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Carlow red is green light for dublin's scoring blitz



A penalty in the sixth minute by Brian Shanahan set Dublin up for a facile 20-point victory over 14-man Carlow in their Leinster Minor Football League encounter at Belfield last Saturday afternoon.

The contest was effectively settled by the interval as the Dubs enjoyed a 10-point lead over a Carlow side that suffered a major blow when full-back Anthony Byrne was harshly dismissed in the 10th minute after collecting two questionable yellow cards.

Byrne's two cautions reflected his unease in dealing with the movement of Dublin's full-forward Alasdar Fitzgerald, with the Na Fianna clubman eventually rewarded for his impressive display with two sharply taken goals after the break.

Those scores merely added gloss to the final scoreline as an experimental Dublin enjoyed a monopoly on possession following Byrne's dismissal but it was hardly ideal from a management perspective when assessing the individual merits of their extended panel.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring through a third-minute free by Reece Denieffe but two fouls in quick succession on Fitzgerald by Byrne allowed Brian Shanahan to convert a brace of close-in frees.

In the sixth minute, Dublin were awarded a penalty for an innocuous-looking challenge by Byrne on Fitzgerald with referee Noel Hand compounding his dubious decision by booking the Carlow full-back.

Shanahan's clinical finish was less arguable as he fired low and hard to Ciaran Byrne's left-hand side and the St Margaret's player added a glorious point from play soon after as Carlow initially struggled to regroup.

Their task was made more severe when Byrne was once again penalised for fouling a rampant Fitzgerald with Hand showing little leniency as he brandished a second yellow card to the unfortunate Byrne.

Despite being guilty of over-elaboration at times, Dublin extended their lead with Shanahan adding a further three points while Barra McGarry struck a fine point after a quintessential driving run from wing-back by Eoin Murchan.

However, the score of the half was reserved for the visitors with midfielder Cathal Bailey leaving Evan Whelan stranded in the 28th minute as he fired a shot into the top corner from 15 yards.

Despite trailing by 1-11 to 1-1 at the interval, Carlow were handed further encouragement within three minutes of the restart as Denieffe made light of the tight angle to land a superb score but Dublin replied in kind through both Fitzgerald and Conor McCaffrey. With both sides introducing a large number of substitutes, the match lost a degree of cohesion with both teams adding just a solitary free to their respective tallies in a 15-minute period.

That lull was finally ended as Dublin added a second goal in the 52nd minute when Fitzgerald nimbly fired past Byrne from close range after a well-timed incision and pass by Glen O'Reilly.

The clubmates repeated the trick two minutes from time and Fitzgerald fittingly added the final score of the day entering injury-time to leave Dublin in a positive frame of mind ahead of the visit of Limerick in their final group match tomorrow afternoon.