Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara), Joseph Hagan (Dromard), Darragh Doherty (Mostrim, 0-2); Oran Kenny (Rathcline), Jayson Matthews (Mullinalaghta St Columba’s), Cian Dooner (Killoe Emmet Og).
Subs:- Keelin McGann (Kenagh) for C Dooner (half-time); Ross McNerney (Dromard) for R Smyth (half-time); Peter Lynn (Longford Slashers) for R Moffett (45 mins); Eoghan McCormack (Carrickedmond) for I O’Sullivan (45 mins); Padraig Joyce (Mostrim) for J Matthews (45 mins); Darragh O’Connell (Longford Slashers) for J Hagan (49 mins); Dylan Farrell (St Brigid’s Killashee, 0-1, free) for D Doherty (51 mins); Shane Fitzpatrick (Killoe Emmet Og) for P Collum (60 mins); Daire O’Brien (Longford Slashers) for D Reynolds (62 mins); PJ Masterson (Abbeylara) for B O’Farrell (62 mins); Ronan Fitzgibbon (Sarsfields Newbridge) for O Kenny (62 mins).
DUBLIN: Michael Shiel; Darragh Conlon, Sean McMahon, Shane Clayton; Kieran Kennedy (0-1), Eoin Murchan, Sean Bugler (0-1); Tom Lahiff (0-1), James McCarthy (0-1); Aaron Byrne (0-1), Ciaran Kilkenny (0-4), Brian Howard; Paddy Small, James Doran, Ciaran Archer (0-2, one free).
Subs:- Harry Ladd (0-2) for P Small (injured, 23 mins); Mark Lavin for C Archer (injured, 40 mins); Shane Carthy for K Kennedy (45 mins); Lee Gannon (0-1) for D Conlon (45 mins); Ross McGarry (0-1) for J Doran (49 mins); Adam Rafter for A Byrne (55 mins); Warren Egan (0-1) for S McMahon (55 mins); Emmett O’Conghaile for J McCarthy (55 mins); David Lacey for E Murchan (62 mins); Lorcan O’Dell for S Bugler (injured, 65 mins).
Referee: Marius Stones (Offaly).
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