AHL DIV. 2 ROUND-UP: MARCH 24
ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: MARCH 24
By Daire Walsh
Following their impressive weekend victory over Naomh Fionnbarra, Faughs currently lead the way in Division Two of the Adult Hurling League – accumulating maximum points in their three games to date.
Relegated from the top-flight in 2018, the Templeogue men appear to have a burning desire to make things right for the present campaign. After being made to work for a five-point success at home to St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh in the opening round, Faughs secured an emphatic triumph at the expense of Naomh Olaf on March 10.
They faced a Fionnbarra outfit that lost to O’Toole’s on the same day, but had previously put Raheny to the sword. Nevertheless, Faughs were in a buoyant mood at Tymon North and ultimately claimed a commanding 3-19 to 0-15 win.
Just being Faughs on five points are Thomas Davis, who played out an entertaining draw with Setanta at Kiltipper Road (1-15 apiece). The Tallaght side are enjoying a productive introduction to the second-tier – having gained promotion from Division Three in the past year.
They overcame the challenges posed by St Sylvester’s and Scoil Ui Chonaill with flying colours and despite coming under pressure for large spells of Sunday’s contest, they maintained their unbeaten run.
For their part, Setanta added to their maiden day triumph against Erin’s Isle – which was followed by a four-point reversal (1-11 to 2-12) to Naomh Barrog. Like Faughs, O’Toole’s are also eager for a swift return to Division One.
Due to a bereavement, their February 24 opener with Naomh Olaf was postponed. They subsequently edged out Naomh Fionnbarra at ‘The Bogies’ two week later (2-16 to 1-16) before continuing their winning form in the past weekend.
Propelled by a man-of-the-match display from Peadar Carton, O’Toole’s had the measure of St Sylvester’s at Blunden Drive (5-22 to 1-9). Cian Wilson recorded a personal haul of 2-3, while Conor Carton and Ciaran Kimmage also produced excellent performances for the northsiders.
Since losing out to Faughs, St Oliver Plunkett’s have bounced back courtesy of back-to-back wins over Erin’s Isle and Naomh Olaf. The latter result was amassed on Sunday at Pairc Ui Bhriain, where Derek Brennan’s charges made light of some high-profile absentees to triumph on a scoreline of 2-18 to 1-15.
Whilst Cian Boland was on inter-county duty with Dublin – their Allianz Hurling League semi-final defeat to Limerick at Semple Stadium, Thurles – Stuart Mullen and Tommy McGrath were also missing for the visitors.
This presented opportunities to some of the youngest members of their squad and they responded with a series of fine showings. With Cillian Hayes finding the target – from both frees and open play – they developed a five-point interval cushion.
Olaf’s brought the gap down to the bare minimum after the resumption, but another powerful Plunkett’s surge helped to close out the game. Along with both midfielders, their six starting forwards made strong contributions to the scoresheet.
Sean Clerkin was in excellent form throughout and Oisin Boland clipped three points over the course of the hour. They maintained a solid base at the opposite end of the field, with dependable netminder Bill McCormack and centre-back David Phelan standing out.
Elsewhere, Raheny and Erin’s Isle left difficult starts to their respective campaigns behind them with hard-earned victories. In a low-scoring affair at St Anne’s Park, Raheny – with two consecutive defeats to their name before the weekend – came out on top against Scoil Ui Chonaill (0-11 to 0-6).
Ben McHugh and former Dublin dual star David Henry (an All-Ireland football winner in 2011) drove them forward at every available opportunity, while Eoghan Smyth, Eoin Keogh and Jack Fagan raised white flags at vital moments to keep Scoil at bay.
At Pairc Barrog, Conor Kearney grabbed 11 points to give Erin’s Isle a vital win over Naomh Barrog (1-17 to 2-9). Isle’s had been unfortunate to lose out to Setanta and Plunkett’s by slender margins and despite Graeme Williams rattling the Barrog net, they were on level terms – 1-9 to 2-6 – at the midway stage.
Though Kearney continued to find his range off placed-balls, Derek McCabe turned away a Barrog penalty to keep his side in the ascendancy. They managed to push on as the action progressed, however, with Kearney’s heroics being complimented by Conor Donoghue and Lorcan Finnegan’s efforts.
Barrog had been undefeated up to this point, albeit they remain very much in the mix. The leagues will now take a back seat to make way for the initial rounds of the championship, but will resume again on May 18.