AFL DIV. 1 ROUND-UP: MARCH 31
ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: MARCH 31
By Daire Walsh
Thanks to their respective victories at the weekend, Lucan Sarsfields, St Maur’s and Ballinteer St John’s find themselves out in front at the top of the Adult Football League Division One table.
With three rounds now completed, the aforementioned trio currently have a 100% success rate in the top-flight. At 12th Lock on Sunday morning, Lucan entertained a Fingallians side that lost out narrowly to Maur’s in their previous league encounter.
Lucan had gotten the better of Cuala and St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh in their opening games of the year, and produced another dominant display on their home patch. Despite the best efforts of their Swords opponents, they eventually claimed an emphatic 2-17 to 1-12 triumph.
The meeting between Maur’s and St Jude’s in Rush was brought forward to Saturday evening and it was a midas touch in attack that helped the hosts to record an eye-catching 6-5 to 1-12 victory. In addition to Ciaran Archer’s impressive haul of 0-4, Ciaran Reddin and Conor McGuire bagged a brace of three-pointers for a rampant Maur’s.
Eoin Fletcher also rattled the net during an explosive opening and while Jude’s kept themselves in touch late on, an Eoghan Conroy goal on 58 minutes finally sealed the two points for the northside outfit.
Marley Park was the venue for a compelling battle between Ballinteer and Cuala – who were in buoyant form as a result of their recent win at the expense of defending champions St Vincent’s. They looked set to register back-to-back successes when they opened up a four-point interval cushion, but a powerful second period surge swung the pendulum in Ballinteer’s favour.
Donal Gormley, Donnacha Carey and Fearghal Duffy all raised green flags as the in-form John’s ran out 3-12 to 1-15 winners. After sharing the spoils in their March 3 showdown at Pairc Ui Murchu (1-10 apiece), Ballyboden St Enda’s and Kilmacud Crokes squeezed past the challenges of Na Fianna and Ballymun Kickhams on Saturday.
The southside rivals currently head up the chasing pack – just one point adrift of Lucan, Maur’s and Ballinteer.
Ballyboden eked out a 2-9 to 1-10 victory at St Mobhi Road, whereas Crokes edged Kickhams by the slenderest of margins (2-12 to 1-14). Dan O’Brien’s two-goal salvo was pivotal on the day, but there were a number of stand-out performers for the Stillorgan men.
Stevie Williams and Craig Dias were in excellent form throughout, with two-time All Star Rory O’Carroll (back from a lengthy spell in New Zealand) proving a reliable presence at full-back.
Meanwhile, Vincent’s got their own campaign back on track with a convincing 0-14 to 0-5 win against Plunkett’s at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn. Prior to their Cuala reversal, the Marino side had defeated Skerries Harps in the opening round.
Their Navan Road counterparts have struggled for form thus far, but with Dublin senior panellist Sean Bugler stepping up to the mark, they made life difficult for the home team early on.
Adam Baxter and Tomas Quinn amassed a brace of points for Vincent’s in the opening half, while Diarmuid Connolly (positioned at centre-half-back throughout) also found the target from long-distance.
Plunkett’s suffered a set-back just before the interval, when former Cavan footballer Gareth ‘Nesty’ Smith was black-carded for a trip on Jarlath Curley. Nevertheless, his preceding point ensured Plunkett’s were only two points in arrears (0-6 to 0-4) at the break.
Vincent’s discovered an extra level on the resumption, though, and largely dominated the remainder of the action. Gavin Burke drove forward from wing-back to clip a couple of excellent scores, with Joe Feeney also got in on the scoring act.
Three successful Quinn frees created further daylight and with Plunkett’s contributing just one point in the second period (a Bugler free), Vins eased over the line.
Like Plunkett’s, Thomas Davis are still looking to open their 2019 league account. The Kiltipper men were extremely competitive on their trip to Skerries Harps, though the hosts ultimately prevailed by 2-13 to 1-15.