Third-string Dublin was crowned O’Byrne Cup champions for the ninth time on Sunday when 10 unanswered points allowed them to pull away from Louth. The result does not bode well for the upcoming Leinster Championship
The hosts led 0-5 to 0-3 in Drogheda after 23 minutes but scores for Niall Scully, Paul Hudson and captain Ciaran Reddin before the break allowed the All-Ireland champions a 0-6 to 0-5 interval lead.
This was a developmental Dublin outfit featuring none of last year’s All-Ireland winning panel. But they were still good enough to regain this cup last won in 2015 as they went 0-13 to 0-5 clear by the three-quarter mark.
Substitute Colm Basquel started the run before Conor Mullaly and Hudson put four between them. Another Hudson free made it 0-10 to 0-5 with Conor McHugh, Reddin and Hudson adding for the eight-point margin.
Louth broke their duck in the 54th minute when Pauric Smith found the target for their first score in 33 minutes. Sam Mulroy added another in an eight-minute spell for Colin Kelly’s charges as further points for Smith and Mulroy to leave it 0-14 to 0-9 on 62 minutes.
Dublin were under pressure though Hudson did score from play but when Basquel found the net two minutes later, any doubts were over. Hudson and Ross O’Brien contributed Dublin minors either side of a Bevan Duffy Louth score leaving it 1-16 to 0-10 before the game finished with drama.
Both teams suffered black cards but found goals in an exciting finish with Dublin’s Emmet O’Conghaile and Louth’s Derek Maguire forced to leave early. Padraig Rath came up the field for a consolation Louth goal in the third minute of added time. But Dublin had the final say as Killian O’Gara got Dublin’s second three-pointer 60 seconds later.
Dublin – Paul Hudson 0-6, Colm Basquel 1-1, Killian O’Gara 1-0, Ciaran Reddin 0-3, Conor McHugh 0-1, Jason Whelan 0-1, Shane Cunningham 0-1, Niall Scully 0-1, Ross Hazley 0-1, Ross O’Brien 0-1.
Louth – Pauric Smith 0-5, Padraig Rath 1-0, Ronan Holdcroft 0-2, Sam Mulroy 0-2, Bevan Duffy 0-1.