FINGAL RAVENS 0-9
Louis Flynn might not remember his first team huddle, but hopefully it wont be his last.
Paul was able to share a memorable moment with his infant son shortly after Fingallians had secured a tight three-point win over their Fingal neighbours at Naul on Saturday.
Three years ago the two sides were contesting for a place in the last eight; this time the stakes were different but nonetheless every bit as important.
For Ravens it’s back down to the Intermediate grade, but they showed terrific character to stay in the game when it looked as Fingallians might overrun them in the second half.
Deputising for the absent Cian Daly, Ian Kavanagh played beyond his years to produce a terrific display between the posts.
Deviating from his normal half back position, Kavanagh produced a number of key saves to keep Ravens in touch.
At the end of the day, just a score separated the teams, although in truth Ravens had struggled to close the gap after the turnaround.
On what were very difficult conditions at the Clann Mhuire venue, scores were always at a premium. As such it was always going to come down to one or two defining moments and for Fingallians that came four minutes into the second half when Dillon Staunton took a pass off Flynn before firing past Kavanagh at his near post.
Fourteen years previously Kavanagh had secured Leinster success for Ravens with a late point in a dramatic one-point win over Donaghmore/Ashbourne. But his talents were needed elsewhere on Saturday and he certainly didn’t let his side down.
For the Rolestown outfit, though, it was overall a disappointing result. They left behind a number of scores in the first half when they probably needed a big cushion facing into what was a very substantial wind in the second half.
It had begun well enough for Ravens, with Daniel Cibotar sending over the first point of the game before Fingallians captain Oisin Lynch switched on to his other foot to level proceedings. But Ravens were soon back on top, with Sean Kinsella, having taken a pass off Brian Gleeson, curling in a score from the top of the left.
Soon after, Darren Daly chipped in a score from the opposite wing, and while Lynch had narrowed the gap off a free, Gleeson would then double Ravens’ advantage a short while after to leave them up by double scores at the first water break.
Ravens added two quick scores after the restart through James O’Donnell before Lynch halved their lead off recycled ball.
And then with a minute to go in the half, Ravens were in on goal after Kinsella and O’Donnell had linked to set up Cibotar.
His effort was turned away at the near post by Ian O’Reilly and off the second 45’ Barry Caulfield converted for Ravens to leave them up by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break, with Fingallians down to 14 men following a sin bin offence from Danny Campion.
However, within four minutes of the turnaround Fingallians had wiped out the Ravens, lead with Flynn firing over within seconds of the ball being thrown in.
Following that Staunton popped up with a big score from the right, his three-pointer soon after putting Fingallians in front for the first time in the game.
And then seconds later they might have had another, with Kavanagh pulling off a dramatic save to tip Lynch’s close-in effort over the bar. And in an incredible spell for Fingallians, Staunton saw another effort come back off the post before Kavanagh denied Lynch for a second time at the end of the third quarter to leave it at 1-7 to 0-7.
And while Fingallians were then to see Daniel Lynch pick up a black card, points from Flynn and Darragh Power would be enough to see them over the line.
Ravens: Ian Kavanagh, Eoghan O’Donnell, Daragh O Flaherty, Cian Croughan, Callum Monaghan, Dan Cibotar 0-3(0-1f) Dan Sammon, Caomhin O Scannail, Brian Gleeson 0-1, Darren Daly 0-1, James O’Donnell 0-2, Conor Foley, Sean Kinsella 0-1, Sean Griffin, Barry Caulfield 0-1 (0-1 45’). Subs: Dan Murphy for Gleeson, Kenny McDonagh for Dan Sammon.
Fingallians: Ian O’Reilly, Danny Campion, Daniel Lynch, Darragh Foley, Cillian Murphy, Sean Hickey, Conor Kelly, Derek Rodgers, Coman Brady, Cormac O’Neill, Cillian Power, Darragh Power 0-1, Dillon Staunton 1-1, Oisin Lynch 0-5 (0-2f), Paul Flynn 0-2. Subs: Micheal Keogh for Foley, Louis Nugent for Rodgers, JJ McCormack for O’Neill, Joey O’Donnell for Griffin.