Walsh Cup Group One Round Two: Dublin V Offaly – The Irish Daily Star (Page 62) – December 17 2018





DUBLIN continued their impressive start under new boss Mattie Kenny with a comprehensive nine-point triumph over Offaly in yesterday’s Walsh Cup encounter at Parnell Park.

After they overcame the challenge of Carlow last Tuesday evening in Netwatch Cullen Park, the Boys in Blue are on course to secure top spot in Group One – and consequently claim a semi-final berth alongside Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford in the new year.

Following their defeat to Laois seven days earlier, Offaly required a win to keep their own hopes of a last-four place alive.


Dublin led 0-15 to 0-10 at the break and remained in the ascendancy on the resumption with a brace of scores from half-time substitute Conor Burke – with Cian Boland (two) and Dillon also bolstering their respective individual hauls.

James Gorman’s fourth point of the action kept Offaly within touching distance (0-20 to 0-15) moving into the final-quarter, but Dublin maintained a firm grip on proceedings

Fergal Whitely (two), Davy Keogh and Ronan Hayes added their names to the scoresheet off the bench to round off a convincing win.

DUBLIN: S Brennan; L Gannon, C O’Callaghan, B O’Carroll; T Connolly, C Crummey, S Barrett; C Boland (0-4), S Treacy; F McGibb (0-1), C Conway, D Treacy (0-4, 4f); J Hetherton (0-4, 2f), D Burke (0-4), E Dillon (0-4). Subs: F Whitely (0-2) for D Treacy (33 mins), D Gray for Barrett, C Burke (0-2) for Conway (both half-time), L Walsh for Gannon (40), O O’Rorke for D Burke (45), L Gannon for O’Carroll (47), D Keogh (0-1) for O’Callaghan (55), R Hayes (0-1) for Dillon (60), G Whelan for Boland, R Smith for Hetherton (both 65), Hetherton for Crummey (72).

OFFALY: C Clancy; D Healy, P Rigney, T Spain; C O’Brien, E Grogan, N Houlihan; C Taylor (0-1), K Dunne; S Kinsella (0-2), S Dolan (0-2), P Guinan; K Connolly (0-2, 1f), A Treacy (0-6, 4f, 1 ’65’), J Gorman (0-4). Subs: M Egan for Healy (18 mins), C Egan (0-1) for Grogan (half-time), D Murray for Guinan, E Parlon for Gorman (both 60), E O’Callaghan for Treacy (67).

Referee: D Hughes (Carlow).

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Walsh Cup Group One Round Two: Dublin V Offaly – The Irish Daily Star (Page 62) – December 17 2018

Walsh Cup Group One Round Two: Dublin V Offaly – The Irish Times – December 17 2018

Dublin prove too strong for Offaly to earn Walsh Cup semi-final slot

Mattie Kenny’s side win by nine points at Parnell Park

Dublin 0-27 Offaly 0-18

Dublin continued their impressive start under new manager Mattie Kenny with a comprehensive nine-point triumph over Offaly in Sunday’s Walsh Cup encounter at Parnell Park.

After they overcame the challenge of Carlow last Tuesday evening, the Metropolitans are on course to secure top spot in Group One – and consequently claim a semi-final berth alongside Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford in the new year.

Following their defeat to Laois seven days earlier, Offaly required a win to keep their own hopes of a last-four place alive. Thanks to fine scores courtesy of Shane Kinsella (two), James Gorman and Aidan Treacy, they were 0-4 to 0-3 in front during the early exchanges.

This was the signal for Dublin to kick into gear, however – Fintan McGibb, Eamonn Dillon and David Treacy (free) all finding the target in quick succession. While Seán Dolan and Aidan Treacy kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Faithful County, the home side were gradually building momentum in attack.

Donal Burke pointed either side of a Cian Boland effort to create additional daylight between the teams. Burke and Dillon finished the half with a combined tally of seven points and John Hetherton also found the range to give the Sky Blues a commanding 0-15 to 0-10 interval cushion.

They remained in the ascendancy on the resumption with a brace of scores from half-time substitute Conor Burke – the aforementioned duo of Boland (two) and Dillon also bolstering their respective individual hauls.

Gorman’s fourth point kept Offaly within touching distance (0-20 to 0-15) moving into the final-quarter, but Dublin maintained a firm grip on proceedings. Fergal Whitely (two), Oisín O’Rorke, Davy Keogh and Ronan Hayes added their names to the scoresheet late on, rounding off a convincing win for the hosts.

DUBLINS BrennanL Gannon, C O’Callaghan, B O’Carroll; T ConnollyC CrummeyS Barrett; C Boland (0-4), S Treacy; F McGibb (0-1), C Conway, D Treacy (0-4, four frees); J Hetherton (0-4, two frees), D Burke (0-4), E Dillon (0-4).

Subs: F Whitely (0-2) for D Treacy (33 mins), D Gray for Barrett, C Burke (0-2) for Conway (both half-time), L Walsh for Gannon (40), O O’Rorke for D Burke (45), L Gannon for O’Carroll (47), D Keogh (0-1) for O’Callaghan (55), R Hayes (0-1) for Dillon (60), G Whelan for Boland, R Smith for Hetherton (both 65), Hetherton for Crummey (72).

OFFALY: C Clancy; D HealyP Rigney, T Spain; C O’Brien, E GroganN Houlihan; C Taylor (0-1), K Dunne; S Kinsella (0-2), S Dolan (0-2), P Guinan; K Connolly (0-2, one free), A Treacy (0-6, four frees, one 65), J Gorman (0-4).

Subs: M Egan for Healy (18 mins), C Egan (0-1) for Grogan (half-time), D Murray for Guinan, E Parlon for Gorman (both 60), E O’Callaghan for Treacy (67).

RefereeD Hughes (Carlow).

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Walsh Cup Group One Round Two: Dublin V Offaly – The Irish Times – December 17 2018

Post-Match Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster V Bath – Todd Blackadder & Leo Cullen – Press Association – December 16 2018

Leo Cullen points out areas where Leinster can improve despite big win over Bath

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder felt his side’s failure to replicate last week’s positive performance played a big part in their heavy 42-15 defeat to Leinster in Heineken Champions Cup Pool One.

Tries from back rowers Francois Louw and Sam Underhill were dwarfed by the defending champions’ six-try tally – Jack Conan, man-of-the-match Rory O’Loughlin, James Lowe, Adam Byrne, Dan Leavy and replacement Jamison Gibson-Park all touched down at the Aviva Stadium – as the result ruled Bath out of contention for the knockout stages.

“A little bit like yin and yang,” said Blackadder, whose side lost 17-10 to Leinster last week at the Recreation Ground.

“Last week was such a really clinical performance from us. We didn’t do the things tonight that served us as well last week. We just didn’t build any phases whatsoever in the first half.

“We just didn’t make the tackles. I think Jamie (Roberts) missed a tackle for the first try and then we started falling off them.

“There’s no excuses for those things and it’s often the difference in these massive games. You’ve just got to do your basics really well and if you don’t, you get put away.”

While they remain two points behind leaders Toulouse, Leinster are now assured of at least a second-place finish in the pool.

After seeing his charges struggle to create momentum at the Rec, head coach Leo Cullen was pleased with Leinster’s application on a blustery night in Dublin.

“We knew about the threats Bath have in their team going into last week,” said Cullen.

“It’s one thing knowing about it, but then it’s how do we deal with it? We didn’t deal with it particularly well at times last week. I thought we were better around the contact area tonight, even though we gave away a penalty and three points at the very start of the game.

“Overall, I thought we played with a bit more attacking intent and were able to move Bath around a bit more. I thought the guys were very clinical in terms of taking some of the opportunities when they came along. Particularly in the first half.”

Cullen stressed, however, that there are areas of Leinster’s play that require attention ahead of their Christmas return to Guinness PRO14 action.

“We probably don’t make a great read on the lineout (for the first try) and then we find ourselves defending a series of attacks from Bath,” he said.

“I thought they came with a very direct focus in terms of the way they tried to attack us.

“They’re a team that have got a ton of resources behind them and they’ve got so much quality. For us, there was maybe a couple of times in the first half where we don’t quite connect defensively. There’s definitely lots of things we can get better at.”

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster V Bath – Todd Blackadder & Leo Cullen – Press Association – December 16 2018

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Terenure College V Cork Constitution – Irishrugby.ie – December 16 2018

All-Ireland League Division 1A: Round 9 Review

Scorers: Terenure College: Tries: Mark O’Neill, Matthew Byrne; Cons: James Thornton 2
Cork Constitution: Tries: Penalty try, Gavin Duffy, Jason Higgins, Patrick Casey; Cons: Pen try con, Aidan Moynihan 3; Pens: Aidan Moynihan 2

HT: Terenure College 7 Cork Constitution 20

Division 1A leaders Cork Constitution ended 2018 on a high with a convincing 34-14 bonus point victory over bottom side Terenure College at Lakelands Park on Saturday afternoon.

After a penalty try helped them to establish a 20-7 half-time lead, Jason Higgins and replacement Patrick Casey crossed for further tries to move Cork Con five points clear of defending champions Lansdowne heading into the Christmas break.

The wintry weather conditions ensured that the game took place on Lakelands’ all-weather surface rather than Terenure’s favoured grass pitch. Constitution had to absorb some early pressure after their flanker Joe McSwiney was sent to the sin-bin for leading with a high elbow into ‘Nure’s Rory Murray.

Aidan Moynihan kicked 14-man Con ahead with a penalty from the 22-metre line, and he doubled the lead beyond the opening quarter with another difficult kick into the wind. Once they were restored to their full complement, Con went about breaking down Terenure’s defensive resistance. Captain Niall Kenneally carried strongly and was hauled down short before prop Gavin Duffy finished off for a 13-0 scoreline.

The home side clawed back those seven points when they ran a penalty, towards the end of the first half. Scrum half Mark O’Neill managed to dive over for a try which his half-back partner James Thornton converted. However, Con’s powerful 38th-minute lineout maul was dragged down and earned them a penalty try from referee Jonathan Peak.

That was followed by a stop-start third quarter, during which a series of scrums prevented either side from creating a consistent attacking plan. Terenure did well to cope with a rolling maul on the hour mark, winning a turnover scrum but the pressure told soon after.

Another storming break by outstanding centre Kenneally led to a penalty close to the posts. Moynihan went for touch and the decision paid off with the ensuring maul completed by scrum half Higgins’ powerful finish from close range. Moynihan converted to give the table toppers a 20-point cushion.

They secured their bonus point with 12 minutes remaining as Casey rounded off a swift counter attack for his second try in as many games. Centre Adam Lagrue was one of Terenure’s best performers on the day and his lung-bursting break set up full-back Matthew Byrne for his sixth try of the league season.

TERENURE COLLEGE: Matthew Byrne; Erik Wijten, Adam Lagrue, Conor Kelly, Sam Coghlan Murray; James Thornton, Tim Schmidt; Tiarnan Creagh, Robbie Smyth, Jack Aungier, Michael Melia (capt), Matthew Caffrey, Adam Clarkin, Rory Murray, Eoin Joyce.

Replacements: Risteard Byrne, Conor McCormack, Kyle McCoy, Sam Dardis, Mark O’Neill.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; Liam O’Connell, Alex McHenry, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Aidan Moynihan, Jason Higgins; Gavin Duffy, Vincent O’Brien, Brian Scott, Conor Kindregan, Brian Hayes, Joe McSwiney, Kevin Sheahan, Luke Cahill.

Replacements: Patrick Casey, Brendan Quinlan Sean Duffy, Richard Cassidy, Sean French.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on All-Ireland League Division 1A: Terenure College V Cork Constitution – Irishrugby.ie – December 16 2018

Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Hurling Championship Round-Up: The Evening Herald – December 13 2018


Dublin North come good at Hawkfield for final-quarter Birr push

Daire Walsh

A STRONG final quarter paid dividends for Dublin North on Tuesday at Hawkfield, where the defending champions recorded a 1-14 to 2-9 opening round victory over St Brendan’s, Birr in the Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Hurling Championship.

Trailing by three points with 12 minutes remaining on the clock, the Metropolitan outfit subsequently posted 0-5 without reply to book their place in the winners section of tomorrow’s second round draw. After they overcame the challenge of county rivals Dublin South in the closing round of the ‘Group Teams’ preliminary phase just five days earlier, North were hoping to maintain their push for back-to-back titles.

Despite being reduced to 14 men on the stroke of 25 minutes, a goal from impressive Castleknock star Luke Swan (a key performer for the Dublin minor hurlers throughout 2018) offered Paul O’Brien’s side a 1-6 to 0-6 lead at the break.

Their midlands counterparts came to life on the restart with a brace of goals, but thanks to powerful displays by Conor Scully, Kevin Byrne and Liam Dunne, Dublin North ultimately progressed.

Meanwhile, at the National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown on Monday afternoon, Castleknock Community College had two points to spare (2-12 to 3-7) against Terenure College in the Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘B’ Football Championship decider.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Hurling Championship Round-Up: The Evening Herald – December 13 2018

Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘A’ Football Championship Final: Colaiste Eoin V St Fintan’s HS, Sutton – The Evening Herald – December 13 2018



Daire Walsh

JAMIE Ó Conaire bagged a hat-trick of goals at Abbotstown last Thursday to propel Coláiste Eoin towards their third Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘A’ Football Championship title in five seasons.

Previous winners in 2014 and 2016, the Gaelcholáiste had the measure of St Fintan’s HS, Sutton in their latest showpiece appearance. Despite a spirited second-half showing by their opponents, Ó Conaire inspired Eoin to a deserved triumph in the National Games Development Centre.

Midfielder Liam Naughton pointed off an early attack to give Fintan’s a dream start, before Eoin eventually responded through Ó Conaire. Following a rather scrappy opening, the contest kicked into life either side of the first-quarter mark.

Ó Conaire drilled to the net at the end of a fast-paced attack and also added a point from a 35-metre free. Fintan’s subsequently got themselves back into the reckoning – Ciaran Harnett lashing home after a long-distance effort had hit the woodwork.

Coláiste Eoin began to take control as the half progressed, however, with David Puirséil very much to the fore. The effervescent centre-fielder provided the spadework for Ó Conaire and Brendán Ó Connaith goals in the 20th and 22nd minutes respectively, while Conall Ó Riain also a raised green flag for the rampant southsiders.

Even though Jack Gilroy cancelled out an Ó Connaith point, Fintan’s were staring into a substantial 4-3 to 1-2 deficit at the break. They received a lifeline on the resumption in the form of a palmed Gilroy goal, before Ó Conaire fired past Killian Wallace for a third time on 38 minutes.


Fintan’s were functioning at a higher level, though, and they reduced the gap to seven with a swift 1-1 salvo. Half-back Ben Grassick kicked a fine point under pressure and inside forward Conal McEniff fired beyond the reach of Paddy Ó Duibhleacháin via an assist by the dangerous Gilroy.

Courtesy of Cillian Mac Gabhann and Diarmaid Ó Dúlaing scores in succession, Eoin re-focused inside the final-quarter. Finn Alexander amassed a brace of points prior to playing in Gilroy for his second goal of the tie, but it wasn’t enough to deny Coláiste Eoin a merited success.

Scorers – Coláiste Eoin: J Ó Conaire 3-2 (0-1f), B Ó Connaith 1-1, C Ó Riain 1-0, C Mac Gabhann 0-2, D Ó Dúlaing (f), S Ó Brolacháin 0-1 each. St Fintan’s HS, Sutton: J Gilroy 2-1, C Harnett, C McEniff 1-0 each, F Alexander 0-2, B Grassick, L Naughton 0-1 each.

COLÁISTE EOIN: P Ó Duibhleacháin; A Mac Aonasa, H Ó Riada, A Inglis; O Ó Raghallaigh, D Ó Dúlaing, O Mac Anna; C Mac Gabhann, D Puirséil; J Ó hAmaill, J Ó Conaire, C Ó Riain; L Breathnach, S Ó Brolacháin, B Ó Connaith. Subs: L Ó Gormáin for Breathnach, R Ó Riain for Mac Aonasa (both 38), R Ó Conchubhair for Mac Gabhann (50), E Binley for C Ó Riain (56).

ST FINTAN’S HS, SUTTON: K Wallace; S Scannell, S Cullen, M Coulter; B Grassick, R Coyne, G Giles; F Alexander, L Naughton; C White, C Gibney, C Harnett; C McEniff, J Gilroy, D Sheridan. Sub: D Broderick for McEnitt (46).

Referee: D Feeney (Parnell’s).

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Dublin Schools Juvenile ‘A’ Football Championship Final: Colaiste Eoin V St Fintan’s HS, Sutton – The Evening Herald – December 13 2018

Jr NBA Festival At The National Basketball Arena: Ronny Turiaf & Jason Killeen – The Irish Examiner – December 13 2018

Follow your dream, Ronny Turiaf tells Irish NBA hopefuls

By Daire Walsh

He lived the dream on the biggest stage of all and now NBA star Ronny Turiaf is hoping to inspire the next generation of basketball stars to fulfil their potential.

The towering Martinique native won an NBA title six years ago playing alongside LeBron James at the Miami Heat. Over 10 years, he played with some of the biggest club names in the world’s greatest league, such as the LA Lakers, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, before closing out his NBA career at the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012. Yesterday, he was passing on his knowledge at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin, where he acted as an ambassador for a Jr NBA festival that brought together young talent from the four corners of Ireland.

“The biggest thing about the Jr NBA programme, and why I’m proud to be associated with it, is because of the looks I see in the kids’ eyes. To be able to see kids smile and be happy, kids that may be a little bit shy and introverted, like I was in high school, when I was a little kid,” Turiaf explained.

“To be able to see them come alive on a basketball court, that’s what life is all about. That’s why I want to do those things and I want to share experiences with those kids.”

Catering for boys and girls aged 11-12, the Jr NBA Basketball Ireland League has seen 10 Irish clubs joining up with three local primary schools to create 30 teams, each of them representing a specific NBA franchise.

While four of these sides were marked absent, Turiaf was left suitably impressed by the atmosphere generated for the festival.

“There’s been a very good energy. The excitement of the kids is very refreshing and warm. There’s a warmth about here, it must be an Ireland thing.

“To be able to see the impact of 500 kids playing in Ireland right now. The federation behind it, with sponsors like DeCare [Dental] behind it, it really shows that they care about the youth and they care about growing the game. It’s very much fun.”

With 520 career appearances to his name, Turiaf is rightly regarded as one of the NBA’s finest international imports. Whereas France (for whom he earned 100 caps) has been well represented in North America, Tullamore-born Pat Burke is the sole Irish player to have lined out in basketball’s premier professional league.

However, despite seeing the NBA as the ultimate end goal, Gonzaga University graduate Turiaf also a strong advocate for college basketball.

“The opportunities for me is not just from the game of basketball. It’s to be able to see, from an Ireland perspective, a different side of the world. There are so many different avenues that you can actually fulfil your dream.

Yes, the NBA is great, but what college basketball gives you is the opportunity to further your playing career and your education.

“You can get a degree and you can get a masters, and you actually experience the world in a different way. For kids that may need a little bit of extra time, like me. I went to college for four years. I knew I needed to work more than other people to do different stuff. I think it’s a great pathway for sure.”

This is something that Basketball Ireland’s head Of development Jason Killeen can readily identify with. The Limerick man enjoyed memorable stints with US college sides Winthrop and Augusta before missing out on the 2009 NBA Draft.

The Templeogue BC centre hailed the initial stages of the Jr NBA in Ireland as an outstanding success, but feels there is further scope for improvement over the next two years.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic. We’ve had emails from teachers saying the impact that the programme has had on the kids. It has been really good for them to engage. We are lucky enough that we signed a three-year deal with the NBA. This is just year one. We’ve two more years to go after this, which is very exciting,” said Killeen.

“Today, we’ll sit down and look at what we did. Look at what we can do better for next time.

“The clubs that are involved and the schools that are involved this year won’t be involved next year or the year after. We’ll be hitting a whole new demographic and 30 new schools for the next two years.”

Posted in Basketball | Comments Off on Jr NBA Festival At The National Basketball Arena: Ronny Turiaf & Jason Killeen – The Irish Examiner – December 13 2018

Rugby Column Number 135: The Kildare Nationalist – December 11 2018


Leinster grind out win over Bath ahead of return clash at the Aviva

By Daire Walsh

KILL’S James Tracy made a second-half appearance off the bench at the Recreation Ground last Saturday afternoon to help Leinster towards a gritty 17-10 victory over Bath in Pool One of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Ahead of their showdown with the same side at the Aviva Stadium this coming weekend, it was crucial that Leo Cullen’s charges returned to winning ways in the competition.

After their opening round demolition of Wasps, the defending champions were viewed as the team to beat in the 2018/19 campaign.

They came unstuck in a subsequent away trip to Toulouse, losing out by the narrowest of margins (28-27) to the past kings of European rugby.

The Blues remained two points adrift of the French pace-setters heading into round four, though they have a forthcoming rematch pencilled in for January 12 at the RDS Arena.

Following four consecutive starts in the Guinness PRO14, Tracy made way for the returning Sean Cronin in the Leinster front-row.

He packed down alongside Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong, who featured prominently for Ireland in the recent November Series.

All eight of Ireland’s forward division played their part in a successful autumn for the national side, while Noel Reid (a one-cap wonder back in 2014) and James Lowe were the only members of the back-line to remain idle during this international window.

Tracy, Andrew Porter, Jack Conan and Ross Byrne offered a great deal of big-time experience to the Leinster bench, but it was the hosts who drew first blood.

A Henry Thomas try on 21 minutes was supplemented by a James Wilson conversion, giving the English Premiership outfit an ideal platform.

Yet, Leinster fired back through Cronin – newly-anointed World Rugby Player of the Year Jonathan Sexton adding the bonuses to keep his side on level terms at the break.

The flying Jordan Larmour touched down on the restart to swing the pendulum in the visiting team’s favour and Ross Byrne’s 72nd-minute penalty effectively put the seal on their second triumph of the term.

Wilson’s place-kick on the stroke of full-time provided Bath with a potentially crucial losing bonus, though, and doubts have now surfaced about Sexton’s participation in their renewal of acquaintances on Saturday.

While Joey Carbery was absent for Munster’s emphatic triumph over Castres in Pool Two on Sunday, it was a day to remember for fellow Athy man Jeremy Loughman.

The former Ireland U20 international has impressed for the Reds in recent weeks and made his European bow as a late replacement for Dave Kilcoyne.

Eadestown native Tadhg Beirne also completed the full 80 minutes in a comprehensive 30-5 win – a result that keeps Johann van Graan’s men at the summit of their group.

Meanwhile, Newbridge College student Cian Prendergast featured for the Ireland U19s in their Saturday afternoon test with the Australia Schools & U18s at Energia Park.

Prendergast enjoyed a 55-minute run-out as the hosts fell to a 17-5 reversal at the hands of their southern hemisphere counterparts.

Posted in Rugby Column | Comments Off on Rugby Column Number 135: The Kildare Nationalist – December 11 2018

Adult Hurling League Division One Final: Ballyboden St Enda’s V Na Fianna – Dublingaa.ie – December 10 2018




By Daire Walsh

Dublin senior footballer Colm Basquel bagged a first-half goal at O’Toole Park on Sunday morning to help Ballyboden St Enda’s retain their Adult Hurling League Division One title.

This completes an impressive double for Joe Fortune’s men in 2018, following their success over southside rivals Kilmacud Crokes in October’s county final replay in Parnell Park. They subsequently progressed to a provincial decider against Ballyhale Shamrocks last Sunday, which ultimately ended in defeat for ‘Boden.

Yet, despite encountering a stubborn resistance from a 14-man Na Fianna, the Pairc Ui Murchu side got the job done in their final game of the year. While Basquel’s 18th-minute finish offered ‘Boden significant breathing space throughout, Paul Ryan’s five-point haul off the bench was also a crucial factor in keeping their Glasnevin counterparts at bay.

After securing the top-tier crown at the expense of St Brigid’s 12 months ago, ‘Boden safely advanced to another showpiece with 11 wins and one defeat to their name in the current campaign.

Their sole reversal came at the hands of Na Fianna on May 30, when their well-drilled opponents had five points to spare (3-13 to 2-11) at St Mobhi Road. Even though they had the occasional slip-up in the round robin phase of the competition, the northsiders were full value for a spot in this showdown.

In comparison to ‘Boden, who had to work their way through a hectic schedule in recent weeks, Na Fianna were perhaps short of competitive match practice in the build-up to this tie.

They were also facing into a stiff breeze during the opening period and didn’t open their account until the 14th-minute of the play. ‘Boden had hit the ground running prior to that, recording five points on the bounce to give themselves a commanding cushion.

With Conal Keaney playing a roving role around the middle-third, Basquel and Aidan Mellett were left inside as a two-man full-forward line. Adding to Paul Doherty’s deadlock-breaking score, the elusive Basquel split the posts at a right-hand angle to offer his side early leeway.

Doherty added a free after Basquel had been fouled by full-back Ciaran Fanning and also contributed a neat point on the right-wing nine minutes in. Centre-back Simon Lambert stepped forward to bolster ‘Boden’s tally, before Na Fianna finally responded with a Gavin King free.

The gifted midfielder was one of Na Fianna’s finest performers on the day and his outstanding sideline cut inside the second-quarter provided their travelling supporters with a great deal of encouragement.

There was no sign of panic within the ‘Boden ranks, however, and they rattled the back of Jonathan Treacy’s net to stretch themselves into a six-point cushion. Keaney’s long delivery up the left-flank was gathered superbly by Mellett, who released the waiting Basquel for a clinical flick home.

At the end of a 10-minute barren spell for both sides, ‘Boden midfielder Shane Durkin added a long-distance special. Na Fianna did gain some degree of solace in the shape of King (free) and Donal Burke points, but they remained five points in arrears (1-6 to 0-4) during the break.

It has been a collective squad effort for Ballyboden in the past year and this was epitomised by the introduction of Conor McCormack and Ryan either side of the interval. Both man have a vast degree of inter-county experience, having played major roles in Dublin’s Leinster SHC triumph of 2013.

Mere seconds after his introduction as a 33rd-minute substitute, Ryan converted a free on the left-hand touchline. Durkin’s second of the day followed, though Na Fianna weren’t prepared to give up the ghost just yet.

Corner-back Conor Kelly broke up the field to hit an excellent point on the run and King nailed another sideline to keep them in touch. A simple Ryan free settled ‘Boden back into their stride, though, and Na Fianna suffered a hammer blow soon after – central attacker Tomas Watters receiving his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident involving his direct marker Dean Curran.

Although Ryan’s third point increased the gap moving into the final-quarter, Na Fianna dealt admirably with their numerical deficiency. King knocked over a brace of frees – including one from his own 65-metre line.

David O’Connor and replacement James Roche responded in kind for ‘Boden, only for their gutsy opponents to give themselves a potential lifeline on 58 minutes.

Treacy stepped off his line to size up a goal-scoring opportunity at the far end. Via a deflection, he fired past Gary Maguire to cut the deficit down to four. Another inspirational Kelly single kept ‘Boden on tenterhooks, but this is when Ryan displayed his true class once again.

His ‘over the shoulder’ strike was safely slotted between the uprights in stoppage-time and he also found the target via a resulting attack. Treacy tried his luck off another close-range set-piece, but Maguire was able to divert his shot over the crossbar on this occasion.

Na Fianna were searching for their maiden Division One crown and their quest for a groundbreaking victory will continue into next season, as Ballyboden held out in a frantic conclusion.

Scorers – Ballyboden St Enda’s: Paul Ryan 0-5 (3f), Colm Basquel 1-1, Paul Doherty 0-3 (1f), Shane Durkin 0-2, David O’Connor, Simon Lambert, James Roche 0-1 each. Na Fianna: Gavin King 0-6 (4f, 2 s/line), Jonathan Treacy 1-1 (1-1f), Conor Kelly 0-2, Donal Burke 0-1.

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S: Gary Maguire; David O’Connor, Dean Curran, Luke Corcoran; James Madden, Simon Lambert, Stephen O’Connor; Shane Durkin, Niall McMorrow; Conor Dooley, Paul Doherty, Niall Ryan; Conal Keaney, Colm Basquel, Aidan Mellett. Subs: Conor McCormack for Doherty (26), Paul Ryan for Dooley (33), Collie O’Neill for Mellett (44), Finn McGarry for Curran (44, blood), James Roche for Keaney (50), Eoin O’Neill for Basquel (56).

NA FIANNA: Jonathan Treacy; Conor Kelly, Ciaran Fanning, Shane Barrett; Padraig Buggy, Peter Feeney, Sean Burke; Fergal Breathnach, Gavin King; Seamie O’Sullivan, Eoghan McHugh, Donal Burke; Conor McHugh, Tomas Watters, Odhran Malleady. Subs: Martin Quilty for O’Sullivan (43), Dara Malleady for Breathnach (46).

Referee: Dave Aston (Naomh Mearnog).

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Adult Hurling League Division One Final: Ballyboden St Enda’s V Na Fianna – Dublingaa.ie – December 10 2018

All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Club Championship Final Overview: Mourneabbey V Foxrock-Cabinteely – The Evening Echo – December 10 2018


Players’ close bond finally thunders them to their final heroics

Daire Walsh

AFTER the agony of the past four seasons, Mourneabbey finally got to experience the joy of winning in Parnell Park on Saturday evening.

It has been long overdue for a thoroughly resilient bunch and they left the ghosts of finals past firmly in the shadows with a measured and clinical performance against Dublin and Leinster kingpins Foxrock/Cabinteely.

They were full value for their six-point win (1-13 to 1-7) and when you factor in the number of second half goal chances they generated, it could have been even more emphatic.

The close ties that bond this group together cannot be underestimated and it appeared to stand them in good stead amidst the wet and windy conditions at the Donnycarney venue.

Mourneabbey boss Shane Ronayne – whose decision to stay on for another season is now well and truly justified – largely kept faith with the side who fell short to the Cora Staunton-inspired Carnacon in last year’s final.

Fourteen of the starting line-up were retained for this showdown – Sandra Conroy’s inclusion at the expense of defender Emma Coakley being the only change in personnel.

Indeed, 11 of his team were starting their fourth senior club final – while Roisin O’Sullivan is a surviving member of the All-Ireland junior and intermediate successes of 2005 and 2007, respectively. The defensive stalwart acknowledged in the build-up to this contest they had underperformed in previous showpiece reversals to Termon, Donaghmoyne and Carnacon.

Foxrock have also come unstuck against the giants of the club scene in recent campaigns, meaning something had to give in this novel final encounter.

Mourneabbey were conquerors of the Metropolitans at the 2017 semi-final stage – their gripping affair at Bray Emmet’s ultimately decided after extra-time.

As the final scoreline (4-5 to 0-15) suggests, goals proved to be the key to Mourneabbey’s victory on that occasion. It was an entirely different scenario in their latest battle – the long-distance accuracy of the Leesiders helping them to establish a firm foothold in the play.

Although the fifth-minute sin-binning of Foxrock’s Emma McDonagh gave them significant leeway, they registered eight points off their opening nine shots at goal. The only wide they posted in this period was in the direct aftermath of McDonagh’s temporary dismissal. A Doireann O’Sullivan free drifted past the target, but she made amends almost immediately by nailing a difficult set-piece.

A jubilant Ronayne stated after the game that, in comparison to their cautious approach in the early stages of their previous finals, a decision was made to force Fox/Cab on the back-foot from the opening moments of the action. What was perhaps most impressive about Mourneabbey’s display, however, was the balance they achieved between defence and attack. They constantly hunted in packs to deny Foxrock the space they crave and executed a number of turnovers that quickly transitioned into scoring opportunities at the far end.

Even when Foxrock attempted to settle upon McDonagh’s return, Mourneabbey registered 1-3 without reply to give themselves a healthy cushion. Doireann O’Sullivan moved into space to capitalise on Aisling Tarpey’s short kick-out and the gamble paid off for the Rebelettes star. She set-up Laura Fitzgerald for a smooth palmed finish, and though Fiona Claffey broke their resistance with a superb three-pointer, it wasn’t enough to dampen the Mourneabbey mood.

Leading by nine points on the resumption – 1-12 to 1-3 – a different approach was needed from Ronayne’s charges. Despite not cutting loose to the same degree as the opening half-hour of the proceedings, Mourneabbey remained in control of their own destiny.

The key to them seeing out the game – and preventing Foxrock from building any sort of sustained momentum – was their ability to retain possession for long spells. Before the hard-working Eimear Harrington rattled the crossbar with a close-range piledriver, they held onto the ball for over a minute.

Player of the Year nominee Ciara O’Sullivan fired against the woodwork at the end of the same sequence – preceding Harrington’s wayward penalty in the 44th-minute. Harrington lost her footing under the greasy surface as she stepped forward to negotiate this spot-kick, and with the spectre of a hammering looming large if any of these shots had found the back of the net, Foxrock realised there was potential hope on the horizon. Harrington put Mourneabbey’s mind at rest with a well-worked point, though, re-establishing their nine-point lead in the process. Though this was their sole score of the second period, it put paid to any notions of a sterling Foxrock fightback.

Amy Ring’s late three-point salvo added a more favourable reflection to the final scoreline, but they came away knowing they were beaten by a far superior outfit on the day.

In spite of the 1-8 Doireann O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald conjured between them, Mourneabbey’s heroics can we put down to a collective operation rather than any individual feats.

With a sizeable weight off their shoulders, the sky may well be the limit for the new All-Ireland champions. However, before they focus on 2019 and beyond, they can bask in their groundbreaking journey to the promised land of ladies club football.

Posted in Ladies GAA | Comments Off on All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Club Championship Final Overview: Mourneabbey V Foxrock-Cabinteely – The Evening Echo – December 10 2018