Fins' derby misery as Syls scores rain down
GAA Intermediate hurling championship group 1: St Sylvester's 1-18 Fingallians 1-11
While the rain held off for the most part in Saturday evening's Intermediate Championship group one opener in Lawless Park, there was nothing Fingallians could do to avoid a deluge of Sylvester's scores as their neighbours up the road claimed the points.
Inclement conditions before the game had threatened to put a damper on things, with the game delayed by 15 minutes before conditions eased off.
And from the time Killian O'Flynn found the posts inside the first minute, the visitors were never headed.
The result continued Fingallians' poor run of form in Fingal derbies which has seen St Maur's, Naomh Mearnog and now Sylvester's all come away from Lawless Park with wins.
The light at the end of the tunnel for John Williams' men was an excellent display at centre back from Shane Howard, whose distribution on the night was excellent.
However, crucially, Sylvester's would dominate the middle third of the field where Alan Morris did a lot of sweeping up in front of the defence.
Equally, Eamon McLoughney was a pivotal figure at centre back and certainly Sylvester's benefited greatly from his passing on the night.
Perhaps crucial to the outcome game was the fact that Sylvester's won five consecutive possessions in the first half as they went into the interval break with a 1-9 to 0-6 lead.
And while Fingallians would begin the second half in determined fashion, their comeback would evaporate just as quickly as Sylvester's - mostly off the deadball expertise of Dan Murphy - pulled away at the third quarter juncture. During that period Fingallians went a full 16 minutes without a score.
The game had begun with an opening point from Killian O'Flynn, and then the impressive Alan Kenny - having dragged his marker out to the forty - sent over a terrific point from far out on the right.
However, Fingallians were soon back on level terms and while Murphy would edge the visitors back in front, Fingalllians full forward Ian Kennedy then spilt the posts with a fine score from far out on the right.
Cillian O'Flynn then registered his second point after McLoughney had won possession inside this own half. He then released O'Flynn with a perfect ball down the left, with the former Nicky Rackard Cup All Star then accelerating away from his marker before slotting over from just inside the touchline.
Sylvester's missed a very scoreable opportunity soon after, with Paul Graves then levelling proceedings following an inch-perfect diagonal pass from Howard.
The two teams traded a point apiece after that, but then Sylvester's would hit their opponents for 1-2 without reply.
Murphy had landed a free to put Sylvesters back in front, before Sean Graham - who looked very sharp at corner forward - doubled his side's advantage.
And then came the crucial score of the game when, off a off ball from McLoughney, Kenny drove low past the keeper from the edge of the square on 25 minutes..
And while Graves would respond with a free at the other end, Sylvester's would close out the first half with two more points from Graham and Murphy to open a telling six-point lead at the half-way stage of the game.
Fingallians began the second half in determined mood and following an opening score from Kennedy, Sean Hickey snapped up a point from the edge of the square.
Fingallians might have had a goal after that, but the industrious TJ Howard would see an effort saved by David Kennedy as Howard attempted to squeeze the ball home inside the far post.
And while Sylvester's kept the board ticking along with scores from Kevin O'Flynn and Colm Byrne, Fingallians kept coming at them, with successive scores from Conor Byrne and TJ Howard leaving four points between the sides with 20 minutes left on the clock.
With Sylvester's winning a lot of the dirty ball on what was a heavy pitch, the visitors began to pull away once more, although they did have Dave Kennedy to thank once more for a late save off namesake Ian before the former Fingal forward struck with a consolation goal in injury time.
Fingallians: Mark Cullen, Alex Smyth, Danny Lynch, Gavan Campbell, Cian Brady, Shane Howard, Paul Murphy, Ange de Tunde, Conor Byrne 0-1, Sean Hickey 0-1, Paul Graves 0-3(2f), Eoin Brady, TJ Howard 0-1, Ian Keannedy 1-5. Subs: Danny Mythen.
St Sylvester's: Dave Kennedy, Gareth McGrath, Graham Morris, Ciaran Falvey, Gavin Wright, Eamon McLoughney, Kevin Clarke, Diarmuid McCarthy, Alan Morris, Alan Kenny 1-3. Killian O Flynn 0-3, Kevin O Flynn 0-1, Dan Murphy 0-8(0-6f, 0-2 45') Colm Byrne 0-1, Sean Graham 0-2. Subs: Mikey Meaney, Fionn Carney.