Dublin make light of Wee effort

Leinster chairman Martin Skelly was moved to describe Dublin as potential All-Ireland champions after this convincing U21 Leinster final display in Páirc Tailteann.

Indeed, the man standing beside him on the podium afterwards wasn’t in the mood to disagree, captain Kevin O’Brien describing it as “step four of six” as they regained the provincial title the county won on the way to winning the top honour two years ago.

Skelly could be forgiven for throwing such garlands, such was Dublin’s might and skill, exemplified by Ciarán Kilkenny who commanded the game and finished with 1-6 to his name.

The Castleknock man, a minor runner-up last year, is hot property with AFL clubs right now, Carlton leading the way for his signature.

The GAA’s loss will be the AFL’s gain if that comes to pass but he’s sure to have a major say in Dublin’s campaign before any flight south.

They stormed into this game, going straight for the juggler and could have had two goals inside the first three minutes.

They had the ball in the net twice but only Kilkenny’s delightful palmed effort stood after a Mark Schutte long ball in.

Paul Hudson followed a disallowed Philip Ryan goal with a point but Louth settled themselves with a William Woods free.

Gary Sweeney and Paul Kirwan then exchanged points before Ben Rogan dusted himself off to slot over a free all of his own making.

Playing into a strong wind, Louth had narrowed the gap to two and looked to be making the most of Dublin’s wastefulness in possession and shooting.

It was via Kilkenny that Dublin put a sheen on the score-sheet that reflected their dominance in every other department.

Two points in the space of a minute, the second a masterful twist and turn of his defender, put Jim Gavin’s side four points ahead.

His team-mates Jack McCaffrey and Hudson, with his second, followed his lead either side of a Ryan shot which was superbly saved by Flanagan.

Now looking good for their 1-7 to 0-4 half-time lead, Dublin faced a weighty wind but they were in no mind to protect their lead.

Beside Barry Hamilton and Rogan efforts in the opening six minutes, it was all Dublin and Louth failed to score for almost 20 minutes.

Kilkenny popped up with another brace in quick succession to push his side seven ahead in the 43rd minute and with that the fizz went out of the game.

He added his sixth point from a free and then struck over another to complete a fine display.

Ruairi Moore’s 55th point for Louth was their first in 19 minutes and was greeted with sunken red shoulders.

A fourth Rogan free in injury-time would have been consolation if Dublin substitute Gerry Seaver didn’t finish off proceedings and with that Dublin’s eyes had already moved on to bigger prizes.

Scorers for Dublin: C Kilkenny 1-6 (0-1 free), P Hudson, M Schutte, G Seaver 0-2 each; G Sweeney, J McCaffrey, E Ó Conghaile, H Dawson 0-1 each

Scorers for Louth: B Rogan (frees) 0-4; W Woods (free), P Kirwan, B Hamilton, R Moore 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: JB McCarty; S George; K O’Brien, M Concarr; L Fletcher, J Kelly, J McCaffrey; E Ó Conghaile, C Reddin; M Schutte, G Sweeney, D Byrne; P Hudson, P Ryan, C Kilkenny.

Subs: H Dawson for Ryan, G Seaver for Byrne (both h-t); J Small for Concarr (46); P Maguire for Hudson (51); E Keogh for Ó Conghaile (58).

LOUTH: J Flanagan; C Murray, D Campbell, T Hand; P Reilly, M McKeown, A Williams; E O’Connor, S O’Hanlon; C Bellew, R Moore, P Kirwan; B Rogan, W Woods, B Hamilton.

Subs for Louth: B Berrill for Bellew (38); E Duffy for Kirwan (43); S McMahon for Reilly (51); S Donnelly for Hamilton (58).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).

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