AHL DIV. 1 ROUND-UP: FEBRUARY 24
ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: FEBRUARY 24
By Daire Walsh
Ballyboden St Enda’s enjoyed a winning start to the defence of their Adult Hurling League Division One crown with a 1-14 to 0-6 triumph over St Vincent’s on Sunday morning.
On their home turf of Pairc Ui Murchu, ‘Boden produced a dominant display to overcome the opening round challenge of the Marino men. En route to securing their seventh Senior Hurling Championship title in 2018, the southsiders defeated Vins by four points (2-16 to 0-18) at the semi-final stage.
Despite their respective retirements from inter-county duty, Gary Maguire and Shane Durkin will continue to play active roles for ‘Boden at club level. They were joined in Sunday’s squad by the likes of Simon Lambert, Niall McMorrow and Conor Dooley – who have all featured for the Sky Blues in recent times.
Facing into a stiff breeze, Vincent’s dominated possession in the early exchanges. ‘Boden held firm in defence, however, with the likes of James Madden and Luke Corcoran leading the way. Following a barren spell in front of the posts for both teams, ‘Boden attacker Paul Doherty broke the deadlock with a long-distance effort.
Some smart play in the opposition half helped the hosts to stretch their lead, before James Roche’s clinical strike produced the first goal of the game. The versatile Conor Dooley subsequently added a free to give Ballyboden a commanding interval advantage of 1-4 to 0-0.
Given the strength of the elements, a potential Vincent’s comeback couldn’t be discounted on the restart. The northside visitors – third-place finishers in last year’s league – had offered a threat prior to the break, with Mark O’Keeffe unfortunate not to find the target.
Yet, it was Joe Fortune’s charges who maintained a stranglehold on the contest. In addition to a Roche score, Dooley grabbed a three-point salvo to keep ‘Boden in the driving seat. Vincent’s eventually opened their account through Conor Burke and former All-Star nominee Ronan Fallon later the split the uprights to bring the gap down to seven.
Nevertheless, ‘Boden were never in danger of letting the game slip out of their grasp. Dooley – Dublin’s first-choice netminder in 2016 – bolstered his tally with four eye-catching points, while Niall Ryan and Sean McDonnell also added their names to the scoresheet.
This was an ideal way for Ballyboden to get their campaign up and running, and they will next face a trip to newly-promoted Ballinteer St John’s on March 10. The Marley Park outfit began their top-flight odyssey with a 2-13 to 2-6 reversal at the hands of last season’s finalists, Na Fianna, at St Mobhi Road.
On Friday evening in Belfield, Cuala enjoyed a positive start to life under new manager Willie Maher. At the end of a tight affair, they claimed a two-point triumph (1-15 to 0-16) at the expense of Lucan Sarsfields.
The National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown was the venue on Sunday afternoon for a clash between St Brigid’s and St Jude’s. With Cian O’Sullivan and Eoghan Dunne combining effectively in midfield, it was Brigid’s who took control of the proceedings.
Courtesy of strong defensive displays by Sean Brady, Ciaran Dolan, Mark Kavanagh and David Fraine, they largely kept the Jude’s attack at bay. Having led 0-8 to 0-4 at the midway point,Brigid’s were in an ideal position at the beginning of the second period.
Jude’s had suffered a major set-back in the sixth-minute, when they found themselves reduced to 14 men. Coupled with the absence of inter-county star Danny Sutcliffe, this left them with too much of a mountain to climb.
As ever, Brigid’s marksman Paul Winters was on song – amassing a nine-point haul over the course of the hour. They had nine scorers in total on the day, including Cathal Doyle (three), Johnny McGuirk, Dunne and O’Sullivan, as they reigned supreme on a scoreline of 0-20 to 0-11.
Elsehwere, Craobh Chiprain recorded a morale-boosting win over Kilmacud Crokes (2-12 to 1-11) and Whitehall Colmcille were 1-18 to 0-11 victors against Crumlin at Pearse Park.