| 6.5°C Dublin

mobhi men march on

Na Fianna sent out a serious message of intent at O'Toole Park on Sunday afternoon, when an absorbing display of attacking football helped the Glasnevin outfit to comfortably book their place in the Dublin MFC 'A' decider against Kilmacud Crokes.

Stephen Burke and goalkeeper Eoin Short did their best to keep Thomas Davis in contention during the early moments of the contest, but with 10 players getting their name on the scoresheet, Na Fianna were always a few steps ahead of their opponents.

The Northsiders had started the game in a determined mood, and after a Paul O'Dea point had opened the scoring three minutes in, midfielder Cathal Doran fired brilliantly past Short following neat build-up play by Paul O'Hanlon and Seán Caffrey.

The Davis defence were already coming under severe pressure, but a brace of scores from half-forward Burke - either side of a Conor Dolan effort for Na Fianna - did keep them within touching distance.

An outstanding point-blank Short save from O'Dea also raised the spirits of the Tallaght men, but Na Fianna quickly responded with unanswered scores courtesy of O'Dea, centre-forward Aaron Byrne and O'Hanlon.

Short also denied Caffrey just shy of the first-quarter mark, before the energetic Éanna O'Toole registered a badly-needed point for Davis on 17 minutes.

Na Fianna's Alistair Fitzgerald and Oisín Kelly proceeded to swap scores, but for the remainder of the opening period, the Mobhi Road side developed significant momentum.

O'Hanlon, Fitzgerald and wing-back Glen O'Reilly (free) split the posts in quick succession, and when Caffrey raised a white flag 27 minutes in, it meant that all six forwards had contributed to the scoreboard.

Davis midfielder Kelly eventually halted this scoring sequence from another placed ball, only for back-to-back points by Fitzgerald and Byrne to present Na Fianna with a seemingly insurmountable 1-12 to 0-5 mid-way advantage.

The Kiltipper Road brigade did open the scoring after the restart through a 39th-minute Burke point, but Na Fianna enhanced their already considerable tally with a clinical Fitzgerald three-pointer on 40 minutes.

Fresh legs

A seventh Davis point did follow from a Noel McGill '45', but owing to the introduction of fresh legs from their bench, Na Fianna continued to force the opposition rearguard on to the back-foot.

Gavin King finished coolly to net 14 minutes from the end (after a brilliant one-two with Caffrey) and as the final whistle approached, Caffrey started to come into his own. Having gone close on a number of occasions, he finally got the better of Short with a superb strike from close-range.

Indeed, his second goal arrived with just six minutes remaining on the clock, and thanks to a further point from play by the dynamic attacker, Na Fianna's cushion had risen to an astonishing 24 points.

Centre-back Gary Cummins (who had moved to the edge of the square by the end of the game) did grab a consolation goal for Davis, but with Caffrey bringing his personal haul to 2-4 late on, Na Fianna cruised to victory.

Scorers - Na Fianna: S Caffrey 2-4 (0-1f); A Fitzgerald 1-3; G King 1-1; C Doran 1-0; A Byrne, P O'Hanlon, P O'Dea 0-2 each; G O'Reilly (f), E Murchin, C Dolan 0-1 each. Thomas Davis: G Cummins 1-0; S Burke 0-3; O Kelly 0-2 (2f); N McGill ('45'), E O'Toole 0-1 each.

NA FIANNA: J Carey; K McDonnell, M Oliver, J Connell; P Wade, E Murchin, G O'Reilly; S Ryan, C Doran; C Dolan, A Byrne, P O'Hanlon; S Caffrey, A Fitzgerald, P O'Dea. Subs: G King for O'Dea (36), O'Dea for Dolan (39), C Stacey for Doran (42), P Buggy for O'Reilly (42).

THOMAS DAVIS: E Short; J McDonnell, D Kerr, G McKenna; C Molloy, G Cummins, D Joyce; O Kelly, N McGill; S Owen, E O'Toole, S Burke; D O'Neill, L Quinn, K Murray. Subs: P Clinton for O'Neill (45), S Gibson for McGill (50), C Prendergast for Owen (54), C Nugent for Quinn (54).

MENTORS - Na Fianna: J Caffrey, J Murchin, N Cooper, T Lynch, S Coughlan. Thomas Davis: E O'Toole, F Troy, B McNulty, G Deasy.

REF: S Finucane (Templeogue/Synge Street).

WIDES - Na Fianna: 10(3); Thomas Davis: 6(1).

CONDITIONS: Mild and dry.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Seán Caffrey (Na Fianna).


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