Monday 20 November 2017

Laois star Lowry dismisses talk of poor vintage for Dublin U-21s

Laois U21 football captain Eoin Lowry is presented with the February’s EirGrid Player of the Month award Rosemary Steen, Director of Public Affairs at EirGrid Photo: Sportsfile
Laois U21 football captain Eoin Lowry is presented with the February’s EirGrid Player of the Month award Rosemary Steen, Director of Public Affairs at EirGrid Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

With the Dublin seniors cruising through their league and expected to rattle through Leinster once again, their age grade sides are making similar progress. The minors will contest the Leinster league final in Parnell Park this afternoon while immediately beforehand, the Dublin U-21s take on Laois in a EirGrid sponsored provincial semi-final.

The conventional wisdom is that the Dublin U-21s aren't as strong as they have been in recent seasons.

Perhaps that is based on the fact that only Con O'Callaghan, their dynamic full-forward who hit 1-7 to see off the challenge of Meath in the last round, has been involved with the seniors, though that could be read as more of a reflection of the strength of Jim Gavin's side.

Laois U-21 star Eoin Lowry dismisses the notion that this Dublin side are vulnerable and it's a view backed up by the bookmakers who have the hosts as short as 1/4 to win this afternoon.

"I wouldn't say they are not as strong as they were last year," said the O'Moore captain.

Clinical

"It is Dublin at the end of the day. Some people were saying they weren't as clinical against Meath and how Meath had chances to win the game, but Dublin still came out on top.

"It is Dublin and we are Laois, we've got two games under our belt and we are confident going into the game but we wouldn't be entering it believing they are any worse than they were in recent years." Lowry's schedule has been busy the last few weeks. As well as lining out with the Laois seniors, he helped UCD win their emotionally-charged Sigerson Cup title and went straight into action for the U-21s.

The programme of games nearly took its toll. This is Lowry's fourth year with the U-21s but each of those campaigns have been dogged by injury.

"I broke my collarbone the first year, my metatarsal the second year and tore my hamstring the third year," he explained.

"I did play against Dublin last year but I wasn't 100pc, so this is my only year that I'm after getting a good rattle at it.

"I picked up a small bit of a niggle against Louth. I came off early in that match with a bit of a hamstring strain. But it's nothing major and I should be fine for the Dublin game. I wasn't 100pc against Wicklow either but the extra week was good."

Laois were handsome winners over the Wee County in their first game and survived something of a scare against Wicklow to set up a showdown with the Dubs. They trailed by seven at one stage in that game but recovered to win by two.

"We showed good character, we never really panicked. We were seven points down at one stage and we were kind of scratching our heads for a small bit but again we didn't panic," said Lowry.

"Wicklow did come out flying in the first half and they got two very good goals. The important thing was that we kept to the plan and stayed focused.

"At half-time we knew obviously we'd have to improve. We didn't take our chances when we were going forward so we just regrouped at half-time."

That day Laois hit an impressive 20 points to underline that the strength in their team lies in the forwards. Along with Lowry, Tom Shiel and Evan O'Carroll carry a significant threat.

And Lowry is confident they can carry the fight to Dublin on their own patch.

"I have played there a few times and I know a few of the other Laois lads have as well," he says. "It's a great surface and what else would you want to be doing on a Saturday afternoon only playing Dublin in Dublin?

"In my opinion the venue doesn't have a major factor in the result."

Irish Independent

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