ISLES SECURE JUNIOR TITLE
Finglas outfit claim ‘A’ crown
DUBLIN JHC ‘A’ FINAL
ERIN’S Isle produced a magnificent second-half display at Parnell Park last Saturday evening, when they secured their fourth Dublin Junior ‘A’ Hurling Championship title at the expense of St Mark’s.
Isles had qualified for this decider with a semi-final success over St Brigid’s at the beginning of September, while Mark’s also impressed in their 2-23 to 2-12 win against St Finian’s, Swords in Ridgewood Park. The latter side included veteran Dublin star David ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan (who returned to the club at the start of 2017 after a spell with Ballyboden St Enda’s) in their starting line-up, and he broke the deadlock with an opening minute free in the Donnycarney venue.
Either side of the corner-forward’s second point of the contest, Sean McCann and James Hilliard were on target for the Tallaght men, who developed an early four-point advantage. Following some early wayward efforts, Isles eventually got their account up and running with long-distance frees from Conor Carney in the 9th and 14th minutes, and a subsequent score from play by Graham Williams reduced the gap to a single point. Mark’s regained their composure with back-to-back efforts by Hilliard and O’Callaghan, and because the wet conditions were causing disruption to the flow of the game, every score was going to be vital. Another Carney free was cancelled out by the ever-dependable O’Callaghan, but thanks to a hard-earned point courtesy of centre-forward Fran Carroll, Isles were just two points in arrears (0-7 to 0-5) at the midway stage in the action.
Indeed, they managed to level matters within six minutes of the restart, as substitutes Michael Donohoe and Conor Donohoe both split the posts at the end of well-worked moves. This offered momentum to the northside club, and after Carney enhanced his personal haul with two crucial scores from placed-balls, a second Michael Donohoe point suddenly gave the Fingal men a 0-10 to 0-7 cushion.
O’Callaghan halted this scoring sequence with a pointed free on 44 minutes, and Mark’s remained in touch as a result of traded scores between Carroll and Dean Kavanagh. Yet, when consecutive points from Carney (free) and Williams were followed by a stunning 53rd-minute Carroll goal, Isles appeared to place the outcome beyond any doubt.
However, Mark’s showed great resilience in the closing moments, and O’Callaghan’s 1-1 haul from close-range frees helped to reduce their deficit. The McGee Park side had a new lease of life, and Ryan Farrell’s first of the day set-up a tense finale for their opponents.
A Carney free on the hour settled the Erin’s Isle nerves, though, and after O’Callaghan had a stoppage-time free from 40 metres cleared off the line, they were able to celebrate their first junior triumph since 1979.
Scorers – Erin’s Isle: Conor Carney 0-7 (6f, 1 ’65’), Fran Carroll 1-2, Graham Williams Michael Donohoe 0-2 each, Darren Kelly, Conor Donohoe 0-1 each. St Mark’s: David O’Callaghan 1-6 (1-4f), James Hilliard 0-2, Sean McCann, Ryan Farrell, Dean Kavanagh 0-1 each.
ERIN’S ISLE: Derek McCabe; Paul Holohan, Garreth Cronan, Eoin Connaghan; Dale Murray, Lorcan Finnegan, Darren Kelly; Gavin Farrell, Paul Varszegi; Conor Carney, Fran Carroll, Mick Morgan; Darren Hanlon, Keith Dunne, Graham Williams. Subs: Conor Donohoe for Varszegi (17), Michael Donohoe for Morgan (h-t), Robbie Walsh for Kelly (36), Sean Darcy for Hanlon (51).
ST MARK’S: Colm O’Shea; Mark O’Meara, Karl Masterson, Patrick Murphy; David Glynn, Sean McCann, David O’Flaherty; James Hilliard, David Kearns; Joey Cannon, Shane Galvin, Karl Hoare; David O’Callaghan, Ryan Farrell, Richie Neville. Subs: Jonathon Bryan for Masterson (25), Dean Kavanagh for Galvin (39), Colm Donohoe for Neville (41).
Referee: Gerard Delaney (Ballyboden St Enda’s).