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dubs survive the pressure

GOREY grit from the Dublin hurlers on Saturday.

The Bartons bus pulled into the car park of Naomh éanna, the home club of Ballyboden St Enda's captain Malachy Travers, who played against his club colleague, Simon Lambert, at midfield.

The sun shone, the pitch was in good nick and there was a tidy crowd up on the bank. They got a tasty, pacy Walsh Cup semi-final, especially in the second half.

Dublin prevailed 2-17 to 2-13. It wasn't that far off extra-time. Dublin manager Anthony Daly wouldn't have welcomed that. His sister-in-law was getting married in Spanish Point.

"That's important too," quipped a voice. "That's what the wife says anyway," retorted the Blues boss.


"It was a good win in the circumstances," said Anthony. "We were under serious pressure when we went down to 13 men, but they held out great.

"It was an excellent game to get in good conditions, and against a Wexford team that were really up for it. It's early days yet, but that was useful preparation.

"We are training hard, and we'll have to maintain that work for the League. There's honesty in the camp, and days like this will help the spirit.

"Next weekend will be busy. We have Tipperary in Russell Park next Saturday night and then the Walsh Cup final on Sunday. Those two games will test our panel. And Tipp will be well up for Saturday night because they play Kilkenny the following week."

John Kelly (42) and Johnny McCaffrey (48) were both sent off on second yellows. Lucan's McCaffrey was playing brilliantly with Lambert at midfield. Dublin were by far the sharper side in the opening half. They defended with assurance. Every Dublin player was on their toes. Peadar Carton slipped a short free to Alan McCrabbe. Over the bar at the car park end before Wexford could react. That summed up Dublin's quick thinking. Dublin's All Star again had his Rambler Ticket.

McCrabbe forced a tremendous save from Dermot Flynn in the 10th minute. Dublin led by 1-9 to 0-8 at the break, Shane Ryan scoring the sixth minute goal from close distance following neat work from McCaffrey and Kevin Flynn. McCrabbe's sideline from the left, which concluded the first-half scoring, came straight from Sherwood Forest.

Diarmuid Lyng was Wexford's best player. His goal, a blistering 20-metre free, left just three points between them, 12 minutes into the second period. A minute later Dublin had just the 13 sailors on deck.

Kevin O'Loughlin, only a minute on the field, replied with a vital goal for the Dubs, but Wexford were still menacing, and Jim Berry drilled in a spectacular goal, from tight on the right, in the 64h minute. Lyng's free then reduced the deficit to two points with three minutes on the clock.

It was yellow hats time for the visitors. McCrabbe converted a free. Wexford kept coming. Long, dangerous deliveries towards the Vodafone shop window. Alan Nolan kept his eye on every space rock that was launched.

Two minutes into injury-time, he pulled another fireball from the sky, found Michael Carton who saw David Byrne point. Dublin's concern was over. Anthony Daly's only worry now was would he be in time for a slice of the wedding cake. But even if he missed the cut, the three-point Gorey victory was enough icing for one day.