Two Seans instrumental as Saints deliver goods in second period to seize ‘A’ title from holders
Daire Walsh – 24 October 2013 02:30 PM
ST AIDAN’S 1-15, COLAISTE EANNA 0-12 – Dublin minors Seán Gray and Seán Ryan were in excellent form at O’Toole Park on Tuesday afternoon, as their combined tally of 0-10 helped 14-man Scoil Aodháin to secure the Dublin Schools Hurling ‘A’ title following a stunning second-half display against a highly-fancied Coláiste éanna.
The Ballyroan school were chasing their third successive final victory at this grade having accounted for Ardscoil Rís and St Colmcille’s CS in the previous deciders, but despite having the numerical advantage in the closing moments as a result of Aodháin corner-back Daniel O’Connor’s 51st-minute dismissal, they couldn’t rein in the outstanding challenge posed by their north Dublin counterparts.
In a scrappy opening to the contest, lively Aidan’s inside forward Cathal Doran was on hand to cancel out an early 60-metre free from éanna half-forward Keith Robinson, but the holders soon settled into their stride courtesy of fine scores by Robinson and Eamon Gorman.
Midfielder Gray superbly converted his first score of the game from the right wing 12 minutes in, but thanks to another brace of placed ball efforts by Robinson, éanna soon built up a three-point lead.
Aidan’s were struggling to come to terms with their opponents around the middle third, but they soon burst into life when full-forward Gavin King ran on to a loose ball and proceeded to finish clinically past éanna netminder Andrew Boyd-Lyons from a one-on-one situation.
Now that their confidence levels had been greatly enhanced, Aodháin moved into the ascendancy for the very first time courtesy of scores from Gray and Ryan.
But éanna nevertheless brought a slender cushion into the second half (0-8 to 1-4) thanks to late first-half points by Gorman and Cian Kelly.
Yet, the game was still very much in the balance upon the resumption, and when Aidan’s amassed six scores without reply between the 35th and 46th minutes – from Cathal Doran (two), Gray, King, Robert M Fox and the increasingly influential Ryan – éanna were suddenly in danger of losing the grip on their crown.
Captain Colm Basquel did finally halt this momentum with a point 49 minutes in, but Ryan’s third point of the contest re-asserted his side’s superiority.
A second yellow-card for O’Connor did give éanna some incentive late on, and they reduced the deficit to three thanks to much-needed points from Robinson and James Madden.
Eanna weren’t able to capitalise on their numerical advantage in the closing stages, though, and St Aidan’s sealed a well-deserved triumph in style late on, as Ryan, Gray (two) and King all split the posts in spectacular fashion.
Also taking place in O’Toole Park on Tuesday was the Dublin Senior Hurling ‘A’ Shield showpiece between Clonkeen College and Ardscoil Rís, and with ace inter-county marksman Seán Treacy leading the way from centre-forward, Clonkeen recorded an impressive 4-10 to 1-11 success over the Griffith Avenue boys.
SCORERS – St Aidan’s: S Gray 0-6 (5f, 1 ’65’); G King 1-2; S Ryan 0-4; C Doran 0-2; RM Fox 0-1. Coláiste Eanna: K Robinson 0-7 (7f); E Gorman 0-2; C Basquel, C Kelly, J Madden 0-1 each.
ST AIDAN’S: M Curley; D O’Connor, E O’Donnell, D Gray; J McCloone, K Nangle, J Connell; S Gray, I Jesson; S Ryan, RM Fox, L Kelly; C Doran, G King, C Sheedy. Sub: C Ryan for Fox (59).
COLáISTE EANNA: A Boyd-Lyons; J Holland, D Newell, R Dooley; S Brennan, C Mellett, E Giles; J Mahon, C Basquel; C Kelly, T O’Connor, K Robinson; E Gorman, J Madden, E O’Toole. Subs: A McGrath for Mahon (40), A Mellett for O’Toole (40), C Ryan for Kelly (54).
REFEREE: F McGreevy (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh).