Kevlihan pleased with progress as minors march on

Ronan Mac Lochlainn

Dublin maintained their unbeaten start to their Leinster Minor Football League campaign (Group 3) following a hard-earned 1-15 to 0-11 victory over Westmeath in St Loman's Mullingar last Saturday afternoon.

After last week's comfortable 0-12 to 0-6 defeat of Tipperary, Dublin made numerous changes to their starting line-up as they assess the relative merits of the panellists ahead of the defence of their provincial and national championship titles later this year.

With a relatively inexperienced panel at his disposal, the competitive nature of the Leinster League has proved invaluable to that end, a fact acknowledged by team manager Cyril Kevlihan.

"We wanted to have a look at as many lads as possible so we made a few changes from the last day. It was another opportunity to see how fellas can perform at this level and it was encouraging what we witnessed," said Kevlihan.

The Dubs started brightly with early scores from Sam Molony, Alan Kavanagh and Michael Deegan and they opened up a five-point lead when Dara Mullin of Kilmacud Crokes netted at the end of the first quarter.

It was nip and tuck for the remainder of the half with the hosts enjoying a greater degree of possession, but further scores from Mullin, Jack Hazely and Deegan ensured a 1-6 to 0-5 interval lead for Dublin.

Westmeath were far sharper upon the restart and kicked four points to a solitary Colm Basquel point as the contest looked set to swing in favour of the hosts.

However, Dublin raised their performance from that juncture and kicked seven points in quick succession with midfielder Garvan Gallagher, Hazely, Aaron Byrne, Tom Hanafin and Con O'Callaghan all pointing in addition to a brace of long-range frees from goalkeeper Lorcan Molloy.

Positive

"It was a good battle," said Kevlihan. "Westmeath made us fight all the way and they got to within a point of us at one stage but the lads responded well to the pressure they faced and that was a positive from our perspective.

"They were a big, strong team and to go away from home is always very challenging.

"We are very happy with the progress we're making but it is still very early stages yet," concluded the Thomas Davis clubman.

The Dubs require a point from their final group match against Longford tomorrow evening to confirm progression to the final stages with the midlanders having lost to Tipperary 2-9 to 1-9 at the weekend.

The winners of Group 1 and Group 2 clash in a semi-final.