Boland thrilled with Dublin triumph

Dublin's Under-21 hurlers captured their first Leinster title at the grade since 1972 last night, and afterwards midfielder Joey Boland hailed the 2-18 to 3-9 triumph over Offaly as "an absolutely fantastic win".

Dublin's Under-21 hurlers captured their first Leinster title at the grade since 1972 last night, and afterwards midfielder Joey Boland hailed the 2-18 to 3-9 triumph over Offaly as "an absolutely fantastic win".

The Dubs led by a single point at the interval at Parnell Park - at 1-10 to 2-6 - but the Metropolitans held Offaly scoreless over the final 21 minutes as goals in either half from Ross O'Carroll and Peadar Carton proved decisive.

Midfield is always a crucial sector and Dublin notched 0-11 through their centre-field, with free-taker Alan McCrabbe top-scoring with 0-9.

Joey Boland was a vital part of that midfield partnership and the Na Fianna player was thrilled to play his part in the six-point victory.

"It was an absolutely fantastic win. We were up against it in the second half but I knew we would dig it out. The character in this team is brilliant and we said we would compete," Boland said.

"In the first 20 minutes we dominated and I knew we could do that. They got two lucky goals as far as I am concerned but we came out in the second half and we knew we were starting from scratch. We knew we had to win the second half to win the game, we did that and I am delighted."

Boland pointed to the defeats for Dublin in the last few Leinster U-21 finals as something which was a motivating factor for his team last night.

"We have lost six or seven Leinster finals in the past decade at this level and with the minors winning Leinster two weeks ago and the Dublin senior footballers doing likewise, we couldn't let the side down," he admitted.

"This win was for both ourselves and the fans, along with the huge amount of people doing good work for Dublin hurling in the background. I'm just delighted for all of them."

And Boland is not content with just bringing home Leinster honours - after playing in Dublin's first U-21 provincial triumph in 35 years he has bigger titles in his sights.

"At the start of the year our goal was an All-Ireland title and we are not going to stop until that happens."

Reacting to his side's defeat, Offaly U-21 manager Padraig Horan felt that the better team on the night had emerged victorious.

"I think overall we have no complaints," Horan conceded.

"Dublin were by far the better team and they played some very good hurling. We thought we might do it and we thought we knew Dublin well enough but they played terrific hurling and we can't complain."

Horan felt that Dublin's strength in depth was the deciding factor on the night and the introduction of 2005 Leinster minor-winning captain John McCaffrey was vital with the Lucan Sarsfields player contributing two points.

"Dublin introduced subs that played extremely well such as John McCaffrey and he is a very good hurler. We had heard that he might be playing but we had hoped that he wouldn't be," said the St. Rynaghs clubman.

A two-time All-Ireland senior winner as a player, Horan lamented the fact that the crossover between the senior and U-21 competitions does not allow for the U-21 players to train together as much as he would have liked.

"The unfortunate thing about the Under-21 grade is that you don't have the players together as often as you would like because the senior must take priority. We had a couple of lads on the senior panel and that took priority for them," he added.

However he still was full of praise for the commitment shown by his players during the year.

"At the end of the day, I still think we have a good team and we are very proud of them. We knew that we would have a tough game coming to Parnell Park and so it proved."

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