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Dublin and Galway Advance to Leinster U21 Hurling Semi-Finals

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By Mark Casserly

Dublin 2-13  Westmeath 1-13

Dublin were made to work hard for a place in the semi-finals as they had to overturn a 4 point half-time deficit at TEG Cusack Park. A goal in each half from full-forward Donal Burke (2-3) helped the Dubs to victory as the pushed on in the final few minutes. Twins Killian (1-7) and Ciaran (0-6) Doyle starred for the hosts as they goaled after only 90 seconds. Ciaran Doyle then pointed a magnificent sideline as Michael Ryan’s side got off to a great start. This helped Westmeath to a 1-9 to 1-5 lead at half-time. However, Dublin were a much better side after the break with Burke and midfielder Fergal Whitely, who both returned to the starting 15, to the fore as despite hitting 19 wides, Paul O’Brien’s team progressed to a semi-final with Wexford.

Dublin – Dara Perry; Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Smyth, Shane Howard; Eoghan Conroy (0-1), Conor Burke, Daire Gray; Fergal Whitely (0-2), Lee Gannon; Ciaran Dowling (0-4), Eoghan Dunne, Ronan Hayes (0-2); Cian O’Sullivan, Donal Burke (2-3), Paul Crummey. Subs: Conor Ryan for Gannon, Colin Currie (0-1)for Dunne, Cillian Costello for O’Sullivan, Jack McVeigh for Howard, Aidan Mellett for Dowling.

Westmeath – Brian McHugh; Naoise McKenna, Kevin Regan, Sean Lancaster; Joe Rabbitte, Conor Kane, Darragh Reilly; Plunkett Maxwell, Conor McCrossan; Eoin Keyes, Killian Doyle (1-7), Ciaran Doyle (0-6); Jimmy Goonery, Niall Mitchell, Fiachra Heeney. Subs: Paddy Doody for Heeney, Eoghan Ahearn for Doody, John McCarthy for Keyes.

Galway 1-20  Offaly 0-08

Galway cruised past Offaly to set-up a semi-final clash with Kilkenny after a 15 point win over Offaly in Tullamore. Evan Niland (0-9 in total ) helped the Tribesmen to an 0-11 to 0-04 lead at half-time with Cianan Fahy (0-4) and Sèàn Blehane (0-3) also a constant threat throughout.  Things got even worse for the home side with just over 10 minutes to play when Oisín Kelly received his second straight red card in the space of three weeks for comments made to referee David Hughes (Carlow). Offaly goalkeeper and captain Eoghan Cahill had a brilliant game as he made a couple of superb saves, but there was nothing he could do when excellent wing-back Seán Loftus (1-2) fired to the net for Tony Ward’s charges.

Galway – Eanna Murphy; Shane Bannon, Fintan Burke, Ian O’Shea; Caelom Mulry, Mark Hughes, Sean Loftus (1-2); Tomás Monaghan, Jack Grealish; Seán Blehane (0-3), Brian Concannon (0-1), Cianan Fahy (0-4); Ronan Murphy, Evan Niland (0-9), Kevin Cooney. Subs: Cian Salmon for Murphy, Jack Canning (0-1) for Cooney, Andrew Greaney for O’Shea, Conor Caulfield for Mulry, Liam Forde for Blehane.

Offaly – Eoghan Cahill; Dylan Watkins, Michael Gilligan, Cathal O’Meara; Ross Connaughton, Ben Conneely, Cathal O’Brien (0-1); Paddy Delaney, Joe Keenaghan; Wayne Mooney (0-1), Oisín Kelly, Liam Langton; Brian Duignan (0-5), David Buckley, Conor Langton. Subs: Joe Maher for Connaughton, Ciarán Cleary for Mooney, Eoghan Callaghan for C Langton, Eimhin Kelly for L Langton, Eoin Woods (0-1) for Duignan.