Roscommon vs Dublin: We have live score commentary updates from Tullamore for the U21 All-Ireland football final
Hot favourites in underage finals have a dreadful record, partly because young players can believe the hype that has been written and spoke about them. They think that they only have to turn up on the day and get caught out, while others simply freeze on the big occasion and do not perform.
Few finalists in recent years have had as much media hype about them as Dublin have had, prior to their Cadburys All-Ireland Under-21 Final against Roscommon at Tullamore on Sunday. However they only have to remember back to last September when their minors were shocked by Tipperary in the All-Ireland Final, to know that games are not won on paper and that medals have to be earned.
This Roscommon side will relish a crack at their much vaunted rivals as they have been underdogs twice already this year and have emerged victorious. They were not overly fancied for their opening tie in Connacht against Mayo in Kiltoom. The Mayo side had defeated the reigning champions Galway in their previous game and were confidently expected to pull through. However Roscommon had other ideas and a Donal Shine goal was the crucial score in a 1-11 to 0-10 victory. Their reward for that win was a home final against Sligo in Dr. Hyde Park. To be honest the challenge put up by Sligo was not the greatest and with Shine again raising a green flag – from a penalty – they coasted home by 1-13 to 0-8.
Roscommon were again outsiders when they took on Ulster champions Cavan at Longford last month in the All-Ireland semi-final. This was a game riddled by nerves on both sides and as a result there was little in the way of free flowing football. At half-time there was only two points between the sides, with Roscommon 1-3 to 1-1 in front, and there was still only a point in it with eight minutes remaining. That was when Colin Compton struck with the golden goal that sent the Connacht side into this final.
Although not impressive in this game Roscommon should not be under estimated. Under manager Nigel Dineen they have established a willing attitude to help and work for each other and they will fight for every ball for the whole 60 minutes. In full-back Cathal Duignan, the Daly brothers Conor and Niall, captain Paddy Brogan, midfielder Cathal Shine and forwards Compton and Smith they have players capable of mixing it with anybody.
However they will need all of them to play at 100% on Sunday, as this Dublin side have looked something special to date. On their way to the Leinster final they ran up impressively large scores like 2-21 against Laois and 4-15 against Westmeath and in the decider they faced Louth in Navan. This turned out to be the Ciaran Kilkenny show as he notched up a sparkling 1-7, in which all but one point was from play, as Dublin eased home by 1-16 to 0-8.
They squared up to Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final at Portlaoise last month. The Munster champions started well and after ten minutes led by 0-5 to 0-1, but after that Dublin took over completely. Two goals by Philly Ryan and a third by Jack McCaffrey saw them in front by seven points after just two minutes of the second-half. It was a lead that was never threatened. In the end they ran out easy winners by 3-11 to 0-14. A frightening aspect of this game for Roscommon was the fact that Ciaran Kilkenny had a quite game and scored just one point and still Dublin ran riot. In Paul Hudson and Ryan they have two other two outstanding forwards, Ciaran Reddin played exceptionally well in midfield, McCaffrey at half-back was a joy to watch, while when called into action St. Vincent’s man Michael Concarr dealt comfortably with anything thrown at him in the full-back line.
Roscommon will give it everything in this final and will play to the very end. But this Dublin side have scored no less than 11-75 in their march here and it is this scoring power that should be decisive on Sunday, provided previous lessons have be learned