Friday 23 March 2018

Neighbours advance to last four of Senior Hurling Championship

Rory Kerr

NAOMH Mearnóg pulled off a fantastic victory in Silverpark on Saturday in this engaging Dublin Senior B Hurling quarter-final which went right down to the wire.

Mearnóg, although missing their marquee player Shane Ryan, showed their resilience, with Stephen Price's goal right after half-time proving very timely.

With Fingal manager Mick Kennedy looking on, Mearnóg had opened the scoring courtesy of a free from Aiden Kenny. However they were opened up by Crokes, with Conor Sheehan applying the finish touch for the Stillorgan men.

With Gary De Loughrey a big presence on the wing for the visitors, Mearnóg didn't lose touch, with full forward Brendan Kennedy picking off a good point from close in.

Crokes, however, managed to keep their noses in front courtesy of a number of scores off placed ball from Donal McGovern.

But boosted by a terrific score from half way by Davy Byrne, Mearnóg were to move within two points of Crokes at the break, with Kenny sending over scores each side of a score from Brian Powell, 1-5 to 0-6.

Mearnóg were then handed a major boost straight after the break when Stephen Price connected with a high ball to flick past the keeper, and following another piece of link-up play from Kenny, Mick O'Donoghue whipped over a terrific score from the forty.

At this stage Mearnóg, who had now brought on experienced forward Pa Jo Reale, were showing tremendous workrate in the middle and while Crokes would counter with two unanswered points, Mearnóg finished the stronger of the two, with the impressive Ciaran Watters raising the white flag along with two other scores from Kenny.

Naomh Mearnóg: Colm Punch, John Owens, John Terry, Arthur Creane, Brian Powell 0-1, Davy Byrne 0-1, Neil O'Driscoll, Brian McCarthy, Ciaran Watters 0-2, Aidan Kenny 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 65), Mick O Donoghue 0-1, Gary de Loughrey, Simon Fallon, Brendan Kennedy 0-1, Cillian O Driscoll. Subs: Stephen Price 1-0, Pa Jo Reale.

St Sylvester's 2-14

Naomh Olaf 2-9

DESPITE the concession of a contentious second-half goal, St Sylvester's bounced back to register a terrific win away to Naomh Olaf in Sandyford on Saturday evening.

Olaf, as top seeds, were fancied to progress to the last four and almost found the back of the net early on, with only the timely intervention of Hilary Murray Hession denying former Dublin forward Declan O'Dwyer.

From there Sylvester's shut up shop, with Paul Christie, Graham Morris and Garreth McGrath showing plenty of pace at the back.

And with former Dublin minor Kevin O'Flynn and Alan Morris dominant in midfield, Sylvester's had built up a substantial lead at the break.

Things took an unexpected twist when a high ball sent in by Olaf seemed to drop onto the top of the crossbar and over for a point. However, with the ball dropping through a hole in the net, the referee unexpectedly gave a goal after consulting with one of the umpires.

That, coupled with a point soon after from the hosts, put just two between the sides, but Sylvester's - missing some key players including Fingal captain Andy Richardson - didn't let this affect them.

Conor Meaney in particular must be credited for his tenacity and ball-carrying skills, while Barry Kiely and Diarmuid McCarthy won a lot of ball in the inside line.

And with David Casey and Mannix Ryan pitching in with some vital scores, Sylvester's were comfortably out of sight by the time Martin Ormonde (1-7) and Ciaran Falvey popped up with two late goals.

Fingal Independent