SYL-VER SERVICE IN FINAL FLOURISH
Late blitz sparked from the eye of the Tighe-r gets Malahide side over line in tension-filled U15 ‘C’ decider
DUBLIN U15 ‘C’ HC FINAL
ST SYLVESTER’S 1-13
GOOD COUNSEL/LIFFEY GAELS 1-7
ST SYLVESTER’S produced a late scoring blitz at the National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown on Sunday to claim the Dublin U15 ‘C’ Hurling Championship crown at the expense of Good Counsel/Liffey Gaels.
With just a minute of normal time remaining, Syls trailed their southside rivals by a single point (1-7 to 0-9) and were facing the prospect of an agonising defeat. However, corner-forward Corey Tighe turned the game on its head with a cool finish to the net on the hour mark.
Buoyed by this three-pointer, Piece Donohue, Cian Whitney (two) and Christian McDonnell subsequently found the target to propel Syls over the line in fine style. Counsel/Gaels had booked their spot in this decider with a clinical semi-final success over Round Tower Clondalkin at Moyle Park on September 29.
Elsewhere on the same day, Syls overcame the challenge of St Catherine’s to seal their own place in the ‘C’ showpiece. Colm de Burca’s charges had played all three of their games en route to this stage on home soil – Bridgefield – and this presented them with a potential mental obstacle.
Despite some anxious moments in their defence, they eventually broke the deadlock through Whitney’s sixth-minute free. Counsel/Gaels immediately responded at the opposite end through Conor Dunphy and the midfielder also cancelled out a second score for Whitney to keep the sides on level terms.
There had been little to separate the two outfits during the early exchanges, but Counsel/Gaels subsequently found their top gear either side of the third-quarter mark. Richard Delaney added a brace of points and while his goal-bound strike was turned away by Cillian de Burca on 18 minutes, captain Matt Dwyer was on hand to sweep home from close-range.
A Shane Kirby point created additional daylight, before Syls finally fired back in timely fashion. The influential Donohue split the posts on the right-wing to halt a lengthy scoring drought for the northsiders.
Full-forward Ryan O’Farrell had a couple of opportunities to raise a green flag, though he couldn’t quite match his undoubted industry with accuracy. Nevertheless, a Whitney free ensured Syls were just four points in arrears heading into the interval (1-5 to 0-4).
They were starting to get a grip around the middle-third and, within nine minutes of the resumption, parity had once again been restored to a tense contest. Whitney and Donohue had been two of Syls’ leading lights during the opening period, linking up to telling effect in attack.
They split the uprights either side of a McDonnell single and when Counsel/Gaels defender Colin Byrne halted the march of Syls substitute Josh Moore, Whitney made no mistake off a tricky placed-ball effort. This left the tie delicately poised and though the momentum appeared to be with Sylvester’s, their resilient counterparts had a good deal left in reserve.
Whitney was presented with a chance to edge his side into the ascendancy on the stroke of 45 minutes, but his latest free drifted wide of the mark. Delaney continued to offer a considerable threat for Counsel/Gaels and he had a host of shots brilliantly turned away by the dogged de Burca.
While Donohue ultimately pounced for an excellent point under pressure, Counsel/Gaels made their own bid for supremacy in the closing moments. When a Zach Yates free was batted away in the 58th-minute, the elusive Dunphy slotted over his third point of the tie.
Delaney then superbly posted a free at a tight left-hand angle, throwing down the gauntlet to Syls in the process. Yet, their response to this mini set-back was emphatic.
A Whitney free dropped short at the end of normal time and Tighe was in the right place (at the right time) to pull home beyond the reach of Niall Kelly. This was a hammer blow for Counsel/Gaels and with the attacking triumvirate of Whitney, Donohue and McDonnell stepped up to the plate once again, Sylvester’s emerged victorious.
Scorers – St Sylvester’s: C Whitney 0-7 (5f), P Donohue 0-4, C Tighe 1-0, C McDonnell 0-2. Good Counsel/Liffey Gaels: R Delaney (3f), C Dunphy 0-3 each, M Dwyer 1-0, S Kirby 0-1.
ST SYLVESTER’S: C de Burca; D Crampton, R Brady, H Dever; D Canavan, M Hughes, O Flannery; F Elnemmawi, N Elnemmawi; J Wogan, P Donohue, C McDonnell; C Tighe, R O’Farrell, C Whitney.
Subs: J Moore for Dever (23), W Rooney for Crampton (57).
GOOD COUNSEL/LIFFEY GAELS: N Kelly; H Llorente, F Corry, C Hickey; L Waterhouse, C Byrne, O Rooney; C Forrester, C Dunphy; J Nolan, E Bragazzi, S Kirby; R Delaney, M Dwyer, Z Yates.
Subs: O Norton for Kirby (35), M Coleman for Hickey (39), A O’Connor for Bragazzi (57).
MENTORS – St Sylvester’s: Colm de Burca, Ray Flannery, Marc Whitney, Dan McDonald. Good Counsel/Liffey Gaels: Anto Dunphy, Colm Kelly, Dave Seery.
Referee: Rory Hanley (St Brigid’s).
WIDES – St Sylvester’s: 9 (6+3). Good Counsel/Liffey Gaels: 6 (2+4).
CONDITIONS: Dry throughout with a slight breeze.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Pierce Donohue (St Sylvester’s).