Dublin’s Tom Lahiff and Cian Murphy celebrate with the cup following Dublin’s victory in the Leinster final. [Inpho/Bryan Keane]

Dubs made to fight by Louth

Dublin 1-19; Louth 2-12

Dublin beat Louth out the gate with a 20-point margin 12 months ago and keen observers hadn’t seen a whole lot to suggest that a similar spanking might be on the cards in the Leinster final at Croke Park on Sunday.

Thanks to a new backroom team led by former Dub Ger Brennan, the Leinster and All Ireland titles holders met a much different animal this time around, which knew how to defend and as importantly knew when to attack.

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The result was that while Dublin’s third quarter surge had them seven points to the good thanks to Con O’Callaghan’s opportunistic left-footed strike, even then the men in red had something left in the tank and fought back with a great team goal of their own to cut the final margin to a mere four points.

As moral victories go, this was as good as it gets in Leinster where the Metropolitan outfit have won the last 14 titles, mostly pulling up when putting the likes of Kildare, Louth, Meath or Westmeath to the sword. On Sunday they were behind 0-7 to 0-6 and Louth put up a great second half fight which will please most Gaels who want to see this provincial championship something other than a foregone conclusion every year.

In its own way, the result and the performance may be just what Dublin Manager Dessie Farrell will welcome as he can force his squad to up their game in training before he announces his next line-up in the opening game of the All Ireland series.

Dublin's Man of the Match Brian Fenton was fulsome in congratulating Louth on their performance.

"Glad to get out alive. Louth gave us our belly-full there today, credit to them. They made things so hard for us. We absolutely expected that coming here because they're a class team. They defended so well, made things so hard for us. We couldn't get any of our real key inside forwards on the ball.

"They just came out to spoil us and that happened for large parts of the game. We probably caught them on the break there for our goal so all in all probably lucky to get out the door with a win and just glad to get out on top," he added

Dublin: S Cluxton; C Murphy, M Fitzsimons, E Murchan; T Lahiff (0-1), J Small, Bugler (0-1); B Fenton (0-3), J McCarthy; C Kilkenny (0-1), C Costello (0-6, 0-4f), N Scully; P Mannion (0-1), C O’Callaghan (1-4, 0-1m), C Basquel (0-1) Subs: J McCaffrey for Scully (49), P Small (0-1) for Basquel (49), B Howard for Lahiff (64), R McGarry for Bugler (64), K McGinnis for Mannion (71).

Louth: N McDonnell; D Corcoran, P Lynch, D McKenny; N Sharkey, A Williams, C McKeever; T Durnin (0-1), C Grimes (0-4); C Downey (0-1), B Duffy, C Lennon (1-0); L Grey, S Mulroy (0-6, 0-5f), C Keenan (1-0)

Subs: D Campbell for Sharkey (49), C Early for Williams (56), C Byrne for Durnin (59), R Burns for Keenan (59), L Jackson for Grey (65).

Ref: N Mooney (Cavan).


Tailteann Cup

Antrim 4-12; Tipperary 2-13

Laois 2-17; Carlow 2-17

Down 1-20; Limerick 1-6

Fermanagh 3-16; Wicklow 0-9

London 2-20; Offaly 0-12

Sligo 2-21; Wexford 2-15

Kildare 3-25; Longford 1-11

Leitrim 0-17; Waterford 0-12

All-Ireland U20 Football semi-finals

Kerry 0-12; Meath 0-11

Tyrone 3-18; Roscommon 3-8

Leinster SFC Final

Dublin 1-19; Louth 2-12

Munster SHC (Round Robin)

Cork 3-28; Limerick 3-26

Leinster  SH Championship

Dublin 3-32; Antrim 1-18

Carlow 1-20; Kilkenny 1-20

Ulster SF Championship Final

Donegal 0-20; Armagh 0-20

(Donegal win 6-5 on penalties after AET)