AHL DIV. 1 ROUNDUP – 16TH MAY
ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: JUNE 16
By Daire Walsh
BALLYBODEN St Enda’s moved back to the top of the Adult Hurling League Division One table with a 1-22 to 0-16 triumph over St Brigid’s at Pairc Ui Murchu on Saturday evening.
Defending champions ‘Boden had slipped down to second as a result of their 3-13 to 2-11 defeat at the hands of Na Fianna – who traded places with their southside counterparts – at the end of May.
However, after Crumlin narrowly defeated the Glasnevin men at Pearse Park (3-15 to 1-20), they have now regained top spot moving into the round seven fixtures on July 11. ‘Boden secured the 2017 league title against Brigid’s, who entered this contest on the back of a nail-biting win against Faughs in their previous encounter.
With a strong breeze blowing in their favour, ‘Boden raced in front with eye-catching scores from Collie O’Neill, Paul Doherty, Dean Curran and Niall Ryan. James Madden and Dublin county star Shane Durkin also impressed in defence, while Doherty’s dead-ball prowess ensured that Brigid’s were generally kept at arm’s length.
As ever, Paul Winters (who bagged two goals in Dublin’s agonising Championship loss to Galway seven days earlier) provided an active threat in the Brigid’s attack. Luke Purtill, Daire Plunkett and Brian Moran also led the way for the Russell Park side, though ‘Boden nevertheless brought a commanding 0-15 to 0-6 cushion into the break.
Yet, the strength of the elements ensured that a stirring Brigid’s comeback couldn’t be ruled out on the restart. Thanks in no small part to a series of Winter scores, the gap was reduced to four points on 48 minutes.
However, ‘Boden ultimately got themselves back on track. Doherty and Eoin O’Neill both found the target, before Ryan placed the outcome beyond doubt with a superbly-taken goal. In addition to the aforementioned Durkin, the hosts also benefitted from the big-game experience of David Curtin, Conor McCormack and Simon Lambert.
They have now recorded five victories from their six outings to date, leaving them primed for another title charge in the coming months.
Elsewhere, St Jude’s lost ground on the top-two with a 0-15 to 1-13 reversal at home to Lucan Sarsfields. Although they hit the ground running at Tymon North courtesy of Cian Ó Riain Broin and Danny Sutcliffe points, Jude’s suffered a sucker punch in the form of a seventh-minute Tommy Somers penalty for Lucan.
Fionn Ó Riain Broin kept Jude’s in contention throughout the opening period, but with Chris Crummey excelling on his return from inter-county duty, Lucan were five points to the good (1-8 to 0-6) at the midway stage.
With four wins on the bounce prior to this clash, Jude’s had been favourites against a Sarsfields outfit that were still searching for their first league success of 2018. Even though Fionn Ó Riain Broin and Diarmuid McLoughlin continued to display fine form, Lucan remained in the ascendancy throughout the third-quarter.
A Ciaran Mangan equaliser set-up a gripping conclusion, but the visitors ultimately dug deep to lift themselves away from the drop zone. Jude’s, on the other hand, remain in third – two points adrift of Ballyboden and Na Fianna.
The respective campaigns of Kilmacud Crokes and St Vincent’s received a much-needed boost, as they comfortably overcame the challenges of O’Toole’s (2-17 to 0-13) and Faughs (1-24 to 0-18).
Meanwhile, All-Ireland champions Cuala will travel to Clonshaugh on Monday (June 18) for a re-arranged top-flight meeting with Craobh Chiarain.