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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 16 January 2021

McHugh helps Dublin squeak past resolute Cavan and into All-Ireland final

Dessie Farrell’s under-21 side needed a late pointed free to take their place alongside Roscommon in the final.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

DUBLIN 0 – 11

CAVAN 0 – 10

DUBLIN BOOKED THEIR place alongside Roscommon in the All-Ireland under 21 football final after scoring the only three points of the final 10 minutes to overcome a resolute Cavan side.

Dessie Farrell’s Dubs had a Cormac Costello free to thank for the victory, but with Cavan doing most of the front-running it was Conor McHugh who should receive the plaudits for keeping Dublin in touch.

Cavan’s own danger man Joe Dillon was sent to the stands 15 minutes before the end, his black card received for needlessly dragging a defender to the turf.

Dillon’s first score of the game had put Cavan in a commanding position after 15 minutes as Dublin racked up a series of wides as Cavan took a 0 -04 to 0 -01 lead. And when Dublin had clawed their way back to within a point, Dillon found space again to take the Breffni Blues up to six points before Enda Flanagan and Costello traded points before the half ended 0 – 07 to 0 – 05 in Cavan’s favour.

Thomas Hayes fired in a brilliant score in the opening minutes of the second period and another Flanagan free gave Cavan a four-point lead before the Dublin comeback started to slowly roll with Emmet O’Conghaile, Paul Mannion and Gavin Ivory raising the flag.


After Dillon’s black card, Cavan brought the solid Conor Moynagh back into the line. Despite an early injury, he along with Killian Clarke managed to thwart Dublin time and again. But as time wore on, the more gaps began to open up.

Kevin Bouchier restored a two-point lead for Cavan to the delight of the majority of supporters in Portlaoise, but Costello and then McHugh claimed superb scores from play to level the tie.

In the final minute of regulation time, Ivory was adjudged to be fouled by Moynagh after his shot had pinged off the outside of the post. Costello converted the straightforward free and from there on in, Dublin were able to retain possession and kill off the contest.

Dublin scorers: C Costello (0-04, 2f), C McHugh (0-03) E O Conghaile (0-01) P Mannion (0-01), N Scully (0-01), G Ivory (0-01).Cavan scorers: J Dillon (0-03), E Flanagan (0-02, 2f), T Hayes (0-02).  Boucher (0-01), M Argue (0-01), C Brady (0-01).

Dublin: L Molloy, R McGowan, D Byrne, R McDaid, J Small, J McCaffrey, B Fenton. P O’Higgins, E Lowndes, N Scully, S Boland, N Walsh, C McHugh, P Mannion, C Costello.

Substitutes: E O Conghaile  for O’Higgins, G Burke for Walsh, G Ivory for Boland, Shane Cunningham for Scully.

Cavan: J Farrelly, A Watson, K Clarke, B Fortune, C Brady, P Faulkner, G Smith, CP Moynagh, L Buchanan, P Graham, D McVeety, M Argue, E Flanagan, J Dillon, T Hayes.

Substitutes: A O’Hara for Moynagh, Boucher for Dillion, Moynagh for Fortune, C Byrne for Flanagan, E Hession for Graham, G McGovern for Buchanan.

As it happened: Dublin v Cavan,  All-Ireland U21 football semi-final

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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