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McGuirk and Burke strike late as Dublin claim provincial crown with dominant finish


Dublin’s Paddy Smyth. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin’s Paddy Smyth. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin’s Paddy Smyth. Pic: Sportsfile

Dublin claimed their first provincial title in four years as they finished in the ascendancy to defeat Wexford by six points in their Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship final at Croke Park yesterday afternoon.

With the Dubs trailing by a solitary point entering the 55th minute, the contest turned irrevocably in their favour when Johnny McGuirk was on hand to fire home from close range.

Their win was effectively secured four minutes later when the influential Donal Burke netted after a strong run from his Na Fianna club-mate Peter Feeney with Wexford's misery complete late on when captain Rory O'Connor was dismissed for a challenge borne out of frustration of Jack O'Neill.

It was a far from complete display by the winners, who struggled in attack for large parts and they were once again indebted to their defence for ensuring they remained in contention as they faile dto reflect third quarter dominance into scores. That inability allowed Wexford to overturn a three-point deficit into a one-point lead but their inadequacies in attack allowed Dublin to prevail through those late goals.

It was Wexford that started on the front foot through early points from Jack Cullen and O'Connor with Dublin replying in kind through two placed balls by Colin Currie.Dublin were struggling to come to terms with the pace of the game early on and they were indebted to goalkeeper Dara De Poire for producing a superb save to deny the marauding O'Connor in the 6th minute.

Currie landed the first score from play for Dublin in the 16th minute before the stylish Burke fired over three sumptuous scores to help Dublin to a narrow 0-8 to 0-6 interval lead.

Conor Burke and Currie inched their side three points clear by the 44th minute but a lack of marksmanship allowed Wexford to trim their deficit through Conal Flood, O'Connor and the impressive Damien Reck.

However, McGuirk's goal swung the tie back in Dublin's favour as they avenged their loss to Wexford in their opening championship encounter.

Scorers - Dublin: D Burke 1-3, C Currie 0-5 (0-2f, 0-2 '65'), J McGuirk 1-1, C Burke, C Dowling, J Walsh 0-1 each. Wexford: R O'Connor 0-5 (0-2f), D Reck 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 '65'), C Flood 0-2, J Cullen, G Molloy 0-1 each.

Dublin: D De Poire; J O'Neill, P Smyth, D Ryan; J McVeigh, C O'Sullivan, E Foley; C Ryan, D Gray; C Burke, J McGuirk, D Burke; C Currie, C Dowling, M O'Keeffe. Subs: R Hayes for O'Keeffe (35), D Hawkshaw for McVeigh (40), J Walsh for Gray (41), D Keogh for C Ryan (50), P Feeney for Currie (56).

Wexford: J Henebry; C Murphy, D Byrne, E Molloy; G Molloy, C Firman, J Cullen; D Reck, B O'Connor; L Stafford, C Flood, A Walsh; R O'Connor, C Hearne, Q Saunders. Subs: E Kelly for B O'Connor (44), M Codd for Walsh (50), L Pender for Saunders (59).

Ref: P Burke (Kilkenny)