Title-holders Dublin survived a major scare from Wicklow at Parnell Park last night to eventually book their place in the semi-final of the Leinster U20 Football Championship.
After registering 1-2 without reply to restore parity at the start of the second half, Kevin O’Brien’s Garden County threatened to pull off an almighty shock. Yet with the excellent Fionn Murray posting six points, the Sky Blues did just enough to progress.
While it was initially tight during the early exchanges - Kevin Quinn impressed in the Wicklow attack - Dublin discovered their top form just shy of the first half water break, with Luke Swan and Mark O’Leary points being supplemented by a superb Sean Foran goal.
Murray added 0-2 in the closing moments of the opening period, but Matthew Ging (free) and Quinn also found the range at the opposite end to keep Dublin’s interval lead at five points (1-7 to 0-5).
Although the Metropolitans seemingly remained in control, their lead was spectacularly wiped out within six minutes of the restart.
A quickfire 1-1 salvo from substitute JP Nolan brought them roaring back into contention and Dublin breathed a sigh of relief when a Cillian McDonald penalty drifted over the crossbar.
Last year’s All-Ireland finalists finally settled with a ’45’ from the in-form Murray, who was also on target either side of a McDonald point to give Tom Gray's team a two-point buffer (1-10 to 1-8) at the second water break.
Remarkably, it was until deep into stoppage-time that the next scores of the game arrived with full-forward Swan firing over two points in quick succession to ultimately edge Dublin into the last-four.
F Murray 0-6 (1 ’45’, 1f), S Foran 1-0, L Swan 0-3, M L’Estrange, M O’Leary, M Lavin, 0-1 each.
: JP Nolan 1-1, C McDonald (1 pen), K Quinn 0-3 each, M Ging 0-1 (f).
J O’Neill; C Tyrrell, A Rafter, B Millist; R Dwyer, A Waddick, M L’Estrange; M O’Leary, A Fearon; M Lavin, L O’Dell, S Foran; F Murray, L Swan, L Ward.
: L Murphy-Guinane for Foran (30+3), C Chawke for Ward (44), S Forker for O’Leary, D O’Dowd for Lavin (both 55).
J Sargent; C Grimes, M Stone, T Moran; G Fogarty, Z Cullen, C Maguire; E Byrne, S O’Dowd; K Quinn, J Keogh, C McDonald; M Ging, S Crowley, E Darcy.
: JP Nolan for Darcy (23), J Brady for Ging (38), O Cullen for Byrne (45), A Daly Danne for Maguire (55), B Hickey for Crowley (61), S Daly for McDonald (65).
J Hickey (Carlow).