Dublin’s minor footballers hit the road to Pearse Park, Longford to take on the home county in the Leinster MFC quarter-final on Saturday with a 7.00pm throw in.
The young Dubs defeated Westmeath in their opening round game and Dessie Farrell’s charges have impressed all year with a very good MFL campaign. Hosts, and current provincial champions, Longford have been performing well in emerging through the qualifiers route after their opening defeat to Kildare.
With the back door system celebrating its 10th anniversary, All Ireland medal holder Farrell mentioned the benefits that can occur by going down this route: “The back door worked very well for Longford last year as it helps build momentum and I’d imagine they’ll take great encouragement and confidence from their experiences last year when they went on to claim Leinster’’. The former All Star also put out a plea for the Jacks fans to travel to the game.
Farrell will look to the Raheny trio of Rutherson Real, Gavin Ivory and Patrick O’Higgins alongside Ballymun’s John Small to push his side on. Ivory in particular is in the mould of his club mate and former Dubs legend, Ciaran Whelan. The minors of course enjoyed a good run out at headquarters in March against Laois as the county board built up the momentum behind the senior teams. Watching that game, this reporter was impressed by the quick ball to hand movement with overlapping players breaking quickly. Another player to watch out is Ciaran Kilkenny from the Castleknock club who scored an impressive 0-10 in Parnell Park back in March v Louth.
The boys in blue haven’t won a Minor All Ireland since Jim Stynes inspired them to their 1984 victory. A win in Longford over the provincial kingpins would lay down a marker and perhaps make a treble All Ireland win for the capital a possibility.
Dublin (MF v Longford): R O’Hanlon; G Hannigan, R McDaid, E Boyne; J McCaffrey, J Small, R Real; E O Conghaile, P O’Higgins; E Lowdnes, C Kilkenny, C Meaney; S Fulham, G Ivory, D Campbell.