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Higgins in top gear as Fianna fell Clans

NA FIANNA produced a dominant opening-half performance when accounting for Clanna Gael Fontenoy by 3-9 to 0-3 in their Dublin U21 'C' Football Championship final at O'Toole Park on Sunday afternoon.

The win secured a double at U21 level following their 'A' success earlier in the day and the outcome was ultimately settled by the interval as Na Fianna enjoyed a 1-9 to 0-1 advantage.

Central to their success was the display of captain Jimmy Higgins, who led his side impressively from centre-forward in addition to accruing six points over the hour, including five points from placed balls.

Of equal significance was the contribution of centre-back Billy Shanahan, who controlled matters throughout and was ably supported by wing-back Danny Murphy, who made telling interventions.

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Further up the field, Andrew Baxter and Seán Griffin showed well for Na Fianna, who built up a sizeable lead through Higgins' frees and Aaron Jesson's well-taken goal in the 20th minute.

Clans fought back admirably through the efforts of David Meenan, Lee Weafer and Ciarán Divney, but the goal they needed to reignite their challenge was denied them as Conor McCarville produced a brace of outstanding saves either side of half-time.

Jesson's second goal, in addition to a third major by Griffin early in the second half, ensured there would be no dramatic comeback for the Ringsend outfit, with the victory especially pleasing for Na Fianna manager Ciarán Gray.

"It was nice to follow up the 'A' victory earlier in the day and, given the youthful nature of the panel, we should have quite a few available next year," he said.

Na Fianna: Conor McCarville; Colm Fanning, Alan Fitzgerald, Kevin Aughney; Shane Kelly, Billy Shanahan, Danny Murphy; Rob Fenlon, Eoghan McHugh; Thomas Connell, Jimmy Higgins, Andrew Baxter; Seán Griffin, Aaron Jesson, Séamie O'Sullivan. Subs: Conor Gray, Andy Kelly, Liam O'Donnell, Eoin Treacy, Ciarán Reilly.

Clanna Gael Fontenoy: Niall Lavery; David Meenan, Aidan Bolton, Davide Ianelli; Howard Long, Ciarán Divney, Shane Joyce; Bob Lacey, JP Pugh; Austin Dodd, Michael Power, Ciaran Crowe; Lee Weafer, James Kavanagh, Kenneth Lyons. Subs: Thomas Groves, Jason McCarthy, Ross Kiernan, James Tobin.


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