HAT-TRICK hero Conal ó Ceallacháin was the star of the show at the UCD Sportsgrounds last Thursday afternoon, where a goal blitz from a powerful Coláiste Eoin gave them a comprehensive victory over Dublin North in their opening fixture of the Leinster Colleges Senior Hurling 'A' League.
Played in near perfect conditions, it was the Booterstown outfit who were the quickest out of the blocks, as early points from Cillian ó Seanáin and midfielder Fionn ó Riain Broin, as well as a terrific individual goal after eight minutes by corner-forward Dara ó Gallchobhair, gave them an early platform on which to build.
Dublin North did eventually open their account with a score from play by corner-forward AJ Murphy (from the Mount Temple school in Clontarf), but Eoin hit back immediately with a second major courtesy of ó Ceallacháin, who beat opposing netminder Colin Lynch for the very first time following excellent build-up play by ó Gallchobhair.
As the half wore on, the Gaelscoil continued to dominate, as a pointed free from ó Gallchobhair was swiftly added to by a three-pointer from half-forward Rob ó hEachtigheirn. Murphy did register a second point for the northsiders, but a brace of scores from the influential Colm ó Néill gave Coláiste Eoin an unassailable 12-point cushion (3-5 to 0-2) at the midway point.
It was a case of damage limitation for Dublin North upon the resumption, although they could have been a lot closer to their big-city counterparts had it not been for the six wides they had before the break. A long-range free from Eoin centre-back Cian Mac Gabhann did get the scoring under way in the second period, but Dublin North replied with a similar effort from midfielder Sean Murphy two minutes into the half.
Their defence was fully breached from the subsequent puck-out, though, when ó Ceallacháin emphatically secured his second goal after a fine run through the heart of the opposition defence.
Murphy did find the range again on 36 minutes, but Dublin North would go a further 15 minutes without scoring, during which time Eoin brought their goal tally up to eight with clinical finishes from ó Gallchobhair, ó Ceallacháin (his third), ó Néill and substitute Seán ó Dulaing.
This brought their advantage to an incredible 27 points, but credit must go to Dublin North, as they replied with 1-4 on the trot, the goal coming from the hard-working Murphy, one of their best performers on the day.
Eoin were always in firm control of the proceedings, however, and they brought the scoring to an end by raising their ninth green flag through midfielder Fionn ó Riain Broin, offering them a perfect start to this year's campaign.
Scorers -- Coláiste Eoin: C ó Ceallacháin 3-0, D O Gallchobhair 2-1 (0-1f), C ó Néill 1-3, F ó Riain Broin 1-1, R ó hEachtigheirn, S ó Dulaing 1-0 each, C Mac Gabhann (f), C ó Seanáin 0-1 each. Dublin North: S Murphy 1-3 (0-3f), AJ Murphy 0-3 (2f), E Whelan, P Spellacy 0-1 each.
COLáISTE EOIN: S ó Braonáin; O ó Siochrú, D ú Murchú, J ó Maoileoin; C ó Dulacháin, C Mac Gabhann, C ó Riain Broin; F ó Riain Broin, E ó Naoire; C ó Seanáin, C ó Néill, R ó hEachtigheirn; R Mac Giolla Bhríde, C ó Ceallacháin, D ó Gallchobhair. Subs: S ó Dulaing for ó Ceallacháin (40), B McCormack for ó Siochrú (43), J ó hEachtigheirn for Mac Giolla Bhríde (49), C Keane-Breslin for ó Maoileoin (49), L ó Giollain for ó Naoire (51).
DUBLIN NORTH: C Lynch; C Memery, M O'Farrell, E Whelan; J Bellew, S Barrett, P Burke; S Murphy, M Kavanagh; C Byrne, I Furlong, R O Broin; P Spellacy, N O'Callaghan, AJ Murphy. Subs: C Breslin for Byrne (h-t), E McHugh for Furlong (h-t), R Martin for O'Callaghan (h-t).
Referee: J Brennan (Thomas Davis).