Fianna’s finest in fast lane
Oliver’s haul helps Mobhi boys to burn off Vincent’s
DUBLIN U-16 “A” HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
NA FIANNA……………………………………………… 1-10
ST VINCENT’S…………………………………………… 0-4
By Daire Walsh
A HAUL of 0-7 from Matthew Oliver was of major importance for Na Fianna on Saturday afternoon, as the Glasnevin boys made light of the treacherous weather conditions at O’Toole Park to secure the Dublin Under-16 ‘A’ Hurling Championship crown at the expense of near neighbours St Vincent’s.
This victory capped a memorable couple of weeks for underage hurling in Na Fianna, as they also captured the Under-15 ‘A’ title a fortnight ago, and with the likes of Donal Burke and Colin Currie featuring on both teams, the future is certainly bright on Mobhi Road.
With a significant breeze to their advantage during the opening period, Vincent’s were hoping to build a positive early platform.
Instead, though, it was Na Fianna who enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, as Oliver had three points to his name inside the opening five minutes.
Oliver was roaming effectively in the Na Fianna forward line, but Vincent’s finally opened their account nine minutes in with a fine score on the right-wing by Oisin Lanigan.
The Marino outfit restored parity courtesy of two points in the space of 60 seconds from Lanigan and William Maloney.
With Na Fianna opting to employ a sweeper for much of the first half, it was no surprise this showpiece game was developing into a low-scoring affair, and a full 10 minutes after their previous score, Lanigan chipped in with his third point of the day at the end of an incisive run.
Na Fianna finished the half impressively, however, as points by Oliver and Currie (a current star for the Ardscoil Ris under-16 side) gave them a slender 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
There was a sense at this point that Vincent’s might rue the six wides they registered before the break, and centre-back Cathal Doran quickly added to Na Fianna’s cushion with a marvellous point from distance moments after the resumption.
Like their opponents in the opening half, Na Fianna had to wait another 10 minutes for their next score, but thanks to their impenetrable defence, they were still firmly in the ascendancy.
Once again it was Oliver who came up with the goods on this occasion with a pointed free from a distance of 40 metres, and his 51st-minute effort from play ended another lengthy period without a score.
Given the way the elements had taken shape, it seemed inevitable that scores would become infrequent, and in spite of their best endeavours, Vincent’s couldn’t add to their scoring tally past the 21st minute.
They were still in contention heading into the final ten minutes, but a clinical Luke Fenton goal from close-in for the saffron and blue with seven minutes remaining put the result beyond any doubt.
This three-pointer offered plenty of breathing space to Na Fianna in the dying moments, and with replacement Dylan Foy and the terrific Oliver raising white flags, they were able to ease their way over the line.
SCORERS – NA FIANNA: M Oliver 0-7 (5f), L Fenton 1-0, C Doran, C Currie, D Foy 0-1 each. ST VINCENT’S: O Lanigan 0-3 (1f), W Maloney 0-1.
NA FIANNA: E Skelly; M Sewell, P Feeney, S Jamieson-Murphy; P Buggy, G King, S Baxter; C Doran, D Burke; J Green, M Oliver, L Fenton; C Currie, C Casserly, D MacHugh. Subs: D Foy for Casserly (44), D Murtagh for Currie (58).
ST VINCENT’S: D Perry; D Beakey, K Coyle, C Reynolds; C Ryan, E Mac Domhnaill, M O’Keeffe; S McCaw, D Kirwan; O Lanigan, M Galinis, L Murphy; M Dunleavy, W Maloney, C Burke. Sub: D Confrey for Dunleavy (36), A Doherty for Galinis (60).
REFEREE: P Buggy (Naomh Olaf).
WIDES: Na Fianna: 8 (1+7). St Vincent’s: 8 (6+2).
MENTORS: NA FIANNA: D Feeney, B Fenlon, P Oliver. ST VINCENT’S: N Lanigan, P Quinn, F Brady, J Dunleavy.
CONDITIONS: Wet and windy.
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Matthew Oliver (Na Fianna).