Dublin, Meath, Westmeath and Wicklow all secured their place in the knockout stages of the Leinster minor football championship last night, joining Kildare who wrapped up a semi-final spot with their win over Kilkenny on Tuesday evening in Nowlan Park.
They will be joined by the winners of Laois and Longford who meet on Saturday evening in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, with a draw enough for Laois to secure top spot and the other automatic semi-final place, alongside Kildare.
Westmeath are guaranteed a slot in the quarter-finals but will move straight into the last four if Longford pick up a home win, and the Lake County will certainly bring plenty of confidence into that tie after racking up a 4-12 to 0-8 win over Carlow tonight at TEG Cusack Park.
They got off to a flying start with a goal from Luke Buckley, but it was Athlone player Shane Reid who was the star for the rest of the game, firing in a hat-trick.
Goals were key down the road in Tullamore as well, where Dublin hit the net early through Robbie Bolger and Fionn Murray to take a nine-point lead after 20 minutes, but Offaly rallied well with Morgan Tynan, Cormac Delaney and Darragh Flynn all in good scoring form. Several missed goal chances, including two penalties, proved costly however as Dublin ran out 2-13 to 0-13 winners.
Dublin will now play Wicklow in the quarter-final round, with Wicklow also in flying form after they hammered Louth, 5-18 to 0-10, in Aughrim. Eoin Doyle (2) and Matthew Ging netted in the first quarter to quickly settle any home nerves with Joe Prendergast and Conor Fulham adding late green flags to further emphasise their dominance.
In the night’s other game, Meath made short work of Wexford at Navan, with six different players finding the net in a 6-13 to 0-7 win.