Wednesday 19 December 2018

Dublin crush Underdogs' dream as Skerries star Smith stakes his claim for 2019

Dublin 5-17 Underdogs 1-3

Eoin Murchan was in action for Dublin against the Underdogs. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Eoin Murchan was in action for Dublin against the Underdogs. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Niall Scully

STEPHEN SMITH did his chances of inclusion in Jim Gavin’s early 2019 panel no harm as he led the Dubs to a 26-point victory in tonight’s TG4 challenge as the Underdogs left Parnell Park with their tails between their legs.

The quick-silver Skerries Harps forward led the Underdogs defence on a merry dance, scoring 1-3 in the first half alone on his way to an overall tally of 2-4, before being substituted in the 41st minute.

Smith had two points from play on the board by the 14th minute as the Dubs, who included All-Ireland winners Mick Fitzsimons, Jonny Cooper and Eoin Murchan in their starting 15, before the boys in blue struck for their opening goal. Smith, a member of the 2017 All-Ireland winning Dublin U21 team, carved through the Underdogs defence before finishing to the net with his left foot.

In the 23rd minute Smith turned provider, following a clever offload from full-forward Oisín Lynch, for Cormac Diamond to palm home a second goal.

By the break the Dubs were 2-8 to 0-2 clear, despite the Underdogs operating with a massed defence, following points from Diamond, Smith and Aaron Byrne.

Both the Underdogs points came courtesy of converted frees by Nigel Rabbitt.

The one-way traffic continued in the second half with Smith getting his second goal within the opening minute of the half.

Ballinteer St John’s Robbie Gaughan put Smith through on goal with a well weighted handpass, with the Skerries man applying a clinical side-foot finish.

Impressive midfielder Darren Gavin, also on last year’s triumphant U21 team, got his name on the scoresheet.

Dublin’s fourth goal came in the 40th minute when Ballyboughal’s Gerry Seaver raised a green flag to extend their lead to 4-12 to 0-3.

The pain continued for the Underdogs with Kevin Callaghan, Colin Doyle and Seán Caffrey - son of 1983 All-Ireland winner John - kicking points as Dulbin sailed into a 4-16 to 0-3 lead.

The Underdogs rallied late on and were rewarded with a penalty that was converted by substitute Richie Greene, but it was the Dubs who had the last word when Conor Halpin hit goal number five.

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