This is an article of mine that appeared in the Evening Herald in November.

Benildus blow away local rivals Oatlands to breeze into decider


Thursday November 04 2010

On a wet and windy Monday afternoon at Naomh Olaf GAA Club, highly rated St Benildus secured their place in the decider with a comfortable victory over local rivals Oatlands College.

Benildus were on top of proceedings right from the start, and though their neighbours Oatlands did their utmost to address the balance, they were simply outclassed by the Kilmacud school on the day.

In fairness to Oatlands though, they were playing against a very strong breeze in the opening half.

They already found themselves 1-5 to 0-0 down by the time Mark O’Loughlin opened their account with a point from play on 14 minutes. Full-forward Karl Russell knocked over a brace of scores for Benildus, with a point apiece from Niko Salvino and Barry Hogan being added to by 1-1 from clinical centre-forward and Dublin minor Aodhan Clabby.

Indeed, Clabby’s goal on nine minutes proved to be one of the game’s highlights, as he found the top-corner of Mark Ingram’s net with a fierce drive from all of 50 metres.

He later added to this with a superbly executed sideline-cut after 16 minutes, and the Benildus lead was soon up to 10 thanks to further scores from Salvino and Russell.

Oatlands did register their second score on 24 minutes through a fine David Devereux score from play, but Benildus hit back with their second goal of the game just a minute later, when corner-forward Sean Corcoran kicked to the net from close-range.

This was followed up swiftly by points from Clabby and Russell, and even though Liam Higgens registered a late free for Oatlands, Benildus still held a commanding 13-point lead (2-10 to 0-3) at the half-way stage.

This meant that the second half was only ever going to be a damage limitation exercise for Oatlands, although it was Benildus who drew first blood again, with a point from Clabby, and 1-1 from the always lively Hogan.

It seemed at this stage that things were only going to get worse for Oatlands, but they did start to gather a lot more possession around the middle period of the second half, and midfielder Dillon Mulligan took advantage of this with two terrific scores from play. This was as good as it got for them though, with their final score of the tie being a second Higgins free with 15 minutes remaining.

Benildus, on the other hand, finished strongly with scores from the outstanding Russell and substitute Conor Butler to grant them safe passage to a final that they will be fully confident of winning, if they can maintain their current level of performance.

SCORERS — St. Benildus College: A Clabby 1-5 (2f, 1 s/l), K Russell 0-5, B Hogan 1-2, S Corcoran 1-0, N Salvino 0-2, C Butler 0-1. Oatlands College: L Higgens (2f), D Mulligan 0-2 each, D Devereux, M O’Loughlin 0-1 each.

ST BENILDUS COLLEGE: P Tighe; D Byrne, F O’Donohue, S Mulvaney; D Butler, N Carr, C Gormley; G Whelan, R McGowan; N Salvino, A Clabby, C Devins; S Corcoran, K Russell, B Hogan. Subs: C Butler for Devins (35 mins), C Dolan for Whelan (35 mins), E Murphy for Corcoran (47 mins), CG Murphy for Mulvaney (47 mins); S Gildea for Salvino (54 mins).

OATLANDS COLLEGE: M Ingram; R Carney, A O’Malley, N Murphy; S Boyd, K Murphy, J Butler; D Mulligan, T Clarke; C Kilkenny, D Devereux, L Higgens; M O’Loughlin, J Huban, K Kelly. Subs: I Goulding for Huban (38 mins); S Doughan for Kilkenny (44 mins).

REFEREE: D Donovan (St Mark’s).

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