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Late late special


A DOMINANT final quarter allowed Dublin to overcome Longford by four points in a hard-fought Leinster Minor Football League encounter at Belfield last Friday evening.

In doing so, the Dubs, having previously accounted for Tipperary and Westmeath, confirmed their final berth and the extra competitive match should assist their preparations as they finalise the defence of their provincial and national titles.

Cyril Kevlihan's charges spent much of the game stalled in second gear before upping the tempo to close out the game in the last 15 minutes, with wing-back Aaron Byrne kicking two sublime points to turn the tide for Dublin.

The Na Fianna player impressed with regular sorties from defence.

Colm Basquel was another to impress with the Ballyboden player kicking six points, including three from play, but his influence waned after the break as the Dubs struggled to supply their inside-forward line against a determined Longford outfit.

Dublin began in impressive fashion and after spurning a couple of point opportunities, they finally got their noses in front as Basquel turned smartly to fire over the opening score.

The hosts favoured the right-hand side as their avenue of attack and an intricate passing move culminated in dual player Eoghan O'Donnell firing over from close range to double his side's advantage three minutes later.

Cuala's Con O'Callaghan looked lively in the early stages but his sharp turn in the ninth minute was not matched by his finish but another clever piece of play and subsequent foul allowed to Basquel to convert a close-in free to push the Dubs further ahead.

Byrne's presence was increasingly noticeable and a marauding run at the end of the first quarter failed to receive the reward it deserved as his smothered shot was deflected onto the upright with the visitors eventually clearing their lines.

Dublin's control of affairs was gradually eroded as Longford's midfield pairing of Patrick Farrell and David McGivney began to monopolise the aerial duels and the midlanders reduced their arrears through successive points from McGivney and Liam Sullivan.

Another foul on O'Callaghan brought Dublin their fourth score but their early fluency was lost at this juncture and a late McGivney free ensured Longford trailed by 0-4 to 0-3 by the interval.



Despite Basquel edging Dublin further ahead within four minutes of the restart, Longford assumed control for the ensuing 10 minutes with two frees by McGivney and an excellent score by Larry Moran handing the visitors a deserved lead.

Dublin, who gained a degree of parity in the middle third following Alasdair Fitzgerald's redeployment, were indebted to Lorcan Molloy when the levelled, with the goalkeeper landing a 50-metre free to stall Longford's momentum.

Two superb points from Byrne, the first from the outside of his boot and the latter following a surging run from his own half, were the highlights of the hour as Longford's challenge ran out of steam. And Basquel was on hand to ensure Dublin's progression with two late points.