SENIOR HURLERS DRAW WITH WATERFORD IN LEAGUE OPENER
ALLIANZ NATIONAL HURLING LEAGUE DIVISION ONE GROUP B
By Daire Walsh
Donal Burke knocked over a late free at Fraher Field in Dungarvan on Sunday to earn Dublin a share of the spoils with Waterford in Division One Group B of the Allianz National Hurling League.
In Micheál Donoghue’s first game in charge of the Sky Blues, Burke registered an impressive tally of 1-7 to supplement a brace of opening period goals from Cian O’Sullivan. Cian Boland (0-3) and Alex Considine (0-2) also made strong contributions and with eight players getting their names on the scoresheet, there will be plenty for Donoghue and his selectors to reflect upon ahead of the visit of Antrim to Parnell Park next Sunday.
Credit must go to Waterford, however, who came away with a point despite losing Jack Fagan and Stephen Bennett to red cards inside the final-quarter. Bennett amassed 2-7 for Deise prior to this dismissal and former Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson recorded four points as a substitute.
It had been a difficult start to the action for Dublin with Bennett bagging an unanswered haul of 1-2 (two pointed frees either side of a fourth-minute goal from a penalty) during the opening six minutes of the play. Fagan, Tom Barron and Jamie Barron also raised white flags for the hosts, before Burke finally got Dublin up and running just shy of the first-quarter mark with a fine point.
A Joe Flanagan score was cancelled out by another Bennett free, but Dublin fully kicked into life after O’Sullivan followed up a Boland point with a 23rd-minute goal via excellent approach work from Considine. Erin’s Isle wing-back Conor Donohoe brought the gap down to two with an effort from distance and Alex Considine also added to his side’s tally on the half-hour mark.
Three additional frees by Bennett ensured Waterford were four points to the good with the interval fast approaching, only for Dublin to once again rein in their Munster counterparts. A Burke free from 40 metres kept the visitors in the reckoning and parity was restored when O’Sullivan shook the net for a second time on 33 minutes.
It was turning into an edge-of-the-seat contest and the sides were ultimately inseparable at the break following traded efforts from Tom Barron and Burke (1-10 to 2-7).
This nip and tuck nature continued on the resumption with Conor and Donal Burke – from the St Vincent’s and Na Fianna clubs respectively – cancelling out Waterford points. Yet the home team were awarded another penalty in the 47th-minute and Bennett drilled it past Cuala netminder Sean Brennan to enhance his already impressive output for the day.
Considine got Dublin back on track with a point on the stroke of 50 minutes and when Brennan picked out Boland in space moments later, the St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh ace split the uprights to leave the bare minimum between teams.
Gleeson raised a white flag for Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford at the opposite end, only for the pendulum to swing back in the favour of Dublin. When Boland was hauled down inside the square, the game’s third penalty (and Dublin’s first) was awarded.
Fagan received a black card (to go with an earlier yellow) for his part in this incident and with Burke firing home in clinical style, the Blues found themselves both a point and a man in front.
Bennett was also sent off just beyond the hour, but Waterford were back on level terms when Gleeson – deputising for Bennett – pointed a 65th minute free. Boland and Burke (free) found the range either side of another Gleeson free, only for the Deise to establish their authority courtesy of three points without reply.
The influential duo of Eoghan O’Donnell and Burke were on target during an extended spell of stoppage-time to level matters once again. It looked like Michael Kiely might squeeze Waterford home when he slotted over his second point of the tie, but Burke’s close-in free meant that Dublin came away with something to show for their endeavours.
Waterford scorers: Stephen Bennett 2-7 (2-0 pen, 0-7f), Austin Gleeson 0-4 (3f), Michael Kiely, Tom Barron, Jamie Barron 0-2 each, Jack Fagan, Jack Prendergast 0-1 each.
Dublin scorers: Dónal Burke 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-5f), Cian O’Sullivan 2-0, Cian Boland 0-3, Alex Considine 0-2, Joe Flanagan, Conor Donohoe, Conor Burke, Eoghan O’Donnell 0-1 each.
Waterford: Shaun O’Brien; Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Jack Fagan, Michael Harney, Calum Lyons; Darragh Lyons, Paddy Leavey; Jamie Barron, Reuben Halloran, Tom Barron; Kevin Mahony, Stephen Bennett, Michael Kiely.
Subs: Carthach Daly for D Lyons (17 mins), Austin Gleeson for Halloran, Dessie Hutchinson for Mahony (both 49 mins), Jack Prendergast for Leavey (56 mins), Patrick Curran for T Barron (75 mins).
Dublin: Sean Brennan; John Bellew, Eoghan O’Donnell, Paddy Doyle; Conor Donohoe, Conor Burke, Daire Gray; Fergal Whitely, Chris O’Leary; Donal Burke, Joe Flanagan, Cian Boland; Davy Keogh, Cian O’Sullivan, Alex Considine.
Subs: Ronan Hayes for O’Sullivan (half-time), Paul Crummey for Hayes (40 mins), James Madden for Keogh (44 mins), Cillian Costello for Flanagan (56), Andrew Jamieson-Murphy for Considine (59, blood), Ronan Smith for Whitely (72 mins).
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway).