CADBURY’S ALL-IRELAND UNDER-21 FC SEMI-FINAL:
Roscommon 0-8 Dublin 2-10, Kingspan Breffni Park
Dublin will contest the All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship final for the first time since 2003, after coming through tonight's semi-final encounter with Roscommon at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Two goals in the opening three minutes set the young Dubs, managed by Jim Gavin, on their way but Roscommon dug deep to make a real game of it in this Cadbury's sponsored clash.
There were obvious early nerves in this Roscommon's first All-Ireland semi-final in 11 years. Niall Kilroy pointed them ahead after only 33 seconds but a mistake by Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O'Malley, as he went up for a high ball, allowed David Quinn slip home Dublin's opening goal.
Barry O'Rorke and Ciaran Dorney landed points, either side of a fourth minute penalty from Dean Rock, to move Gavin's charges into a stunning 2-2 to 0-1 lead.
But the Leinster champions played second fiddle to the Rossies over the remainder of the first half. Donie Shine, Niall Carty and Brian Murtagh all pointed as Jimmy Gacquin's side roared back into contention, trailing by 0-4 to 2-3 at half-time.
Roscommon continued to have the better of play as the second half but they missed a plethora of scoring chances, with some hard tackling from Dublin doing the trick.
When Dublin centre-forward Ted Furman was sent-off for his second bookable offence and Shine and Darren McDermott scored successive points, Roscommon looked set to take charge.
But a Gary Sweeney point from the tightest of angles provided some much-needed inspiration and they raised their game tremendously in the closing stages.
The Dubs kept one or two forwards up front and allowed the rest of their team to track back behind the ball. The tactical switch saw them break forward together with menace, setting up points for the likes of Cian Mullins and substitute Robert McCarthy.
Indeed, McCarthy was a key figure for the Dubs, scoring three points in the final minutes as they pushed clear and made the game safe. Rock was also on target before Shine registered his fourth point of the night for Roscommon, but there was no denying that Dublin's quality has shown through - although going down to 14 men was probably the match-winning moment for them. They will certainly need an improved all-round effort to beat Donegal in the May 1 final.