Tuesday 23 January 2018

Maur's never lose grip after a dream start

Club Hurling, Junior B Final: St Maur's 2-21 Faughs 1-14

Rory Kerr at Parnell Park

A congratulatory tweet from former Clare All-Ireland-winning captain Anthony Daly was the icing on the cake for St Maur's on what was a fantastic weekend for the club.

Daly visited St Maur's last month as part of their preparations for the latter stages of the championship, and with the club having also welcomed the likes of Eoin Kelly and Ritchie Hogan, it's clear to see the mark their appearances have left on the team.

And they were further boosted by the victory for the Ladies in the Intermediate Championship on Friday night in Lawless Park. Many of them made it up to Parnell Park the following day to watch the hurlers avenge last year's defeat to Faughs at the penultimate stage of the competition.

On this occasion there would be no slip-ups for the Rush men.

Granted, Olan Kelleher did momentarily lose his footing prior to rattling the back of the Faughs net 15 seconds into the game.

But the damage had already been done and St Maur's made their most of their dream start to dominate this contest practically from start to finish.

It was the latest notch on the belt for the ambitious Rush outfit who since achieving Saturday night league football a season ago have continued to make big strides.

Central to that has been the form of Kelleher who revelled on the big stage in Parnell Park to hit a staggering 1-11 on the day.

Kelleher's scoring from out the field was highly impressive and Maur's ability to rotate positions certainly stood them in good stead.

For Faugh's it was their their second time to come up short in the decider and once Donal Murnan had gone for a second yellow card 11 minutes into the second half, the game was as good as over.

They had got off to the worst possible start when, having conceded possession off the throw in, they left a huge hole at the back which allowed Kelleher to race clear before drilling into the roof of the net.

A point from Dublin senior hurler Eoghan Conroy moved the gap out to four and then incredibly Maur's were in for their second goal when corner forward Conor Donegan showed speed and swerve to evade his marker before hitting the back of the net.

That made it a return of 2-1 from the inside line with barely four minutes gone in the game.

A free from David Donohue would finally see Faughs open their account, with a second coming soon after from their wing back Darragh O'Shea.

However, Maur's were soon back in their stride, with Kelleher coming out from the full forward position to drive over a terrific score from the forty, with Donegan then extending the gap to seven points following a lovely piece of stick work.

A free from Danny Butterly saw Maur's pile on more agony for their opponents, with Kelleher making it five unanswered points for the Rush men with 11 minutes gone in the game.

A score followed from Faughs midfielder Ed Fitzgerald after he had charged down an attempted Maur's clearance - only for Kelleher to strike for his third successive point following another terrific score from far out.

Maur's captain Craig Harford, who again playing the roving role to good effect, then landed another big score as they continued to pick off their opponents from distance.

However with the score at 2-8 to 0-6, St Maur's began to clock up a number of wides and were then to concede after the Faughs full forward had been dragged down inside the parallelogram.

Donohue duly converted, but tellingly Maur's would hit back with two scores on the trot to lead by 2-10 to 1-6 at the interval.

And with Collie Halpin giving them extra mobility around the middle upon his introduction, Maurs opened the second half with scores from Kelleher and Harford and had opened up a 2-13 to 1-9 lead by the time Murnane was dismissed after being shown his second yellow of the game in the 41st minute.

And with Kevin Reade wielding his influence in the middle third, Maur's took full advantage of the extra man, with Conroy's fine score from the left the pick of their final eight scores.

St Maur's: Jack Higgins, Phil Kavanagh, Kevin Reade, Luke Hosford, Tom O Neill, Martin Mulvey, Joe Gleeson 0-1, Paul McAllister, Alex Benson, Glenn Whelan, Craig Harford 0-2, Danny Butterly 0-1 (0-1f), Conor Donegan 1-3(0-1f), Olan Kelleher 1-11(0-6f), Eoghan Conroy 0-2. Subs: Kevin O'Connor 0-1 for Weldon, Collie Halpin for Weldon, Cathal Niall for McAllister, Johnny McNamara for Butterly, Macaulin Skelly for Harford, Darragh Conroy for Mulvey.

Fingal Independent

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