Dublin 1-13 Donegal 0-09
Dublin qualified for their first All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship final since 2014 with a comfortable win over Donegal at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Glenn O’Reilly scored twice as Dublin edged a defensive opening half to lead by 0-05 to 0-02 at the break.
Aaron Byrne hit a string of points, and Sean McMahon’s goal put the game beyond Donegal’s reach.
The Dubs were the more creative of the sides, and combined solid defending with pace and accuracy on the break as they booked their place in the decider.
Moments after he had opened the scoring, Dublin full-forward Con O’Callaghan was black-carded for a drag on Conor Morrison after just three minutes.
The Dubs bossed possession in those early stages, stretching the lead through midfielder Tom Fox and O’Reilly.
Donegal defended in numbers, and slowly played their way into the game, but had shot five wides by the time Michael Langan drilled a 45-metre free between the posts.
Dublin’s well-organised defence gave little away, with Eoin Murchan, Darren Byrne and McMahon performing with discipline.
With both sides defending deep, scant scoring chances presented themselves by way of the counter-attack, with O’Reilly restoring the Leinster champions’ four points advantage on the breakaway, before Michael Carroll responded in kind at the other end.
Dublin led by 0-05 to 0-02 at the break, but the Ulster champions adopted a more attacking approach and were rewarded with two points in the opening three minutes of the second half, Jason McGee and sub Niall O’Donnell trimming the deficit to a single point.
Aaron Byrne’s thrusting runs helped the Dubs to get back on top, and his two points made it a four points game, 0-8 to 0-4, with 40 minutes on the clock.
Byrne won the free that he converted himself to further stretch the advantage, and Donegal went a quarter of an hour without a score, before Langan landed a free
Corner-back Byrne got in on the scoring act as the Dubs turned the screw, and they put the outcome virtually beyond doubt when McMahon pushed forward to take Cian Murphy’s pass and rifle a shot to the roof of the net on 50 minutes.
Dublin: E Comerford; D Byrne (0-01), C O’Shea, E Murchan; B Howard, S McMahon (1-00), C Murphy (0-02); A Foley, T Fox (0-01); G O’Reilly (0-02), A Byrne (0-04, 2f); C Basquel, D O’Brien, C O’Callaghan (0-01, f), D Gavin.
Subs: C Sallier (0-01) for O’Callaghan (3 BC), A Elliot for Foley (21), D Spillane for Fox (36), A McGowan (0-01) for O’Reilly (47), S Smith for Sallier (56), S Clayton for Basquel (59)
Donegal: D Rodgers; C Morrison, S McMenamin, B McCole; C Mulligan, D Ó Baoill, E Bán Gallagher; T McClenaghan, J McGee (0-01); M Carroll (0-01), S McBrearty (0-01), M Coyle; L Connor, M Langan (0-03, 2f), J Brennan.
Subs: C Doherty for Coyle (14), N O’Donnell (0-02) for McBrearty (23), E O’Donnell (0-01) for Connors (37), R Carr for Mulligan (42), C McGonagle for McCleneghan (49), McBrearty for O Baoill (54)
Referee: J Bermingham (Cork).