DUBLIN MINOR ‘A’ HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP GROUP TWO
ST Vincent’s qualified for the knockout rounds of the Dublin Minor ‘A’ Hurling Championship with an accomplished group stage victory over Whitehall Colmcille at Collins Avenue on Sunday morning.
Both teams entered this contest with one win from their opening two games in the competition.
While Kilmacud Crokes were already assured of a place in the last-four, this was essentially a shootout to decide who would join the Stillorgan men in extending their respective campaigns.
Ciaran P Murphy and Sean Foran produced strong performances throughout for Whitehall, but courtesy of powerful displays in attack by James Mulcahy, Rory O’Neill and Darach McBride, it was Vincent’s who ultimately prevailed.
Whereas Whitehall edged past Na Fianna at Cloghran two weeks ago (1-17 to 2-13), Vins suffered a 0-20 to 1-13 loss against Crokes in Pairc Naomh Uinsionn on the same day. Reverse results on the opening weekend of Group Two left the sides neck-and-neck in the table, albeit with the Marino men holding a significant scoring advantage over their neighbours.
They stormed into the play with unanswered points by McBride, Mulcahy and O’Neill, before Foran’s long-distance effort got Whitehall up and running. There was little sign of panic within their ranks, even though Vins wing-forward Liam McGovern splits the post on the left-wing.
In the space of 10 minutes either side of the first-quarter mark, Colmcilles registered six points in succession to significantly boost their prospects. Murphy, Cian Boland and underage county star Lee Gannon were on target for the hosts, who grew in stature as the action progressed.
An excellent Murphy brace was supplemented by another Foran strike – following admirable persistence from Adam McDermott.
Mulcahy second of the day brought Vins’ barren spell to an end and half-back Adam O’Connor cut the gap to a minimum (0-7 to 0-6). Whitehall were playing with real conviction in attack, though, and Gannon set-up Murphy for a clinically-struck goal on 22 minutes.
Momentum appeared to be on their side approaching the break, but instead it was Vins who enjoyed the brighter end to the period. After Mulcahy’s 0-2 salvo got them back on track, O’Neill’s speculative shot crept into the right-hand side of the Whitehall net.
McBride swiftly added to the Vins tally with another point, giving the visitors a 1-9 to 1-7 buffer during the interval. Traded scores between Mark Sweeney and Whitehall’s Sean Finn kept them in the ascendancy when the action resumed and Mulcahy bolstered their cushion at the beginning of a whirlwind third-quarter.
Perhaps unfortunate to find themselves staring into a three-point deficit, Whitehall replied through the reliable duo of Murphy and Gannon. If this was throwing down the gauntlet to Vins, they issued an empathic response.
O’Neill and McBride enhanced their own personal hauls with outstanding individual contributions and it was then the turn of substitute David O’Sullivan to get in on the scoring act. Capitalising on hesitancy in the Whitehall full-back line, the towering attacker flicked past Cathal Hogan for a second Vins goal.
A six-point lead – 2-13 to 1-10 – provided them with substantial breathing space moving into the closing stages of the tie. Murphy (two) and McDermott did their level best to maintain the Whitehall challenge, but with Mulcahy registering three points in addition to an O’Neill single, Vincent’s looked set to ease through.
Foran’s 58th-minute goal – via Ciaran George’s long delivery – offered Whitehall a new lease of life, only for their counterparts to settle with McGovern and McBride points. With netminder Shane O’Leary in fine form, Vincent’s held off a late Colmcilles charge to claim a much-desired triumph.
Scorers – St Vincent’s: J Mulcahy 0-8 (4f), R O’Neill 1-3, D McBride 0-4, D O’Sullivan 1-0, L McGovern 0-2, A O’Connor, M Sweeney 0-1 each. Whitehall Colmcille: Ciaran P Murphy 1-6 (0-3f), S Foran 1-2, L Gannon 0-2 (1f), S Finn, A McDermott, C Boland 0-1 each.
ST VINCENT’S: S O’Leary; M Rooney, A Gilroy, S Gormley; M L’Estrange, S Lowry, A O’Connor; C O’Brien, M Sweeney; D McBride, R Finn, L McGovern; J Mulcahy, R O’Neill, C Fogerty. Subs: D O’Sullivan for Fogerty (h-t), D Culligan for Finn (44), S Boggan for O’Neill (59).
WHITEHALL COLMCILLE: C Hogan; C George, J Thorp, S Giles; N Power, Cian Murphy, E Moran; S Foran, A McNally; C Gleeson, L Gannon, Ciaran P Murphy; S Finn, A McDermott, C Boland. Subs: N Carroll for Gleeson (39), P Moloney for Finn (54).
MENTORS – St Vincent’s: Ray O’Connor, Simon McBride, Gearoid Quinn, Ivor O’Connor, Ray O’Neill. Whitehall Colmcille: David Timlin, Diarmuid Murphy, Harry Bodie, Robbie George, Brian Fox.
Referee: Jason Buckley (Setanta).
WIDES – St Vincent’s: 7 (4+3). Whitehall Colmcille: 11 (8+3).
CONDITIONS: Sunny conditions with just a gentle breeze.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: James Mulcahy (St Vincent’s).