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Provincial title is a landmark day for Dublin’s younger crop

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St Sylvester's clubman Michael Shiel, the Dublin reserve goalkeeper, gets his hands on the Delaney Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

St Sylvester's clubman Michael Shiel, the Dublin reserve goalkeeper, gets his hands on the Delaney Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin captain James McCarthy keeps it low-key as he lifts the Delaney Cup after his side's victory in the Leinster final. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dublin captain James McCarthy keeps it low-key as he lifts the Delaney Cup after his side's victory in the Leinster final. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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St Sylvester's clubman Michael Shiel, the Dublin reserve goalkeeper, gets his hands on the Delaney Cup. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

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To put it into context, this was a 12th successive provincial success for Dublin and 17th in 18 years.

You’d struggle to convince people that winning Leinster amounted to a hill of beans for Dublin, but victorious manager Dessie Farrell was certainly not buying into the argument that they are weighed down with All-Ireland and Leinster medals.

“It’s probably strange for people to realise that because Dublin have been constant winners over the last number of years in Leinster,” said Farrell,“but for a lot of young lads in that dressing-room today that’s their first Leinster title and that’s a significant step, a significant milestone in their journey as inter-county footballers.”

Granted the photo of James McCarthy lifting the Delaney Cup didn’t exactly exude joy, but then in the confines of the dressing-room St Sylvester’s trio Michael Shiel, Alex Wright and Josh Bannon were more than happy to pose with the trophy.

As for Kildare, it was a familiar story. Go back to the 2011 semi-final when a controversial free given to Dublin in the last minute left then Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney fuming, as Dublin prevailed by a one-point margin.

That’s been as close as Kildare have got to their neighbours, and as with predecessors Cian O’Neill and Jack O’Connor, Glenn Ryan was left with the rather thankless task of summing up his side’s day.

To put it into context, this was the first time since 1955 that a winning team had recorded five goals in a Leinster final, when Dublin defeated Meath on a 5-12 to 0-7 scoreline.

That all of five Dublin’s goals came in the first half and into the Hill end pretty much summed it up. Ryan must have wished he could have been transported back to St Conleth’s Park in March when his side recorded their first win over Dublin in 22 years.

Jubilant scenes followed, but you didn’t need to be a expert in body language to sum up Ryan’s feelings in Saturday’s post-game post conference.

“I’d like to go back again and have a look at that first 35, or even 10 minutes, just to see maybe where we didn’t put in place what we wanted to get in place,” said Ryan.

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Asked were Kildare fully prepared to counter a Dublin full forward line that registered 3-10 between them, Ryan replied:

“I wouldn’t say the fact that they played three fellas inside was a surprise. It was disappointing as to how we coped with it, but it was brave to be able to go out on that pitch in the second half. It was manly to be able to go out to play to the level that they did.”

For Farrell, Saturday’s win was as much as about getting a bit of confidence and momentum back into a Dublin side that was put through the wringer in the first few months of the year.

“It’s great to see the application and the consistency to this point in time. We do realise of course there’s much stiffer tests lying ahead,” said Farrell.

“We missed a lot of bodies during the National League. We were integrating new players trying out new things. We probably still should have held on in terms of staying in Division 1, but we didn’t and that gave us a reason to do some soul-searching and reflect upon what we’re about and what we’re trying to achieve this season.

“We went back to the practice ground and we worked harder and harder and we are seeing that now.”


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