All White’ on the night for Na Fianna in Dublin SFC 1

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Last weekend saw the start of the 2021 renewal of the Go-Ahead Ireland Dublin Senior 1 Football Championship, with plenty of talking points over the course of eight matches shared between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

n Friday night, Na Fianna got proceedings up and running with a relatively routine 1-18 to 0-12 victory over Whitehall Colmcille, with the only goal of the game arriving late on through David Quinn.

By that stage, the Glasnevin outfit were doing just enough to see off their determined opponents, having enjoyed a more than healthy 0-15 to 0-6 interval lead.

There appeared few signs of their ensuing dominance initially as Colmcille started impressively, thanks to early points from Seán Giles, Cormac Costello and Eddie Moran.

However, they couldn’t maintain those early standards as the pace and accuracy of Na Fianna’s attack began to take effect, with James Doran in exceptional form for the winners.

Doran kicked four points from that play in the opening half, in addition to seeing a goal chance cannon to safety off the underside of the crossbar, and his intelligent running led to further scores from both Conor McHugh and David Lacey.

Eoin Murchan and Darragh Kennedy looked to join their attacks from deep when the opportunity presented itself, with the former also denied by the woodwork when through on goal in the 20th minute.

This year’s AFL1 winners struggled to keep that momentum going upon the restart as Whitehall began to enjoy a greater amount of possession in the second half and they trimmed their deficit incrementally before spurning a golden chance in the 42nd minute to put greater pressure on the leaders.

The opportunity arose via the penalty spot following a foul on Enda O’Donnell, but Costello’s effort was repelled by Stephen Murray in the Na Fianna goal, with the St Mobhi Road side easing home with nine points to spare.

It proved even more comfortable for Ballyboden St Enda’s on Sunday afternoon as they pulled away in the second half to cruise past Raheny by 2-17 to 0-8 in what was a repeat of last year’s quarter-final.

On that occasion, Raheny were terribly unfortunate not to prevail, losing out in extra time, but while they kept tabs on Boden in the first half, they will rue not converting at least one of the goal chances that came the way of Seán Grenham and James O’Kane.

Leading by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, last year’s beaten finalists turned on the style in the second half, with the catalyst coming in the 31st minute as Conal Keaney and Alan Flood combined to release Warren Egan for a smartly-taken goal.

The contest was effectively settled five minutes later as Colm Basquel embarked on a trademark slaloming run from deep that culminated with another fine finish at the near post. As Raheny looked to play their way back into contention, St Enda’s were content to keep their scoreboard ticking over through Keaney, Ryan Basquel and Simon Lambert to cruise home by the final whistle.