O'Brien the star as Dubs seal emphatic victory
Dublin 2-21 Longford 0-11
A bout of reality bites for Longford football, just a day after their seniors ambushed Meath in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
Back at the same sun-kissed venue, Liam Keenan's Longford young guns were steamrolled by their Dublin counterparts in this, their first foray into the Leinster U-20 Football Championship.
You didn't have to stare too long at your match programme to discern Longford's tormentor-in-chief: Dan O'Brien accumulated a staggering 1-9, all from play.
The Kilmacud attacker had 1-5 tallied by the break, at which point Dublin's dominance around midfield and in most attacking positions was reflected in a scoreline of 2-11 to 0-8.
The final margin could have been even worse but for a series of sharp stops by home goalkeeper Conor Gallagher.
Dublin boss Tom Gray started six of the team that lost last year's All-Ireland minor semi-final to Derry, along with two survivors from the panel that captured the last ever All-Ireland U21 title - O'Brien and Seán Bugler.
Bugler opened their account inside 40 seconds and though Longford briefly edged in front, the outcome was never in doubt once Dublin struck for a rapid-fire two-goal salvo.
James Madden's blinding acceleration and pass opened up the Longford defence for O'Brien to score with a slick eighth-minute finish. Just two minutes later, the hosts were cut open again and Bugler teed up Tom Keane for a simple fisted goal at the far post.
Aided by Thomas McGann's free-taking, Longford made a decent fist of matters, but they couldn't sustain it on the restart.
SCORERS - Dublin: D O'Brien 1-9, T Keane 1-1, S Bugler, C Howley, C Archer (1 '45', 1f) 0-3 each, J Doran, J Madden 0-1 each. Longford: T McGann 0-5f, P Lynn, S Farrell, A McKeon (f), I O'Sullivan, R Hawkins, R Harkin 0-1 each.
DUBLIN - D O'Hanlon; N Nolan, N Doran, C Smith; K Kennedy, N Matthews, E O'Dea; D Ryan, E Fitzpatrick; S Bugler, D O'Brien, J Madden; J Doran, C Howley, T Keane. Subs: C Hynes for Keane (36), J Holland for Fitzpatrick (48), M Mullin for Kennedy (51), C Archer for Howley (55), K Lynch Bissett for Madden (57), S Farrelly for O'Dea (60).
LONGFORD - C Gallagher; K Gilmore, G Flynn, M McCormack; C Lee, M Cahill, S Farrell; E Farrell, C McElligott; I O'Sullivan, P Lynn, N Farrelly; R Hawkins, T McGann, A McKeon. Subs: D Duggan for Cahill (ht), R Harkin for O'Sullivan (38), R McHugh for McElligott (46), S Campbell for McCormack (48), R Claffey for Farrell (55), A McGee for Hawkins (59).
REF - N Ward (Westmeath).
Royals get going in style
Meath opened their U-20 campaign with a comprehensive win against Wicklow.
Wicklow briefly led in the opening five minutes after Dan Kelly's goal cancelled out Meath's earlier two points.
The Royals, however, struck back with a goal through Sean Reilly and they added another five points as the Wicklow defence struggled to deal with their hard running.
Meath led by 1-8 to 1-3 in the 20th minute and then hit two quick-fire goals, one each from their wing-backs. Sean Ryan's goal, fired into the top corner, was particularly memorable.
They led by 4-8 to 1-4 at half-time and the second half continued in the same fashion. Darragh Campion scored a fine goal while substitute Jordan Morris kicked four points in a good cameo performance.
Both teams were awarded penalties in the last ten minutes - Adam McDermott saving from Dan Kelly, while Frank O'Reilly fired home.
Scorers - Meath: S Reilly 2-3, D Campion, C Moriarty 1-2 each, F O'Reilly (1-00 pen) 1-1, J Morris (2f) 0-4, S Ryan 1-00, S McDonnell 0-2, C O'Byrne (f), A Murphy 0-1 each. Wicklow: D Kelly (f) 1-2, G Murphy 0-3f, R Stokes (f), M Kelly, C Byrne, J Bellamy 0-1 each.
Meath - A McDermott; R Clarke, C Harnan, B O'Reilly; S Reilly, E O'Kelly Lynch, S Ryan; D Campion, A Murphy; E Smith, E Devine, F O'Reilly; C Moriarty, C O'Byrne, S McDonnell. Subs: O Martin for E Smith (42), J Scully for C O'Byrne (42), A Kealy for A Murphy (46), C O'Neill for S Reilly (46), J Morris for C Moriarty (52), R Hand for C Harnan (56).
Wicklow - T McGurk; J Cotter, T Maher, A Curran; F O'Shea, J McCall, T Kearns; P O'Toole, R Kelly; D Kelly, R stokes, G Murphy; A McHugh, M Kelly, C Byrne. Subs: J Bellamy for J McCall (25), C O'Gallchobhair for T Maher (26), K Mullhall for F O'Shea (44), S Gregory for A McHugh (46), C Coffey for M Kelly (52), C Kelleher for R Stokes (66).
Ref - J Hickey (Carlow)
Meath 6-16 Wicklow 1-9