Preview: EirGrid All Ireland U21 Final - Dublin v Galway
Saturday April 29
EirGrid All Ireland Under 21 Championship Final
Dublin v Galway, O’Connor Park, Tullamore, 5pm, Live on TG4
By Cian O'Connell
The last ever EirGrid All Ireland Under 21 Final is a match-up worthy of the occasion.
Since Galway defeated Dublin in the 2002 decider the counties have claimed eight titles between them at this grade.
Both teams carry momentum and form into this clash so an intriguing encounter beckons, especially following their respective Semi-Final successes.
In the past two years Dublin have suffered at that stage suffering narrowing losses to Tipperary and Mayo.
The defeat to Mayo was particularly cruel, but Dublin have been efficient throughout the current campaign with the victory over Donegal confirming the potential and pedigree in Dessie Farrell’s panel.
Con O’Callaghan, Dublin’s star turn in attack, was given an early black card, but the Leinster standard bearers were cool and classy enough to cope.
It ended as an afternoon of deep frustration for Donegal with Dublin clearing a demanding hurdle with admirable composure.
Later that day Galway started in blistering fashion scoring 1-7 from their first nine shots against a fancied Kerry outfit.
Galway’s conversion rate dropped significantly eventually registering 2-14 from 37 efforts, but there was a real cut to how Gerry Fahy’s team went about their duties.
A solid midfield platform was provided by Peter Cooke and Cein D’arcy, a minor in 2016, with Kerry unable to secure any decent possession initially.
Galway’s dashing forward unit is blessed with talent and skill illustrated perfectly by the ability of Michael Daly and Robert Finnerty.
Dessie Conneely is another lively attacker and his probable match-up with Dublin’s splendid Eoin Murchan will be worth watching throughout.
In the Independent.ie Sigerson Cup Murchan delivered a string of eye catching displays and is a capable footballer.
Similar to Galway, Dublin also possess quality up front with Cuala dual star O’Callaghan a potent and polished finisher.
Colm Basquel has impressed for UCD and Ballyboden St Enda’s too, while Aaron Byrne has flared to prominence.
Byrne’s four point contribution against Donegal mattered, while Brian Howard was named man of the match in that particular triumph.
How Howard and Andrew Foley fare in their tussle with Cooke and D’arcy will be pivotal as the two teams are nicely stocked with centrefield options.
Westmeath, Longford, Offaly, and Donegal have all been soundly beaten by a resourceful Dublin side, who have developed nicely under Farrell’s guidance.
Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, and Kerry feature in Galway’s list of 2017 scalps, but the Tribesmen and Dublin know that this adventure can only be deemed truly great if one more piece of silverware is added to the collection. That is the considerable prize on offer.