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Fingal boss Mick strikes upbeat note despite loss

MUSICAL chairs for the Fingal hurlers as the venue moved from Swords to Parnell's before finally finding a stage at St David's.

No sound of the Artane Band rehearsing on Sunday. It was a damp afternoon for the faithful that watched the Allianz National Hurling League Division 3A tie against Tyrone. Among them was that devoted hurling man, Danny O'Connor.

It was a repeat of the Nicky Rackard final. Tyrone won that by a point, and they did the same here, 1-16 to 1-15.

Their ace was their captain and centre half-forward, Damian Casey. He excelled from the placed balls before the tea, and he was even better from play after it.

Tyrone led by 1-6 to 0-8 at the break. They then had the stiffening breeze.

Fingal's goal was created by last week's hat-trick hero away to Fermanagh, Danny Butterly.

From his pass, Eoin O'Connor nearly took the slates off the roof. "Eoin wasn't even on the squad last season. He's only going to get better," noted Fingal manager, Mick Kennedy.

The hosts came close to scoring two goals before the interval. "We could have been leading by five points instead of trailing by one," lamented Mick.

"We also had nine wides in the first half, but they weren't bad wides. We weren't shooting from impossible angles or anything like that. On another day, they'll all go over. If you keep throwing the darts, they will stick. Give me the

player that takes on the responsibility of having a go."

Full-forward, Butterly, is one such figure. He scored a peach of a point in the second period.

He was on the front foot to pluck the sliotar from the grey ceiling. He earned himself half a yard, turned and saw his shot edge the right-hand post and tumble in.

JM Sheridan was again potting the colours, while the home defence also had to graft hard for their supper.

Coming to the last bend, there was nothing between them. It was so tight that a draw appeared quite possible.

"You are always looking to win your home matches, but we are not down after this, far from it.

"I told the lads not to be disheartened. Sometimes in sport, you don't get out of it what you deserve.

"I think if that was a boxing match, we would have won on points. These are a fantastic bunch of lads.

"They put as much into it as any county in Ireland."