Saturday 7 December 2019

Mearnog book place in U-21 hurling final

U-21 HC ‘C’ Semi-final: Naomh Mearnog 2-15 Lucan Sarsfield 0-8

Rory Kerr at Torcaill

The promotion of its underage games is something that the Dublin County Board holds dear and in recent times they have pressed for more publicity from certain publications in its agm.

It is a noble pursuit, but at this time of year getting the competitions completed is easier said than done.

Heavy rainfall more often than not is prevalent in the lead up to Christmas and this was certainly the case last week.

It was unfortunate that the blue riband affair at O'Toole Park between Lucan Sarsfields and Na Fianna fell foul to the inclement weather due to an unplayable pitch.

One game that did survive was the Under-21 C semi-final in Torcaill which saw Naomh Mearnog overcome Lucan's second string by a 13-point margin.

November has been a busy month for the Portmarnock club at this grade and the footballers will be hoping to follow suit when they meet Fingal Ravens on Saturday.

There will be a number of dual players on show, most notably Tommy Kinnane, Shane Kavanagh and Mark Phelan.

Phelan, struggling with a troublesome shoulder injury, would see his playing time cut short in the second half, but not before he had found the back of the net with a trademark finish.

The centre forward would strike with a sublime effort into the top corner just before half-time to fire Mearnog into a 2-6 to 0-3 lead, and on a mucky old day that was always going to be crucial.

It nonetheless put the gloss on a rather wayward shooting display from the home side in the first half which had seen their wides count reach double figures by the interval.

However, their defence put in a good shift and Sam Corcoran impressed in midfield.

Corcoran was economical in the middle third and some handy wrist work saw him achieve some good turnover for the home side.

In defence Jack Kehoe offered Mearnog plenty of pace and drive at corner back, while full back Mark O'Callaghan never buckled throughout the course of the hour.

Completing the full back line was Eoin Kellym who was another to impress on the day, and as such Lucan Sarsfields always had their work cut out.

The men from the 12th Lock were handy winners over Good Counsel in the quarter-finals but never really got out of first gear against Paddy Gore's men.

The game, it has to be said, had taken a while to get going before the visitors eventually sent over the opening score of the game off a free with 10 minutes gone.

They doubled their advantage soon after before Chris O'Sullivan finished off a move started off by Kehoe with a firm finish past the keeper just short of the quarter-hour.

And with former Dublin minor Tommy Kinnane complementing the Mearnog attack with two fine scores from wing back, the home side were soon in their element.

With Kavanagh another to raise the white flag off the dead ball, Mearnog had raced six points clear before O'Sullvan's pass into Phelan was dispatched into the roof of the net by dual star Mark Phelan.

It was 2-6 to 0-3 at half-time and the introduction of Conor Archer further strengthened Mearnog's hand, while the switch of Liam Mullen to half forward would reap handsome rewards, with the number 14 registering points each side of a Phelan effort to to put further light between the two.

The game at this stage was long over as a contest, but Mearnog - to their credit - didn't drop their guard, with Kavanagh, Kinnane and Ross Hayden all finding the target in the latter stages.

Naomh Mearnog: Bobby Smith, Jack Kehoe, Mark O'Callaghan, Eoin Kelly, Fintan Radford McGovern, Tommy Kinnane 0-3(0-1 65), Tom Cosgrove, Shane Kavanagh 0-6(all frees), Sam Corcoran, Sean Hawkshaw, Mark Phelan 1-2, Chris O'Sullivan 1-1, Ross Hayden 0-1(0-1f), Liam Mullin 0-2, Stephen McCudden. Subs: Conor Archer, Davy Ryan, Sean Meehan, Adam Hendricken.

Fingal Independent