ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION 2 ROUND-UP: JUNE 29
ADULT HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: JUNE 29
By Daire Walsh
Despite being held to a draw at home to Raheny on Saturday evening, St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh moved to top spot in the Adult Hurling League Division Two table.
Level on points with Faughs heading into the weekend’s action, a surprise defeat for the Templeogue at the hands of Naomh Barrog opened the door for Derek Brennan’s men. Since losing out to Faughs at Tymon Park on the first weekend of the campaign (3-12 to 3-7), Plunkett’s have been one of the form teams in the second-tier.
Five consecutive wins kept them firmly in the race for promotion and after Faughs lost out narrowly to Erin’s Isle on June 16, the race for the summit significantly intensified. It has been a mixed season to date for Raheny, but a recent success at the expense of Thomas Davis offered them a much-needed confidence boost in advance of their visit to Martin Savage Park.
Indeed, the St Anne’s Park outfit were on course for a third league triumph of 2019 when they brought a 0-10 to 0-7 buffer into the break. While skipper Paddy Curtin and Oisin Boland had led the charge for Plunkett’s in the opening period, they found it hard to tie down the Raheny attack at times.
Nevertheless, they continued to persevere with their challenge on the resumption. Curtin maintained his influence in the Plunkett’s half-back line and Boland’s brother Fionn bagged a goal to edge his side into the driving seat.
With netminder Bill McCormack once again proving to be an assured presence, Plunkett’s looked set to prevail. That was until Raheny converted a free in the dying minutes of the contest to earn a hard-earned share of the spoils; Plunkett’s 1-17, Raheny 0-20.
In spite of their recent slip-up to Erin’s Isle, Faughs were aiming to maintain a 100% away record when they faced Naomh Barrog in Kilbarrack. However, Barrog had a third successive triumph in their sights and produced a dominant display on their home turf.
Donnacha Butler, Billy Foley and Niall Ring provided considerable authority to their defence, with Cillian Costello and Sean Cleary combining to excellent effect in midfield. Costello marked himself out as an exciting prospect during his time as a student in St Fintan’s High School, Sutton and also featured for Dublin in their annual challenge against the Dub Stars back in December 2017.
Dean Flood has played alongside Ring for Fingal at inter-county level in the past, and he made a strong contribution in a forward line that also included the likes of Ciaran Gallagher and Nathan Kidd. As a consequence of their result, Barrog have moved up to third place – just behind Faughs on score difference.
O’Toole’s had previously occupied this position in the league standings, but a 1-22 to 1-14 reversal against Thomas Davis at Kiltipper Road saw them dropping a place. They still have a game in hand, following the postponement of an earlier meeting with Naomh Olaf.
Davis and the aforementioned Erin’s Isle remain in the mix – the latter have registered a 4-17 to 2-9 win over Naomh Olaf in Finglas last Saturday week (June 22).
Elsewhere, Scoil Ui Chonaill and Naomh Fionnbarra claimed crucial victories at the weekend to ease their respective relegation fears. Scoil were 3-13 to 2-13 winners against St Sylvester’s on the Clontarf Road and Naomh Fionnbarra squeezed past Setanta in Ballymun (2-12 to 1-14).