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Who Will Win The All-Ireland U21 Semi-Finals Tomorrow?

Who Will Win The All-Ireland U21 Semi-Finals Tomorrow?
By Conor Neville

The semi-finals of this year's Eirgrid U21 championships are upon us.

The combatants from the famous 2011 All-Ireland minor final meet again in O'Connor Park in Tullamore. Tipperary shocked the Dubs with a last minute goal to silence a rapidly filling Croke Park.

Since then, Dublin have won two All-Ireland U21 titles and dominated the underage ranks while Tipperary's impressive work with the younger grades has powered the county's drive towards respectability at senior level. Dublin's starry forward line including the likes of Cormac Costello, Conor McHugh and Niall Scully has caught the eye most of all while Tipperary are dependent on their 19 year old midfield titan Colin O'Riordan.

The Dubs enter the game as confident favourites and should be expected to progress. Shortly after matters are settled in Tullamore, Markievisz Park in Sligo will be gearing up for the showdown between Roscommon and Tyrone.

What a time it is to be alive and a Roscommon footballer, and to be young is very heaven. The Rossies are now joint favourites for the All-Ireland title with the steam-train from the capital. This is a testament to their pedegree in recent years at this grade and the youngsters impact on the Roscommon senior team.

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The Rossies have won four of the last six Connacht titles and have twice reached the U21 decider in the modern era, losing both times to Dublin in 2012 and 2014. In addition, the current crop of U21 were prominent in Roscommon's promotion to Division 1. To top it off, four of the Roscommon U21 side were influential in DCU recapturing the Sigerson Cup this year.

The Rossies' star men are their full-forward duo of Diarmuid Murtagh and Enda Smith, already established figures at senior level. Tyrone squeezed by Donegal in a tense Ulster final, their first in nine years. In the Ulster final, they looked to have matters in control, with Conor Meyler's goal helping them to a nice lead at half time. They held Donegal at arms length for most of the second half. But Donegal, boasting seniors like Ryan McHugh and Darach O'Connor, rose from a lengthy slumber to rally in the final minutes levelling the match as it entered injury time. Daniel McNulty's injury-time free was coolly dispatched and Tyrone were back in the All-Ireland semi-final at this grade.

As with the Tipp-Dublin clash, the two counties have met each other at minor level in recent memory with Tyrone edging out Roscommon 1-12 to 0-13 in the All-Ireland minor semi-final.

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The likelihood is we will see a repeat of last year's U21 final with Dublin and Roscommon squaring off, incredibly, for the third time in four years.

See also: Which Is The Greatest U21 Football Team Of All Time? - Vote Here

See also: The 5 Greatest Shocks In The History Of The Eirgrid U21 Championship

 

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