Dominant Dublin third string claim O'Byrne Cup after slick final display
Dublin 2-16 Louth 1-10
Afterwards, Colin Kelly stood before us and drew a deep breath.
“I’m going to have to listen to a load of stuff now about the Dublin third team,” sighed the Louth manager.
It was the only topic of discussion in Drogheda.
A panel of players taken almost exclusively from those who didn’t make last year’s squad had just flattened a Louth team buoyed by early season promise - and a rare away win in Meath - on their own turf.
The 2-16 to 1-10 scoreline did nothing to flatter a Dublin team who, in the absence of the squad that won last year’s League, Leinster and All-Ireland titles, hoisted the one remaining available trophy.
Clearly, Louth had invested much in winning. This result, its manner and the constitution of the team that inflicted it, stung badly.
For Dublin, a drizzly afternoon up the M50 was an almost complete triumph.
A turbo-charged spell either side of half-time saw them kick 10 points to no reply and even in the ragged, occasionally narky closing stages, they had the presence of mind to finish the job with a couple of beautifully crafted goals from substitutes, Colm Basquel and Killian O’Gara.
Some of yesterday’s panel boosted their stock to the sort of levels that should see a start in Breffni Park in six days time.
The most obvious example being Niall Scully, who followed up his match-winning performance in Newbridge last Sunday with a similarly stylish and effective display here.
Passing, ball-carrying, tackling – it was all there from a player with prospects both bright and immediate.
Louth started well and in Pauric Smith (0-5) they had a man with his cross-hairs set but from a 0-5 to 0-3 lead in the 27th minute, they collapsed under Dublin's slicker play and trailed by 0-13 to 0-5 by the 55th minute.
Only for an outstanding one-on-one, pointblank save from Evan Comerford on Tommy Durnin, they might have built a decent lead but Dublin's quality was obvious and the move that led to Basquel's goal exemplified it.
SCORERS – Dublin: P Hudson 0-6 (3f), C Basquel 1-1, C Reddin 0-3 (1 ’45), K O’Gara 1-0, N Scully, J Whelan, C Mullally, S Cunningham, C McHugh, R O’Brien 0-1 each. Louth: P Smith 0-5, P Rath 1-0, R Holcroft, S Mulroy (2f) 0-2 each, B Duffy 0-1.
DUBLIN: E Comerford; R McGowan, E O’Brien, J Smith; R Gaughan, C Reddin, C Mullally; J Whelan, R Hazley; N Scully, S Boland, N Walsh; C McHugh, S Cunningham, P Hudson. Subs: C Basquel for Boland (h-t), E Ó Conghaile for Hazley (h-t), T Shields for Mullally (39), G Sweeney for Walsh (51), K O’Gara for Cunningham (55), S Newcombe for Whelan (62), R O’Brien for McHugh (67).
LOUTH: C Lynch; P Ruth, P Reilly, K Carr; D Maguire, D McMahon, A Williams; T Durnin, A McDonnell; J Stewart, P Smith, B Duffy; C McKeever, J McEneaney, R Holcroft. Subs: R Burns for McEneaney (39), A Reid for McKeever (39), D Byrne for McMahon (42), E O’Connor for Durnin (48), S Mulroy for Holcroft (51), R Moore for McDonnell (65), R Nally for Smith (67)
WIDES – Dublin: 11 (7 + 4). Louth: 11 (8 + 3).
BOOKED – Dublin: (Ó Conghaile 39, 73, Whelan 45, McHugh 52, smith 71). Louth: (Duffy 33, McDonnell 34, Reilly 52, Mulroy 55, O’Connor 72).
BLACK CARD – Dublin: 1 (Maguire 75)
SENT OFF - Dublin: 1 (Ó Conghaile 73, second yellow)
REF: J Hickey (Carlow)
ATTENDANCE: 3,500 (Est.)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Niall Scully (Dublin).