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Sky Blue minors turn on style to put limited Carlow to sword

DUBLIN turned on the style in the second-half to comfortably account for a limited Carlow by 2-21 to 0-4 in their Leinster Minor Football Championship first round tie at Dr Cullen Park on Saturday evening.

Although leading by 0-7 to 0-1 at the interval, Dublin had struggled to play with any degree of cohesion in the opening period but as Carlow's fitness levels waned as the match progressed, the visitors took full advantage in blowing their opponents away in the final quarter.

Conor McHugh proved Carlow's main nemesis on the night, kicking 10 points in total, six points from play, in an excellent individual display, while fellow dual player Cormac Costello looked especially sharp when introduced at half-time.

Gavin Burke from St Vincent's was another to impress, notching three first-half points before applying the knockout blow with a superbly taken goal in the 51st minute following fine approach work by Niall Scully and McHugh.

Dublin's free-flowing play at that stage was in marked contrast to their somewhat laboured offerings early on, although McHugh kicked the opening point within 16 seconds as the Dubs played with the benefit of a stiffish breeze.

Scully added a free within a minute after a foul on McHugh but the ensuing 13 minutes proved scoreless in an error-strewn opening quarter spoiled by the over-officious refereeing of Anthony Nolan, who booked 10 players in total for largely innocuous offences.


Burke availed of an excellent fetch from Carthy to push Dublin three points clear on the quarter-hour, and further points from Shane Cunningham and Burke in quick succession hinted at a greater degree of fluidity from the visitors.

A 23rd-minute free from Chris Blake finally opened Carlow's account but Dublin finished the half in the ascendancy with a point apiece from McHugh and Burke to open up a six-point lead by the break. David Campbell stretched that advantage directly from the throw-in but Carlow responded through two points from Andrew Beaton, a gentle reminder that Dublin could not take their opponents for granted.

After McHugh pointed in the 39th minute, Dublin were opened up, with only the sharp reflexes of Lorcan Molloy denying Blake and Carlow a route back into the contest.

Suitably warned, Dublin pushed on from that point and Costello threatened on numerous occasions as the limitations of Carlow became increasingly obvious prior to Burke putting them out of their misery with a crisp finish to the net 10 minutes from time.

Shane Cunningham added a second goal a minute later with, fittingly, McHugh kicking Dublin's final three points from play to confirm his exceptional contribution on the night.

Dublin are joined in the Leinster MFC quarter-finals by Offaly, Louth, Meath, Wicklow and Kildare with the losers section deciding the other two placings - the quarters take place on May 19.