GAA: LEINSTER SHC
North lose out to impressive St Brendan’s in second league outing despite Power surge
DUBLIN North exited the Leinster Schools Senior ‘A’ Hurling League at the group stages yesterday, courtesy of a 2-17 to 0-14 defeat to an impressive St Brendan’s, Birr side.
Despite being on the same number of points as their Faithful County rivals, Paul O’Brien’s outfit miss out on a spot in the knockout phase on score difference. After Brendan’s lost out to Good Counsel, New Ross in their opening round game at MW Hire Training Centre, Dunmore on October 11, the stakes were considerable in advance of this encounter.
The Metropolitans kick-started their seasonal journey with an emphatic 13-point win (2-24 to 1-14) over Good Counsel at the DCU Sportsgrounds seven days earlier. As a result, they knew a second consecutive triumph would guarantee them a semi-final place alongside the winners of Roinn One – which features St Kieran’s College, county rivals Colaiste Eoin and Borris VS.
North managed to make home comforts count in their favour against Good Counsel – and Brendan’s were seeking their own form of territorial advantage in a must-win game. There was little to separate the two sides during the opening half-hour, with both defences keeping a tight rein on the opposing forward lines.
Thanks in no small part to excellent points from Cillian Hayes and inter-county star Darragh Power, North found themselves on level terms with Brendan’s at the interval (0-8 apiece). They last appeared in a provincial league final three years ago and they remained firmly in contention when the action resumed.
Power was a starting midfielder for Dublin in their magnificent Leinster final triumph against Kilkenny back in June, when the Sky Blues edged an extraordinary 13-goal thriller (6-19 to 7-12). Along with the prominent Hayes, he capped an accomplished individual performance with three points from open play.
North’s second period challenge never quite materialised, however, and Brendan’s assumed firm control of the proceedings. While it wasn’t always plaining sailing for the hosts, they registered a brace of goals to leave their opponents with an uphill task.
They battled gamely for the remainder of the action, but Dublin North’s focus will now turn to the defence of their Leinster Championship crown – which is set to begin on November 24.
Meanwhile, Dublin South will be hoping for greater joy in their upcoming group encounter with Kilkenny CBS – having already defeated St Peter’s, Wexford in an opening day fixture.